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...|
|View from the lock|
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
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
|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...
|Grey Wagtail |
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