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!


Tuesday 31 July 2018

Time for a rethink - me thinks!

I don't know how obvious it is to regular visitors of this blog, but the current building project is really getting me down as it continues to impact on my ability to establish anything close to my normal routine. True, we already have a fully functional bathroom and the kitchen/diner is taking shape by the day. With luck it will be ready for decorating within the next fortnight? The extension, the room that is going to be my study, still awaits the footings to be put down due to the demands of the building inspectorate. Kevin and Andy have spent much of today getting a steel framework in place in preparation for the concrete base being laid. Fortunately it passed the inspection first time round and the brickies should be able to get started next week? All done by the start of September? It's a nice thought, although I'm not planning on holding my breath!
With nothing to show for three sessions, over the weekend, I am seriously beginning to consider a change of tack until the building work has been completed and I'm, once again, able to prepare any bait, as required, rather than simply using what's available in the freezer. I need to catch a few fish, of whatever species, just to feel a rod bending again. I've got until Friday to hatch a plan, as I'm currently on lates, thus have ample time to assess my options. As important as my desire to catch that carp is, at a very personal level, I really don't have the mind-set, or drive, to pursue an individual target fish, without a full armoury of tactics, and bait, at my disposal whilst my free time is so limited. On the plus side, however, was the sighting of my first ever Southern Migrant Hawker, patrolling a "Levels" drain. What a superb dragonfly with its' stunningly intense colouration and those gleaming blue eyes, a very pleasing, self-found, distraction from my angling short comings.
Beavers continue to entertain, in an irritating sort of way.

Not the greatest image, yet it does show the size and width of that infamous tail.
The novelty wears a little thin when one wipes out a carefully set rod at 03.00 hrs and smashes the surface with all the impact of a cow falling into the drain; that flattened tail is something else! It couldn't be any worse if someone threw a paving slab into my swim; every fish in the drain is aware of my presence after such an event.

Birding has been, very much, on the back burner since we returned from Mallorca, so the decent movement of Swifts, early on Sunday morning, was a nice reminder that Autumn is not too far away and the doldrums of Summer are soon to be over. My year list is nudging 200 species, following the holiday, but a long way short of my target of 300. Maybe I should go birding whilst the building work impacts upon my angling, in an attempt to fill a few gaps on the spreadsheet?  Not a chance, I've been there, seen it and won first prize - never again. If I am to record 300 species, it will because I have travelled widely and been very fortunate in my encounters with the avian inhabitants of these holiday destinations.

Speckled Wood - the Mallorcan version
Butterflies have always provided peripheral interest, whatever else I was focused on. The southern form of Speckled Wood was a pleasant addition to my list, although obviously overlooked during earlier holidays around this region?  2018's most intriguing sightings of these insects, thus far, have, however, both been out on the marshes, this summer, with a Grayling along a farm track, near to where I'd photographed that Stoat, and Fritillary sp. feeding on Blackberry flowers out on the "Levels". Moth trapping hasn't even entered the 2018 equation, although the gear is still to hand and will be pressed into service once the grand-kids need a project for school holidays. I remember that thrill when I first discovered moths, and the kindred spirits who fanned the flames way back in the early/mid 1990's.  Back then it was all about Macros and the species contained within the bible, that was the original Skinner. Micros were all science and gen. det. stuff, so ignored by the majority and thus off the radar. It was Francis Solly who first made me aware of this group and the fascinating challenge they offer. I can't recall my exact reply but "F*CK OFF FRANNIE" might have been close, when he showed me a Horse Chestnut Leaf-miner for the first time. I've long since mellowed and would probably say go away should he attempt to interest me today? The seeds were sown, however, and now even these insects are able to provide distraction whilst I'm outdoors. I would think that modern digital photography has made as much impact upon my own involvement as anything else. Being able to get up close and personal with such tiny creatures opens a whole new arena for discovery - just how far do you want to go?


  1. Congrats on finding your own SMH. They really are stunning aren't they? I saw my first ever Beaver yday along with an Otter nearby. Nature at its best. Keep up the excellent site matey. It's a great read.

    1. Marc,
      An Otter in Kent would be my absolute "two fingers" to the local carp anglers. Beavers are an introduction experiment, but they don't eat fish! Otters are a native species which kept eels in check, until the water companies killed them all with their piss poor effluent treatment. If ever I see an otter out on the "Levels" I'll know that things ain't quite as bad as I'd thought?
      I have to thank you for my Southern Migrant Hawker id - if I'd not seen your fantastic photos, from Oare KWT, I would have probably overlooked it?
      Take care & stay safe - Dyl

  2. Dylan, seeing your mention of otters, you might be interested in the following on the Kent Birders facebook page this last week. A Norman Mccanch mentioned the fact that he acts as a wildlife consultant for a syndicate fishery in East Kent where otter proof fencing has had to be installed at a cost of £80,000

    1. Hi Derek,
      The fishery is Seaton Gravel Pits, an extraordinarily overpriced, and much hyped, carp syndicate. The monstrous fish that make up the fishery stocks have enormous commercial value, thus £80,000 is a justifiable expense to prevent Otters from predating the carp that are why dumb anglers part with silly money to join. It's an insurance? Otter fences are a feature of the vast majority of still water fisheries, the length and breadth of the UK, especially if they contain carp!
      The Little Stour (which flows between the two gravel pits at Seaton), upstream from Littlebourne, has long been rumoured to have Otters, although I have no evidence other than hearsay and The Stour at Ashford, where the Batchelor's factory is situated, has a history of Otter traces in the storm drains - via the Environment Agency guys who inspect these things.
      My only encounters with these magnificent creatures have been in Scotland, one in Kent would be brilliant! - Dyl

  3. Of course Dyl, there's quite a few people who would love to see a Beaver. But that said, those who only ever look at stuff aren't likely to be affected by the antics of what they are looking at.
    Those of us who have some element of 'hands on' involvement in matters, can be affected to some extent, as you are with the monster wood chiseler swimming across your lines.

    1. Ric,
      Familiarity breeds contempt, or so they say. It is certainly true in context of me and European Beavers around the East Kent marshes. I see them almost every time I go fishing out there. They are more often seen than foxes! Them swimming through my lines is almost unavoidable in some of the smaller side drains that I frequent, barely ten feet wide and only a couple of feet deep. Pretty good for nomadic carp, but almost perfect for these aquatic mammals, so it's hardly surprising that they are doing so well out there? - Dyl