It would seem that the general reaction to the sighting of a large black and yellow striped insect is to immediately start flailing arms and shouting nonsense - hardly conducive composure for the positive identification of any living creature? So why have I made mention of this today? Well, there have been up to six individual V. zonaria feeding on the buddlieas and, this morning, I decided to grab some images.
|Volucella zonaria, a beast of a hoverfly - aka The Thanet Hornet!|
|My first Migrant Hawker, of 2014, perched in the garden buddliea|
Looking at some of my fellow blogland inhabitants postings - all is not well in the "jewel of the Kent countryside". Oh no; much vocal, and blogland, criticism of the general state of the reseve. Poor Becky Plunkett (the reserve manager) and her staff, have taken some fierce flack for the lack of viewing facilities offered by the site. By all means feel free to call me thick, but is not the purpose of a nature reserve to provide habitat in which nature can thrive? In this case we are talking about the inhabitants of reedbeds - Bitterns, Marsh Harriers, Bearded Tits and, dare I say, Spotted Crakes? There will, of course, be a whole ecosystem full of supporting plants, invertebrates, amphibians, mammals, etc. which all benefit from the conditions provided by this habitat. What it ain't is a zoo! The very conditions which provide optimum environments for the natural history does not automatically mean that it will be a good place to see them!
However, as it is an area which is payed for by the public, surely there must be some compromise? I've read Becky's rather defencive comment on "Chiddy's" blog - such a shame that things have been allowed to degenerate to this level? I was at that very first meeting, in The Reedbed Hide, when Becky outlined her vision and urged caution over time scale due to financial constraints - I can't see that she hasn't been honest, or the reserve fallen into disrepair.
|May 2004 - looking from the ramp towards Stodmarsh. No reed shields, no Harrison's Drove Hide and still masses|
of open water amidst the newly emerged reedbeds.
|24th September 2003 - A Pectoral Sandpiper (it's in front of the Pochard!) on the main pool - as viewed from the ramp|