As I say above the weekend has been a little bit special starting off on Friday with a visit to Higham Marsh to look for the Peregrine Falcons nesting on the pylon. On one were two, on another was a third, at least two looking like fully fledged birds.
On the way back looking left over Higham I could see a raptor being mobbed by the usual corvids, on closer inspection (though bins, of course) I could see the unmistakable M shape and forked tail of a Red Kite, brilliant.
Next day Saturday was the fifth, in eighteen months of plastic clean-ups of the south shoreline/foreshore of the River Thames on the North Kent Marshes at Cliff.
A massive thank you to all the volunteers who turned out this morning, despite both vehicles having problems, we managed to get all the equipment and people out there, by everyone pulling together to overcome these difficulties. This time as before we concentrated on the smaller items of plastic often entangled with the foreshore vegetation which made removal extremely difficult. Using rakes and shovels thereby raking it through and shovelling it up, we managed to remove (between the 11 of us) 45 huge bags of waste.
A brilliant effort to all those involved, it was hot and sweaty work, not made any easier by (as always) the sloping concrete apron over the sea wall. At least two volunteers managed to slip over.
A few butterflies kept us company, Large White, Small White, Meadow Browns and the occasional Painted Lady and Marbled White.
I must admit I was disappointed not to see more Cooling, Hoo, Cliffe and Cliffe Wood residents turning out, not to mention all the Kent Youth movements ie Scouts and Guides I'd contacted.
The message to clear the plastic out of our river systems and ultimately our mighty oceans is not exactly a new issue. The pollution of our planet by a tide of plastic choking our very future is a real issue, so why was there a paltry 11 stalwarts on Saturday morning, despite the hundreds if not thousands of local peninsular/Kent residents who must have seen the event advertised.
The day progressed and on the upside, Belinda Lamb of the Medway Swale Partnership expressed a desire to see Cinnabar Moths and their caterpillars. So without further ado I took her to Northward Hill RSPB and showed her both and as bonus eggs on the underside of a recently sprouting Ragwort, She was well chuffed, to say the least.
For me, things got a little better as we rounded a sun-light bend in the wood a slithery movement caught my eye, I initially thought it was a snake hastily getting out of our way after enjoying a spot of sunbathing. Seeing the metallic bronzey form of the rapidly fleeing reptile confirmed it a Slow Worm at least a half a metre long and as thick as my forefinger.
So whether your interest is butterflies. moths, birds, reptiles or anything in between?
RSPB Northward Hill is a brilliant start to further explore or begin your adventure.
We spend 90% of net income on conservation, public education and advocacy
The RSPB is a member of BirdLife International. Find out more about the partnership
© The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654