An opportunity to go somewhere new had me speculatively exploring a stretch of the Medway well up river at Teston Bridge in the hope of finding some dragons, damsels and hovers.
It was a cracking bit of river with an old stone arch bridge, an active lock and series of canoeing rapids that in no way spoilt the atmosphere or bank habitats. I basically had the place to myself bar a few fisherman and dog walkers.
|A herd of young Highlands kept a slightly fringe obscured eye on me...|
The banks were some of the most florally rich I have ever seen with swathes of Hemlock Water Dropwort, Hemlock, Hogweed, Angelica, unfortunately Giant Hogweed and Balsam, Meadowsweet, Comfrey, Branched Bur-Reed, Water Mint, Water Forget-me-Not and a couple that I am having a little trouble with.
|Hemlock Water Dropwort & Wild Hop|
|A tall (c1m) sedge but not flowering yet - was wondering about False Fox Sedge?|
|And a tall square stemmed marginal that looks like a narrow leaved Common Hemp Nettle...|
Arrowhead and Yellow Water Lily skirted the margins and Banded Demoiselles and Red-eyed Damselflies battled on lace wings for the best perch and pad.
|Arrowhead & Hemlock Water Dropwort|
|Yellow Water Lily|
|Yellow Water Lily|
Azure, Blue Tailed and White-legged Damsels ranged further away from the slowly moving river. The latter were my first for many years and seemed to like flying around with their legs dangling...
I was surprised at the lack of bigger dragons and only found a couple of Ruddy Darters. Hovers were similarly scarce despite the profusion of blooms but I did see a smart yellow form Volucella bombylans and a few Episyrphus balteatus.
My first Meadow Brown and Small Skippers of the year were on the wing in the meadows where countless Honey Bees were foraging on the Red and White Clovers.
|Comma collecting nutrients from the mud|
|Creeping Buttercup & Oedemera nobilis|
|Dare I risk Muscid on Ox Eye Daisy?|
Birdwise it was unsurprisingly quiet given the heat but there were Treecreepers and Bullfinches around the car park and a family of Grey Wagtail around the weir did, as always, bring a smile...