Aug 302021

If you are a fan of the TV programme “Red Dwarf” then you will understand that I feel a bit like Kryten trying to say “Sm…… He…….”. Anyway the first birds that we saw on our group trip to Sevenoaks were two Egy……Goo……. But as it was so good I thought I would start this blog post with this photograph. Although the reserve is usually known as a good place to see wildfowl there were few on show today. But, as always we managed to see or hear a good range of other birds.


A kingfisher, although distant, put on a good show as it darted across the main lake before making a spectacular plunge for a fish. It briefly perched in a tree, perhaps pondering how it had failed to catch anything. Despite the lack of sunshine, damselflies and dragonflies were on the wing and quite a number of species were seen. Lots of Common Blue Damselflies, Willow Emerald, Migrant Hawker, Southern Hawker, Common and Ruddy Darter and Brown Hawkers were flying.


This large hoverfly Volucella zonaria also attracted out attention. It is a hornet “mimic” but quite harmless to us. It is a fairly recent arrival in this country (1940s) and is now very common in our area – particularly in gardens where it likes to feed on flowers. It is probably a good pollinator. The female lays her eggs in the nests of wasp and hornets.




However the best find of the day I have kept until last. Quite a few of the group stayed on at the reserve after lunch and we went for a short walk along one of the paths that we had not visited in the morning. The River Darent is well known for large populations of Banded Demoiselles and we have often seen them on our trips to this  reserve and also Lullingstone Country Park. But today, as we walked across a small bridge over the Darent,  Ann noticed some male Beautiful Demoiselles dancing over the stream. The blue iridescence on the wings is much more extensive in this species compared to the male Banded Demoiselle. I admit to being a little uncertain of the identification at the time. A bit of research at home and confirmation from the Kent iRecord verifier gave me my first sighting of Beautiful Demoiselle in Kent! It is absent from much of Kent and there are only a few known locations for this species on the Darent. Well spotted Ann!

Thanks to Alison, Sue and Terry for the photographs.


 Posted by on 30 August 2021 at 12:55 pm

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