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 30 June 2020

Tough going

I have really struggled to get motivated for anything blog related; nothing to write about being the very obvious issue. The BWKm0 garden list has grudgingly risen to 65 species, courtesy of a flyover Yellow Wagtail (a local breeder displaced by harvesting the potato crop?) but that's it as far as the garden listing is concerned! The Buzzards have disappeared, so will have to go down as a failed breeding attempt? Skylarks remain in situ and, on a very positive note, two Song Thrushes have started singing again. That's been a very long gap since the last one was heard in March! One is over at the farm compound, the other along the railway embankment, down near Hogwarts's (St Lawrence College). Newly arrived and/or looking to attempt raising another brood? Whatever the answer, they're certainly a most welcome addition to the local soundscape.

During the current furlough period, Bev and I have been pottering around doing those things which were always on the "to do list" just not that important to be "must do". The garden pots have now been placed upon a racking system which allows them to be positioned along the fence line without making horrible brown rings on the lawn. Even though I am nowhere close to being a gardener, have to admit that they do make the space so much more pleasing on the eye now that they're tidied up. So now, in addition to my green keeping duties, I cut the lawn, there is also the daily watering of the pots. Can't complain, because the garden is unrecognisable from the jungle that existed after the bungalow refurb had been completed. One major sighting occurred last Saturday when a pristine Silver-washed Fritilary appeared in the garden. I couldn't believe my eyes, thinking it had to be a miss-id'd Comma but, fortunately, it decided to land on the white buddleia (in the centre of the above image) two gardens to the north thus allowing me to confirm my suspicions and add a new species to the garden list. 

Bev has decided that she needs to get some exercise back in her routine, using the fact that I'd be able to accompany her as a motivation to get started. So far, during the past fortnight, we've managed to achieve a little over three miles, which is a vast improvement on sitting in an armchair all day, walking to the fridge or to assist her Mum in the next room. Bev has set her sights on five miles, so with July requiring me to attend work for just ten days, there is every chance that, together, we'll achieve this milestone. We ventured out, this morning, in light drizzle and I was telling her that my chances of seeing Humming-bird Hawk-moth, this year, were almost zero as our Kefalonia holiday was cancelled and the crop of Red Valerian, in and around our garden is vastly reduced from previous years. Imagine my absolute delight when, seeing Bev off the drive, (she wouldn't want to scratch her beloved CX-3) a "Hummer" appeared beside the bungalow feeding on a handful of flowering Valerian which align the driveway. 

An archive photo from five years ago.

Fishing has been a bit of a roller coaster, just lately. Benno has full time work, being self-employed, and the tides haven't been particularly conducive to our efforts whenever we've been able to get out. There have been a few other developments, which I'll keep for another day, suffice to say that we're not smashing it! 

It's not all doom and gloom, despite my increasing despair at the complete ineptitude of our political leaders. A Great White Egret has been spotted several times at Monks' Wall NNR, as I've driven past en route to the Ash Levels. Yesterday evening was to allow me to witness an awesome movement of Common Swifts over the marshes. Many thousands of birds moved south and continued to do so right into twilight, much to my amazement. It was a privilege to be sat there, just in awe of the spectacle that was unfolding in the skies above. If they'd have been Wildebeest, out on the Serengeti, then travel companies could charge huge sums to  watch such events. They ain't, and they can't, because birds don't need to stick to rules. Benno and I were very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time, certainly kept us amused whilst the bite alarms remain silent!

Appreciation of big skies is entirely due to the input of Steve Gale. Over this past three weeks I've been pointing the camera in the direction of the setting sun, whenever the event seems worthy, and I've managed to capture the feel of the moment on the odd occasion.


  1. Well that wasn't bad at all, despite the struggle for incentive. The garden looks colourful though in my garden this week, the pots would of been ripped away from the fence in the awful winds we've had.
    This summer so far, on the meadows of the Swale NNR, it has been noticeable how few butterflies have been about. Small Heaths, Meadow Browns and just about all others, are being seen in just odd tens, not good at all.

    1. Butterflies have been a rather scarce commodity here too. Small and Large Whites dominate the field margins with a scattering of Small Tortoiseshells and Red Admirals providing that splash of colour. Quite where that Silver-washed Frit came from is a complete mystery. I've never seen one in Kent previously so a Thanet record is really strange.
      Those winds did play havoc with the garden pots, meaning that I had to pick a couple off the lawn and place them in the relative safety of the patio area.
      Hoping you are keeping well - all the best Dyl

  2. Beautiful photos, mate. You know, I still have never seen a hummingbird hawk moth? I'd love to. I'm out and about in the countrysdie quite a bit and I teach alongside the Minster Marshes but I still haven't seen one. Something to look forward to. I've been doing a little marsh fishing and wandering when I can. I've been back at work for some time. We get buzzards flying low over the school grounds most days; they also hunt a wood next to the school. They queue up when the farm-workers decoy for pigeons, then fly down to feed. Always seen them as a scavenger of grim places but recently I've been watching them on surfing about on the marsh winds and I'm forming a more romantic view of them. Talking predators, I caught a two pound perch out on the dykes last week! Exhilarating stuff. More recently (on Thursday) I've seen a peregrine on the dead tree, midway along the cliff-top walk down at Pegwell. And yesterday, three newts in the Madeiera Falls pond in Ramsgate. I see the newts there every few years and then convince myself that they must have died off, due to all the pollutants that get put into the water there. They must be indestructible! And how the hell did they get in there? I've spoken to people who can remember them being there in the 50's and before. Perhaps they were introduced when it was first dug? Similar to crucians getting put in all those railway ponds. Intriguing as hell. Anyhow, some lovely reading as always, mate- that barbel quest sounds fascinating. I've only ever caught them by accident from stillwaters, so they don't count! Had them at Bury Hill and the little wooded pool at Longshaw. Imposter barbel. Looking forward to see how you do on the Stour- what an adventure- All the best, Gazza

    1. Hi Gazza,

      Great to hear from you and know that all is well. The old hover-pad at Pegwell is a really reliable site for Hummers. Choose a sunny day and check those massed wild buddlieas that grow along the base of the cliffs below the Viking Ship. The Common Buzzards which set up territory over at Newlands Farm seem to have gone, although the male bird was circling over the garden on Tuesday?
      Fishing is a bit of a mess at present and I'm not really focused on any single project, although the Tidal Stour is certainly something which I want to see through to a conclusion. Benno is all excited about tench fishing in "THAT" drain whilst I have gotten the eel bug again after one of the syndicate members accidentally caught a 5 lbs 6 oz fish which he refused to touch, or even allow it in his landing net. Dragging it up the bank where he photographed this magnificent creature laying beside his landing net handle. He didn't tell me how the weight was obtained, but sounded amazed when I told him that the eel was in excess of fifty years old and, probably, the best fish he'd ever caught. So far I've taken eight eels from Church Lake, to a top weight of 2 lbs 10 oz, but got bitten off by a larger specimen (around 4 lbs, at a guess) a week or so back. Although my PB is 7 lbs 1 oz, it was a complete fluke and I'd love to catch a decent eel by design and the syndicate opportunity seems too good to ignore. Cheers for the comment and kind words. Stay safe & tight lines - Dyl