• Second leader report RSPB NwH Walk, 9th of May.

    Twelve members of the Medway RSPB Group were signed up to the walk at Northward Hill today led by myself and Karen Snow.

    After a brief update as to where we might find the Nightingales, Karen led her group along the main track up to, eventually Sweeney Viewpoint, we plumped to go left in the opposite direction past the office pond, hoping to hear the Reed Warbler, but no.

    This was more than compensated by the two or three…

    • 10 May 2021
  • RSPB Medway Local Group Northward Hill Walk.

    Twelve members of the Medway RSPB Group were signed up to the walk at Northward Hill today led by myself and David Saunders.

    After a brief update as to where we might find the Nightingales, my group set off up the main path and almost immediately heard and saw Whitethroat.  One member of the group thought he heard a Lesser Whitethroat, but we didn’t see it.  A Nightingale was singing in the scrub further up the track…

    • 10 May 2021
  • newsletter RSPB 07/05/2021

     
    RSPB’s Weekly Connect 5 May 2021
    Dear David

    I hope you had a good May Day Bank Holiday weekend, the first of our bank holidays for quite a while where we have had slightly fewer Covid restrictions and could do a little more. I enjoyed getting out and about walking in some new areas and that all important (and well earned) drink in a nice beer garden after a long walk.

    In my email this week…
    • 7 May 2021
  • Northward Hill 05/05/2021.

    A couple of yearly firsts for me ar NwH RSPB, Swifts on high, living up to their name, zooming around, manic wing flapping. My God those little guys must use up massise amounts of energy to flap-fast.

    So much for flying on high, now for flying on low, St Marks' Flies have finally made a belated appearance on the reserve. They are brilliant, so close to see. Their dangly legs so distictive, and quite honestly diagnostic…

    • 5 May 2021
  • Northward Hill today, 02/05/2021

    Dodging the showers today I ventured on to the reserve. This morning at home, in Chattenden I'd set the alarm for 4am to hear and record the dawn chorus on Dawn Chorus Day. Actually it didn't start until some 35 minutes later. I duly recorded it on my phone and uploaded it on to the Medway Local Group RSPB Facebook Page.

    I got to the Bromhey Farm carpark at I o'clock, and as soon as I drew up, my attention was…

    • 2 May 2021
  • Medway RSPB Local Group Walk. Cliffe Pools.

    Sunday 25 April
    Medway Local Group Walk – RSPB Cliffe Pools
    Leaders Karen snow and Warren Mann
    Our first walk since the start of the pandemic and we had decided to take two groups of 6, 5 plus the leader, on a walk round RSPB Cliffe Pools. Adrian Olsen had kindly agreed to open the car park for us which was a great help and allowed us to meet in the car park in a socially distanced way. We then went off in our…
    • 2 May 2021
  • The alder leaf beetle from yesterday.

    Also known as the Blue alder leaf beetle (Agelastica alni), whilst being quite common on the Continent up as far as Fennoscandia, it's apparently quite rare in England, so a good find on the reserve.

    • 28 Apr 2021
  • Northward Hill today, 27/05/2121.

    It was a lovely sunny if not slightly chilly walk at the RSPB reserve today, I think the weather was definately affecting the wildlife. Whitethroats were quite plentiful in the usual scrublands uo to Sweeney VP. A lot of waterfowl were out on the floods, I wondered how much of the water would hang around as the weather (hopefully) improves, temperatures rise and natural evaporation kicks in.

    For now there was still pairing…

    • 27 Apr 2021
  • My first cuckoo and others.

    On my way to the reserve this evening as I drove along Dux Court Road I could see a Buzzard being mobbed, now that is nothing unusual. I have seen them being mobbed by many species, corvids mainly and even seagulls. This was unusual as this time the mobber was a Peregrine Falcon. They were in my view for about a minute, the Buzzard dropped to the ground and the Peregrine flew to a nearby pylon. It reminded me that a couple…

    • 21 Apr 2021
  • Mystery insect.

    Walking across car-park at Northward Hill yesterday I was looking on the ground in front of me. I find over the last couple of years I'm more and more fascinated by, as Sir David coined, 'Life in the Undergrowth', I spied a tiny insect hurrying across the dusty pebble strewn area. I bent down to take a closer look and noticed its' vivid red and black colouration immediately. My initial thought was some sort of ant, but…

    • 19 Apr 2021
  • The welcome return of the Nightingales.

    Every evening for the last week or so I have visited the Hill to listen for the iconic songster to sing his beautiful song and this evening I was rewarded with just that. Sitting on the bench at the hill veiwpoint at 7 o'clock I was just about to leave when a male sang right behind me. No matter how many times I hear it, it's always magical, no more so than when it's the first of the season.

    To put this into…

    • 14 Apr 2021
  • Northward Hill RSPB update.

    No Cuckoos just yet, but a Nightingale was caught by the Bird-ringers on the reserve on Sunday (ie yesterday) so a good sign they are beginning to arrive, pretty much on time. There are good numbers of other singers around, Wrens (displaying in an Oak Tree),  Goldfinch, Tits Blue and Great. Lapwing are pee-witting out on the marsh, chasing potential partners, or foes. Buzzards are overhead soaring on the spring strengthening…

    • 12 Apr 2021
  • Northward Hill beetle this afternoon.

    This lovely beetle was foraging across Sweeny Viewpoint this afternoon. I looked it up in Brooks, an excellent and all round (thoroughly recommended) guide to the insects of the U.K. and came to the conclusion it was a Black Clock Beetle. I always check with Beetles UK Fb page (or any other Natural History Fb pages) as there are some very knowledgeable people out there) before sticking my neck out on a official RSPB blog…

    • 30 Mar 2021
  • Bee-flies.

    These lovely little insects are on the wing again, they are amazing with that incredibly long tongue used for feeding. This one is the very common Dark-edged Bee-fly, so named for obvious reasons.

    Their larvae are parasitoids of the larvae of mining bees which usually nest in colonies in soil such as woodlands or even your flower beds and lawns. Female bee-flies hover a few inches above mining bee nesting areas and flick…

    • 30 Mar 2021
  • Yellow-legged Mining Bee.

    This is the bee species that's parasitised by the Painted Nomad Bee as mentioned in the previous blog. I took this picture last summer opposite the office. The Yellow-legged Mining Bee, Andrena flavipes.

    • 30 Mar 2021
  • Painted Nomad Bee

    This beauty was on the pathway bimbling around in the short grass. I managed to get some good shots of it and with the help of the Bees, wasps and ants Facebook page confirmed it as Nomada fucata or the Painted Nomad Bee ( Nationally Scarce) but has expanded its' range since !980 and is now well represented in the South and South East. It parasitises the Yellow-legged Bee, Andrena flavipes. This nomad bee doesn't normally…

    • 30 Mar 2021
  • Daffodils

    I've been waiting for a couple of weeks now for the Daffodils at the entrance to RSPB Northward Hill to open and they did seem to be a little behind others locally, but finally they have, enjoy.

    • 24 Mar 2021
  • Giant House Spider.

    On the barn wall at RSPB Northward Hill and it was big! Eratigena atrica.

      

    • 24 Mar 2021
  • Karen Snows' visit to RSPB Cliffe Pools this weekend.

    Today's walk was at Cliffe Pools. It was warm out of the breeze and in the sun but at times quite chilly especially at the sea wall. Only added one new bird to the list today, a Ruff, taking the total to 102. Other good birds today were Goldeneye, Pintail, Egyptian Geese, Mediterranean Gull. Also the regulars were around; Tufted, Wigeon, Pochard, Gadwall, Shovelor, Shelduck, Teal, Mallard, Mute Swan, Little Egret, Coot…

    • 22 Mar 2021
  • Saving Swanscombe.

    Saving Swanscombe

     

    Emma Marsh

    Donna Zimmer is a campaigner and RSPB volunteer based in Kent. Here she describes the Swanscombe Peninsula, and the work of the “Save Swanscombe Peninsula” Group 

    Swanscombe Peninsula in Kent is one of my favourite green spaces. It’s an urban wilderness with an outstanding variety of habitats that attracts some very special species. This includes a wide diversity of invertebrate…

    • 11 Mar 2021
  • A cold and sunny(wish) afternoon at RSPB Northward Hill.

    Despite the cold, there were still a lot of visitors on the reserve. I have seen numbers rise consistently during lockdown, and the same at RSPB Cliffe Pools as people are looking to explore new venues to take their 'local' exercise. Let's hope their new discoveries of our fantastic countryside and wildlife continue after the pandemic. I've also noticed an increase in families with children out in the fresh air (and it…

    • 7 Mar 2021
  • Update on local Planning issues Lodge Hill etc.

    I just want to update the people as to where we are regarding Medway Council, Homes England, Esquires, Lodge Hill and the Nightingales. As you may be aware the council have been awarded £170,000,000 for a Housing Infrastructure Fund, HIF for short

     

    Most of which is ear-marked to be spent on the Hoo Peninsula, including a new railway station at Sharnal Street on the outskirts of High Halstow. It will also pay for…

    • 7 Mar 2021