• Cattle Egret etc

    When we had an RSPB Walk some days ago, I said we would see the Egrets as long as the Cattle were close up and not miles out on the marsh, in the end we did see them, but only distantly as that was where the cattle were.

    Today they were right close up to the Marsh Gate and I could see six Egrets flitting amongst the cows legs after insects. Closer inspection revealed three were the now resident Cattle Egrets and the other…

    • 30 Jul 2021
  • I can't believe it's the 1st of July.

    I have to say I never tire of the sight of Goldfinches and their tinkling song, they are singing from the Silver Birch in my postage stamp garden as I write.

    Today my daily sojourn to RSPB Northward Hill had to wait until after 6pm. As usual there was always a pleasant surprise on the drive in. A Buzzard sitting atop a telegraph pole hoping for an easy meal of an unwary young rabbit or roadkill at the behest of a visiting…

    • 1 Jul 2021
  • This weekend at RSPB Northward Hill.

    Butterflies were re-emerging in the sunlight at Northward Hill, a Small Skipper by the farmhouse, a Ringlet in the car-park and a Small Heath a little further on.

    A few Peacocks and Small Tortoiseshells bathed in the sunshine. The highlight of the weekend would be White letter Hairstreaks seen by Joanne Fegan who has kindly allowed me to publish her image, usually they are confined to specific Elm trees in the sanctuary…

    • 27 Jun 2021
  • A sad day at RSPB Northward Hill.

    I feel I have lost an old friend, the huge Walnut Tree that has dominated the overflow car-park finally gave up the ghost last night and crashed to the ground. It was the first thing I looked to as driving down into the reserve. So many memories, my last sighting of a Turtle Dove within its' lofty boughs three years ago, the squirells raising their kits in a hole. The fabulous Tawny Owls in the Owl box and Jackdaws in…

    • 26 Jun 2021
  • Another beautiful fly from yesterday at Northward Hill.

    This one is Poecilobothrus nobilitatus or Semaphore Fly, one of the most studied flies mainly because of its' size and easily identifiable sexing.

    By the way for those of you who are wondering where I've suddenly acquired this expertise from, I get a good photo and upload it onto UK Diptera Facebook and a 'proper expert' with tell me almost instantly what it is and from there I can google it to find out a few snippets…

    • 20 Jun 2021
  • Bird wise at Northward Hill, 19/06/21.

    This on a pretty dull and grey morning at RSPB Northward Hill, The Cuckoos x 2 were extremely vocal and the lone Nightingale singing up to a few days ago (on the way to Ernie Hemsley Viewpoint) has finally stopped singing. Plenty of Whitethroats were vocalising in the scrub and the highlight of the day was seeing a pair of Nightingales in the appropriately named Nightingale Tree, so-called because you could almost guarantee…

    • 20 Jun 2021
  • Snipe Fly from yesterday.

    This is Rhagio tringarius.

    • 20 Jun 2021
  • Karen Snows' visit to Northward Hill, yesterday


    Went to Northward Hill today hoping it wouldn't be so hot (or crowded) as anywhere else. Was wrong on the hot front, it was very hot on the Sweeny viewpoint. But very few people about although we did later on bump into Trevor Hatton. Birds were few, but we did get Canada and Greylag Geese, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Jackdaw, Lapwing, Mallard, Coot, Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Buzzard, Marsh Harrier…
    • 14 Jun 2021
  • Easily identifiable beetle, today.

    Oedemera nobilis, also known as the false oil beetle, thick-legged flower beetle or swollen-thighed beetle, is a beetle in the family Oedemeridae, a common species in Western Europe, including the south of England.


    • 2 Jun 2021
  • My latest beetle discovery.

    This one is new to me Cantharis rustica, a species of Soldier Beetle.

    • 2 Jun 2021
  • A long weekend to remember.

    Seeing the old porta-cabin style office in a skip makes this weekend fairly unique for starters. Then the spectacle of a Collared Pratincole at RSPB Cliffe Pools adds to the uniqueness of this last few of days of May, the truly 'summer is round the corner month'. As the song goes,' June is busting out all over' and with luck we will find out on Tuesday.

    The weather has been better over the weekend, but…

    • 30 May 2021
  • Collared Pratincole, Cliffe Pools RSPB.

    As requested my thanks to Shane Vale for these great images of the CP. Still showing well today!

    • 30 May 2021
  • Today 29/05/2021

    Today, getting towards the end of the real Spring Month of May, the weeks of the Maypole, Black and Hawthorn blossom, the month of the fabulous Nightingale and the iconic Cuckoo, these two embrace the very essence of the coming summer. They sing of the time when they will find a partner and nest, in fact that is why they vocalise to find a mate.

    Nightingales are still shouting out for a mate as are the cuckoos at Northward…

    • 29 May 2021
  • Collared Pratincole, RSPB Cliffe Pools.

    • 29 May 2021
  • Five lovely flowers in the car-park at Northward Hill.

    Red campion, Silene dioica.

    Oxeye Daisy, Leucanthemum vulgare.

    Cornflower, Centaura cyanus.

    Common hawthorn, Crataegus punctata.

    Dog-rose, Rosa canina.

    • 28 May 2021
  • A Zebra jumping spider and a mystery spider.

    So here are two spiders who were eying each other up on the south-facing wall of the brick barn at Northward Hill this afternoon. One appropriately is Salticus scenicus (Zjs) not sure was his adversary/attacker/next meal is, but I'm sure Facebook Uk spiders will let me know in due course.

    • 28 May 2021
  • Campaign to save Britains' Road verges.

    Road verges covering 1.2% of Great Britain, an area the size of Dorset, could be used to grow wildflower meadows and create habitat for wildlife, a study says.

    In a report outlining the scale of road verges in England, Scotland and Wales, researchers from the University of Exeter used Google Earth and Google Street View to estimate that verges account for about 1,000 sq miles (2,579 sq km) of the UK’s land.

    • 26 May 2021
  • Learn to love wasps by Aimee Coates.

    A guest blog by Aimee Coates, Volunteer Media Officer for RSPB Local Groups. 

    We all love bees! From bee-friendly seed packets and jewellery, to cushion covers and crockery, we just can’t get enough of them, but what about their dreaded cousin, the wasp?

    Wasps are often seen as ‘the villains’ of the insect world as they descend on our lovely picnics with a sting in their tail. But our ecosystem relies…
    • 22 May 2021
  • Cuckoo and the Nightingale (20/05/21)

    Last night was the second and probably last Nightingale Walk of the year. On Monday at Cliffe Polls we unfortunately hadn't heard one at all even though there are 10 singing males this year, so I was understanably nervous about last night. It had rained on and off most of the day and I even had thoughts of cancellation.

    At 6.00 it started to rain as I made my way to Northward Hill, which again didn't bode well, so…

    • 21 May 2021
  • Hobbys at Northward Hill.

    What is better than seeing a Hobby soaring on high over the marsh even on a rainy day? Seeing two Hobbys overhead, they have been known to breed in the sanctuary, so it would be nice if these were a potential breeding pair.

    • 20 May 2021
  • Nightingale Walk Cliffe Pools yesterday evening 17/05.

    This was the first walk under the newly relaxed Government Guidelines we could have this year. We were fully booked at 30, however the weather during the late afternoon and into the early evening was not looking good with showers locally heavy and light.

    I didn't actually count the attendees myself, but I think there was about twenty of us all together, maybe a tad more. 

    Rain was threatening all the time so I decided…

    • 18 May 2021
  • Weekend 15/.05.2021

    Not too much to record from the past week, mainly, it has to be said due to the dire weather we are experiencing at the moment.

    Last Wednesday I took Harriet Smith and her family for a Nightingale Walk at Northward Hill. It was quite overcast and not that warm and I have to admit I struggled to find a male actually singing. Fortunately the male in the Willow by the bench near the car-park did us proud and performed beautifully…

    • 16 May 2021
  • 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