May 252013

A cold and grey morning’s walk at Lullingstone this week certainly added to my “heard” list rather than species seen!   There weren’t even any butterflies or many flowers to enjoy with such a delayed early summer.

Crosswort was good to see, along with the twisted bark on the trunk of Sweet Chestnut trees.

Henry VIII Oak

Henry VIII Oak

Malcolm showed us an ancient oak tree which had been pollarded, it is believed to be around 600 years old.   These ancient trees is something for which Lullingstone is famous – one of them is believed to have been a sapling that survived the browsing deer in the woodland at the time of  Henry VIII.

Another delight was watching Swifts mating on the wing – I had only seen this a few times before this year, but I have obviously been luckier (or more observant!) this year with a least a dozen sightings over the last week.

House Martin and Swallow were feeding over the fields and lake near Lullingstone Castle, and although we heard several Whitethroat this morning, Blackcap were surprisingly quiet, although as I walked ahead of the group at one stage I found a singing male perched on some dead wood.   Willow Warbler serenaded part of our woodland walk, but it appeared to be only one bird.

Rough Hawksbeard (Crepis biennis) was of particular interest to Malcolm as it is home to a gall later in the year.

BluebellsIn the afternoon, we moved off to Horton Kirby to recce our walk the next day with the local Rainbows group, we did find a Chiffchaff nest, and had a Sparrowhawk circling overhead.


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