Who am I?

An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Sunday 23 July 2017


I knew, when I embarked on this challenge, that a split cane "thirty" was going to be difficult. By adding the "unknown" element to the mix I have found myself way out of my comfort zone and well out of my depth (experience wise!) My only saving grace is that I'm consistent - I can blank with the best of them. The two latest sessions have been totally devoid of action, save a bat flying through the line on Saturday night. Bev has been a rock, supporting me and pushing me on, not allowing speak of failure or letting Dad down; because that's where my mind wanders during these low moments. However, with so much more to my angling than simply catching fish, the other aspects of my appreciation of the wildlife of the East Kent marshes eases the burden and enhances my enjoyment of time at the waterside.
A typical marshland swim, on a tiny drain, in the middle of nowhere!
Foxes and Brown Hares are a regular source of distraction out on these flat lands with Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard and Hobby also to be expected. Reed & Sedge Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Reed Bunting and Linnets are constant companions during daylight hours and the night fall allows other senses to take over. Last night it was Tawny Owl and Sandwich Tern, a strange combination, which made it into the diary with their characteristic calls emanating from the darkness. On other occasions it has been Greenshank, Whimbrel, Common Sandpiper and Golden Plover that have provided the audio treats.
Very common sight around the marsh. This was taken using the Fuji Finepix 3200 at extreme distance.
It's OK for blogging, but not up to the standard that the Canon and big lens could provide.
Right place, wrong camera?
I slept well, last night, having packed up at 23.45 hrs and arriving home just before 01.00 hrs. No surprise that I had a lay in, not getting up until well after nine! Making my way to the kitchen for the ritual kettle filling/coffee making start to my day. Looking through the kitchen door was a wondrous spectacle. There were 73 sparrows, mostly juveniles, feeding on the lawn and many more were on the feeders and in the surrounding vegetation. I am confident that there were well in excess of 120 birds in and around the garden at that moment. I made my coffee before going to the car to retrieve my camera which was in fishing bag as a result of my last session.

Only when I looked at this image did I realize that the lawn was in desperate need of cutting.
The task has now been undertaken and the grass is much more presentable.

I managed to get a series of images of the birds, as they searched the lawn for seeds. I use the sweepings from my aviary to scatter around the grass and it is this which must be catalyst for this gathering? I later spoke to a neighbour, Liz, who also reported 100+ sparrows around her feeding station recently. As I mentioned in a previous post - House Sparrows around Thanet are certainly doing very well, in 2017, and worthy of celebration.

Sparrows foraging for millet and canary seed on our back lawn


  1. Great to see your spuggie photos, it seems that in Kent at least, that they are as common as they always have been, very much at odds with the national picture.

    1. Derek, although House Sparrows have always been a feature of our garden feeding station since moving here in 2000; the numbers involved recently are unprecedented. With a guesstimated 75/25% split in favour of juveniles over adults it would appear that here, around Dumpton at least, the 2017 breeding season has been a phenomenal success. We were in Droitwich a couple of weeks ago, stopping off at Aston Clinton en route for a night with my youngest brother. I am able report that House Sparrows were present at both sites. Although numerous is not a description I could use, it was heartening to see them without any effort. Maybe they're making a comeback? - All the best - Dyl

  2. Allways birds of housing estates or slerpy little market towns to me, love that constant chrirping in the privet hedges

    1. BB - my childhood memories are of huge flocks feeding on newly harvested corn stubble or cheeky "Cockney Sparra's" blatantly foraging on and around the tables in Kew Gardens or Battersea Fun Fair. They were always part of a day, whatever the weather. Their demise, which coincides with the introduction of unleaded petrol (no link, you understand, just a coincidence according to BP & Shell sponsored research) has been spectacular. So to see them around my garden is a pleasure and a privilege - let's hope that Hedgehogs can make a similar comeback?
      All the best & tight lines - Dyl

  3. Elo Dyl
    I have just come back from a chug on our boat we did the Leicester ring this year traveling via rugby, Coventry, Fradley junction, Burton on Trent, Leicester.
    I’m also happy to say that the sparrow population this year appeared healthy as are the Tit Genre Blue coal etc. also see lots of the Spanish sparrow (I Believe they migratory)?
    Managed as well to see my first water vole in years (just the one) hoping to see more of these critters!
    I too would love to see more hedgehogs not sure what a good fix would do to aid recovery I guess better education IE: garden fires. Drivers etc.
    You got some great reading here M8 keep it up.


    1. Bob - glad that you and Wendy enjoyed your little boating adventure - happy days. I can't see us getting together round Tim's any time soon; the house is a building site inside and out! We might have to wait for next April when he's 60?
      Not too sure that you saw Spanish Sparrows, only a handful of UK sightings ever, my guess is male House Sparrows or possibly Tree Sparrows? Hedgehogs are a creature of myth. Once incredibly common around our countryside and gardens - I haven't seen one this year. I am setting up a garden feeding station for these animals using a plastic storage box and specialist hedgehog food. A friend nearby has been doing this and now has five animals coming to his feeding station regularly. So watch this space.
      I'll see if Simon can make an excuse for us to have a gathering at his place - it would be magic to have a gathering over the summer.

      Take care and stay safe - Dyl (& Bev xxx)

  4. Speaking of comebacks eels are featuring again in Norfolk. There wa no doubt about a massive decline but I have heard sevweral times the 98% decline was a real cock up lots of peoples' figures. unless the above mentioned conglomerates have stuck an oar in there too..

    1. BB - eels have never been difficult to catch down here in East Kent. My angling on The Stour has been a constant battle to avoid the slimy pests. Pike fishing along The Royal Military Canal was a similar situation, eel activity being a problem even during the coldest months. There can be no doubting the population declines in some of our major waterways but, as you point out. 98% does seem a little far fetched and dramatic given our own experiences. Take care and keep blogging - Dyl