May 252011

Our usual Wednesday walk took us to Lullingstone today in the hope of a change of scenery, perhaps some different plants/flowers and dragon or damselflies.  

If you haven’t been to Lullingstone for a while, the first change is the car park where the area allotted has been increased and a new gravel surface has been laid.   In addition new trees have been planted and it appears that the meadow area leading up the hill in front of the centre has been seeded with ox-eye daisy as the whole field was full of them.   [It may of course be that visiting earlier this year the wider range of meadow flowers are not properly out yet – only time will tell]

Ox-eye Daisy Meadow at Lullingstone

The first avian identification were parakeets with a very noisy pair flying between the trees around the car park.   As we moved along the bridle path along the side of the meadow we noticed blue tit feeding chicks, meadow pipit and yellowhammer in virtually the same place as Malcolm and Sally had spotted in previous years.   Grizzled skipper, small heath, common blue, peacock and large white were all seen as we investigated various plants for evidence of galls.   A slow walk up the hill and through the woodland resulted in the addition of wood pigeon, blackbird, robin, blackcap, chaffinch and whitethroat.   At one stage our attention was taken by a very straight pine which was in fact a disguised mobile telephone aerial.   Shame it wasn’t Oak-shaped though {guess who!}

As we picnicked chiffchaff sang and we could also hear the low coo-ing of stock dove, we also saw a female broad-bodied chaser, and red admiral.   Jackdaw, wren, great-spotted woodpecker and song thrush were seen as we made our way to the Orchid Bank. 

The bank was rather a disappointment from an orchid point of view – again perhaps we were too late, but we only two rather weak looking specimen.   Moving towards the River Darenth we saw large skipper, banded demoiselle, blue-tailed damselfly, azure damselfly.   Swift and house martin flew overhead whilst a moorhen made it’s way upstream.   A pair of mallard fed in the shallows.   As we sat by the river we noticed mayfly emerging and flying up to rest on the overhanging branches, and in an old knobbly tree a chaffinch family were feeding young.