• Purple Emperors and Cuckoo.

    It was so lovely to see a handful of Purple Emperor Butterflies at RSPB Northward Hill over the weekend

    interspersed with one or two Purple Hairstreaks on the same Willow Tree. Other species flitted and chased

    each other, often quite high up. The difference in size between the Purple Emperor and the Red Admiral as

    they fought over territory was quite obvious, although the stunning males never came down to show off

    their…

    • 4 Jul 2022
  • Red-banded Sand Wasp.

    Yesterday afternoon when I was locking up Northward Hill RSPB my attention was drawn to a flash of lime green at my feet, at first I thought it was a caterpillar being dragged off by some ants (there is a huge ant colony in the sandy soil by the reserve gate). A closer inspection revealed it to be being carried by a Red-banded Sand Wasp. I whizzed back to my car for my phone, by which time she had struggled with the paralysed…

    • 18 Jun 2022
  • This weekend at RSPB Northward Hill (AKA Mob Rules)

     

    Today I spent quite more few more hours on the reserve than I can normally afford, so I was there in

     the afternoon for about 4 or 5 hours.

     

    I spoke to Sonja Hardy, the Warden and assured her I would be locking up this reserve and RSPB Cliffe Pools.

     

    I set off along the main track, slowly making my way to Sweeney Viewpoint. I noted the Black Horehound

    flowers were even now, beginning to fade.

     

    At ‘Sweeney’ the whole…

    • 13 Jun 2022
  • Northward Hill 31/05/2022.

    Whilst the weather has been disappointing of late and looks to start improving gradually over the next few days finally, quite a few insects have braved the cooler temperatures to hunt, feed and mate. Red Ants are farming the Aphids, Robber Flies are flitting through the leaves looking for insect prey.

    In the Willow Wood, Yellow-barred Long-horned Moths danced around females aiming to impress them. With impossibly long…

    • 1 Jun 2022
  • Last Nightingale Walk of 2022.

    This evening was RSPB Medway Local Groups’ last Nightingale walk of the year. The males only sing for about six weeks as they seek to establish their territories and hope to entice a female to pair up with them.

    Rather sadly any still singing beyond the end of May and into June have not been able to attract a mate.

    Fortunately on this occasion the Assistant Warden had kindly provided me with a map showing all the…

    • 26 May 2022
  • RSPB Northward Hill Owl Walk, 25/05/2022

    It was great to greet 16 people at Bromhey Farm RSPB Northward Hill car-park for a pretty impromptu Barn Owl Watch Walk.

    The Walk was instigated after sighting parent Owls hunting last Thursday on a regular Nightingale Walk as we made our way back from a very successful descent from the hill and back up to Sweeney Viewpoint.

    So we decided an Owl Walk was a good idea, after consent from the reserve and at short notice…

    • 26 May 2022
  • Yellow Wagtail 22/05/22

    Today I locked up at RSPB Cliffe Pools as usual at about 4ish.

    I then drove to RSPB Northward Hill to do the same. About halfway between Cliffe and Cooling I encountered a lovely bright yellow bird washing itself in a puddle at the roadside. 

    It was a Yellow Wagtail, no mistaking, it actually flew off as I slowed to watch it then landed on a fence post ten yards away giving me an even better and closer view of the amazing…

    • 22 May 2022
  • Chatham Charity Community Walk.

    Today I had the privilege of taking a Community based charity group from Chatham round on a nature walk at RSPB Cliffe Pools. I opened up the car-park at 10 am as I do most weekends. From there I could hear a lot of birdsong including, Chiff Chaff, Blackcap, Whitethroats, Dunnock, Cettis’ Warbler and Reed Warbler.

    About 10.30 the organisers, Steve and Shila arrived, Steve I’ve met before, but Shila was new to me…

    • 21 May 2022
  • Nightingale Walk, 19/05/2022.

    This evening was the sixth and pen-ultimate Nightingale Walk organised by RSPB Medway Local Group. As usual we met at 7 o’clock at the appointed venue, this time RSPB Northward Hill.

    Firstly we set off toward Ernest Hemsley Viewpoint to hear a fair few snatches of song from a lone bird, unfortunately not as yet the Full Monty as I would call it.

     

    We then made our way back through the Willow Wood, eventually ending…

    • 20 May 2022
  • The fifth Nightingale walk for the RSPB Medway Local Group.

    We met promptly at 7 at the Guard House of the former Lodge Hill Army Camp in Chattenden.

     

    At the beginning of each walk, I normally give a short talk regarding Medway Council’s outrageous plan to build housing adjacent to or on a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI in short).

     

    In total nearly 30 of us were present, being the site most under threat from the Councils’ Housing Policy I felt it warranted a little…

    • 13 May 2022
  • Butterfly weekend, 7/8 May 2022. Northward Hill RSPB.

    This weekend with the weather gradually improving the butterflies were beginning to show. 

    The species I saw over the two day period were:- Tortoiseshell, Comma, Peacock, Wall Brown, Small White, Speckled Wood and best of all, a Green Hairstreak.

    On the bird front still plenty of singing from Cettis' Warbler, Cuckoo, Whitethroat and of course Nightingale!

    • 9 May 2022
  • 4th visit to Northward Hill RSPB for Nightingale Walk 2022.

    There were 18 guests and 5 group members at Bromhey Farm last night. Our Group Leader Warren Mann addressed the assembled thanking Sonja (The Warden) for allowing us to visit the reserve after hours. He then decided to split the group into two with a leader assigned to each. Me to one and Trevor Hatton to the other.

    I decided to go to the path that leads to the Ernest Hemsley Viewpoint as I'd heard a Nightingale singing…

    • 7 May 2022
  • Fourth Medway RSPB Northward Hill Nightingale Walk for 2022.

    There were 18 guests and 5 group members at Bromhey Farm last night. Our Group Leader Warren Mann addressed the assembled thanking Sonja (The Warden) for allowing us to visit the reserve after hours. He then decided to split the group into two with a leader assigned to each. Me to one and Trevor Hatton to the other.

    I decided to go to the path that leads to the Ernest Hemsley Viewpoint as I'd heard a Nightingale singing…

    • 7 May 2022
  • A magic morning at RSPB Northward Hill.

    I don't normally manage to get onto the reserve much before lunchtime, however this morning I was there just after ten. I walked, as usual from the car-park towards Sweeney Viewpoint stopping at the Willow tree by the old bench to listen to a Nightingale singing full throttle as he often does.

    A blackcap was also singing very close by. I looked into the greenery to see if I could spy the latter (as there is no chance…

    • 7 May 2022
  • Always something new to see.

    As above, there is always something exciting to see at RSPB Northward Hill. Despite the weather not being too good there were quite a few butterflies around this weekend, Orange Tip, Brimstone, Peacock, Red Admiral, Small White and Speckled Wood.

    Still a lot of Whitethroat singing and displaying from the brambles, Chiff Chaff and Blackcap in the emerging Willows, Cettis' Warbler belting out their unmistakable song alongside…

    • 25 Apr 2022
  • A lovely hour at RSPB Northward Hill, 19/04/2022

    I thought I would pop up to the reserve this morning for an hour and I am glad I did. As I drove through the gates a Sparrowhawk was on high wheeling around in fairly tight circles as is their wont, not really being bothered by the nearby Corvids. A little further on along the track a Common Buzzard was doing a similar thing, again unusually for the Buzzard it was not being mobbed either.

    There was also a Kestrel hovering…

    • 19 Apr 2022
  • First Nighingale Walk of the Year.

    I am the first to admit, every-year I am always nervous of the first official walk of the year. This generally takes place about halfway through April and is no guarantee the males will sing, especially when the weather Mid-Apr is never always that good, one never really knows until the day, of course by then it's too late to cancel things.

    We all met just before 7 pm in the car park at Bromhey Farm, in the event fellow…

    • 14 Apr 2022
  • Walk this Sunday Cliffe Pools

    Free Guided Walk with Nature on Sunday 13 March at RSPB Cliffe Pools. Organised and lead by the RSPB Medway Local Group.

     

    TQ722757 (ME3 7SX)                                    9.00 am HT 8.40 am               Leader: Warren Mann

                                                                                                                                         

    The various pools should be full of waders and wildfowl. Birds of prey and owls could also put in an appearance and there are always gulls.

     

    Meet in the reserve car park off Salt Lane and please be aware that there is no cover or facilities…

    • 11 Mar 2022
  • RSPB Northward Hill 23/02/2022

    There’s always something new and interesting to see at RSPB Northward Hill and today was no exception.

    With intermittent sunshine and a constant threat of rain, it was nice to hear car-park Blue Tits and distant Great Tits singing in the trees and bushes.

    Robin Redbreast and Jenny Wren were also adding their voices to the birdsong.

     

    My mission today was to discover if any insect species were emerging in the mild…

    • 23 Feb 2022
  • Visit by North West Surrey RSPB Local Group.

    Weekend Walk at Cliffe Pools Saturday 29th January 2022

    I bumped into this group a couple of weeks ago and they promised me a copy of their report.


    Lapwing.

    The Long Walk to Lunch

    Saturday the 29th January saw eleven members gather at RSPB Cliffe Pools for a chance to explore this fine reserve. We set off on what I had suggested as a two part walk with the first part, around the eastern side of the reserve, to take…

    • 11 Feb 2022
  • Nightingales etc.

    Nightingale Walk

    This year's Mental Health Awareness Week campaign is connecting with nature, so what better time for Harriet Smith to join the RSPB for a guided nightingale walk on a quest to hear some of Medway's treasured feathered visitors. 

    Today I heard a nightingale sing.

     

    Rushing home from work through the traffic and swinging by home to collect the tweenager, I couldn’t wait…

    • 30 Jan 2022
  • Cliffe and Northward Hill RSPB today.

    I bumped into the North West Surrey RSPB Local Group when I locked up a Cliffe this afternoon. They said they would send me their report in the fullness of time which would be good to reproduce on the NKM Facebook Page.
    A lovely evening this evening at RSPB Northward Hill, the Bramblings were showing really well, c 40 plus. Up to 20 plus Woodcock flying out of Lipwell onto the Marshes. Long-tailed Tits mocking my…
    • 29 Jan 2022
  • A lovely late afternoon at Northward Hill, RSPB.

    3 Woodcock at the Marsh Viewpoint (Northward Hill) as well as a female Tawny Owl showing well (to make a change). Up to 30 Bramblings flying into the brambles nearby to roost. This was at about 4:15 and it was still pretty light

    • 18 Jan 2022
  • Song Thrush, RSPB Northward Hill.

    It was lovely to hear a Song Thrush singing its' heart out in the scrub near the office.

    The song consists of a series of vigorous, simple phrases, less rich than that of the Blackbird, but with a penetrating quality. The fluting notes are often interspersed with harsh, impure tones and some mimicry of other species. Each phrase is repeated between two or four times, most often three as an average.

    Song thrushes establish…

    • 12 Jan 2022
  • News from the North Kent Marshes by Dr Hoo (8th of January 2022)

    A wet and cold morning out on the The North Kent Marshes with Finn and his Dad litter-picking' it's his 4th consecutive Saturday, this time they collected 4 bags of rubbish, so well done to them.
    It also gave me a chance to speak with the contractors out there repairing the Cliffe Creek seawall breach which happened during Wednesdays exceptional tide. This allowed several feet of salt water to flood onto the reserve…
    • 8 Jan 2022