• 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
  • Finally we get to March.

    We have made it to Spring! Although let’s see how we go as March can see some very mixed weather meaning our wildlife needs to keep on its toes. However, expect a month of hope as spring flowers start to bloom.
    Often overlooked in our gardens due to it’s skulking tendencies and perceived drab looks but dunnocks come into their own in spring. They make up for the lack of colours and beauty with an uplifting…
    • 6 Mar 2021
  • RSPB Post by Vince Beaney.

    Saturday 27th February 2021
    With a forecast for light winds and sun all day we needed somewhere away from the crowds and so opted for Cliffe. The car park still being closed at weekends we saw the expected mass of cars parked outside but found a space without too much difficulty. Now at the beginning of the year there are always a few common species that elude me - so it was that a Greenfinch singing as we put our boots…
    • 4 Mar 2021
  • Redwing.

    Today as i drove onto the reserve there were a huge number of redwing in the Pear Orchard feeding on the ground as they are apt to do. I was picking up my ropes and hooks for removing of the tyres from the muds at Bloors Wharf at Riverside Country Park by the Norse Staff there. As I left great clouds of them flew over my car as I headed for the exit.

    • 2 Mar 2021
  • Egrets at Higham Marsh

    There are still a lot of Redpoll around this weekend and I haven't seen any Redwing or Fieldfare around for a few days when I think about it, so maybe they have left now. They were a week ago turning up in local villages so maybe their food supply is diminishing.

    A huge amount of Waterfowl are still out on the marsh viewable from Sweeney Viewpoint including Mute Swans, Coot, Greylag Geese, Canada Geese, Wigeon, Teal…

    • 20 Feb 2021
  • A snowy visit to RSPB Northward Hill.

    I am lucky enough to have Northward Hill only a five minute drive from my house, so in lockdown I can quite legitimately utilise it for my daily hour exercise. Today meeting the Warden Will in the car-park for a quick catch up. He told me the week had been quite difficult out in the open exposed to the elements and the sub-zero temperatures of the past few days. I told him I could relate to that after working for 6 years…

    • 13 Feb 2021
  • The fabulous Hoo Peninsula.

    Here on the Peninsula we are blessed with not one but two Nationally and Internationally important RSPB reserves, add to that Lodge Hill, the former army camp and Great Chattenden Wood and we are hugely fortunate. The two reserves are of course RSPB Northward Hill an RSPB Cliffe Pools.

    Both are managed all year round by two Wardens and a Site Manager, supported by interns and an army of volunteers. So what can we see…

    • 13 Feb 2021
  • Today at Northward Hill, 05/01/21

    After my last blog some time ago now, probably before I went on our Round the World Cruise, early January last year when Corona was still a bottled lager beer, things have changed in so many ways we could never have imagined in our wildest dreams (or should that be nightmares). Today talking to Will the Warden at Northward Hill I realise, somewhat belatedly, I need to start writing this blog again to keep everyone abreast…

    • 5 Feb 2021
  • A message from Beccy Speight.

    Update: 21st May 2020

    A message from RSPB Chief Executive Beccy Speight

    In my last update, I let you know of our gradual and phased approach to the challenging task of reopening our amazing network of nature reserves, following the change to Government guidance in England.

    From the many of you who have been in touch, we know how much you are looking forward to getting back out into nature and enjoying these…

    • 4 Jun 2020
  • The importance of insects (part 1). Honey Bees

    Honey bees make honey from pollen and nectar collected from flowers. They live in large colonies with one queen, many sterile females workers and some male drones. In the wild honey bees nest in hollow trees.

    When a new queen emerges, she embarks on a mating flight. On returning to her hive, with help from the workers, she kills the failing, old queen. Alternatively, before the new queen emerges, the old queen may leave…

    • 31 May 2020
  • Trees by Alfred Joyce Kilmer

    I was reminded of this little gem this morning and I thought it worth repeating, as it cheered me up thinking about when the reserve re-opens. I dedicate it to all the hard-working staff on the reserves and the fabulous Walnut Tree in the over-flow car park. Over the years it has been home to Jackdaws, Squirrels and Tawny Owls.


    Alfred Joyce Kilmer 1886-1918

    I think that I will never see

    A poem lovely as a tree…

    • 22 May 2020
  • Sparrowhawk, this afternoon.

    As I drove onto the reserve mid afternoon a Kestrel was hovering over the pear orchard, against the cold, clear blue sky it would have made a great photo. Experience has taught me getting the camera out of the bag affixing the telephoto lens, opening the window and focussing on the bird  was never going to happen as they never stay still in one place for more than ten of fifteen seconds. I had to remind myself to have…

    • 30 Nov 2019
  • Medway Local Group December Talk.


    • 24 Nov 2019
  • Owl talk to the kids.

    Today it was my pleasure as an RSPB Medway Local Group member to be at Foxes and Badgers classes at St Werburgh Primary School, Hoo, near Rochester to give them a talk on the Owls of Northward Hill.

    This year for us on the RSPB reserve it’s been very successful with at least four Barn Owls fledging, two Tawny and two Little Owls as well. All, it has to be noted within a short walk from the Bromhey Farm office.

    • 21 Nov 2019
  • Commemorative plaque to Liz Meredith.

    Earlier this year I was contacted by a very nice gentleman who wished to put a plaque on a bench in the woods in memory of his wife who had passed away last year. The bench he was proposing to place it on has a special place in his family and has many fond  memories for them and their Grandchildren.

    RSPB Warden Will Tofts said "We are very happy to help the Meredith family place the plaque in memory of Liz Meredith at…

    • 6 Nov 2019