Monday 14 June 2021

A Farm at Fobbing and Kentish Nature Walk #12 - 10th June 2021

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to visit the farm of George Young at Fobbing to seeing how he already manages his land with wildlife in mind and with a view to getting permission to look at the farm that actually lies within the Land of the Fanns project.

We met an enthusiastic ‘Farming George’ (as he goes by on Twitter) at 10am on a very warm day for a tour and chat the upshot of which is that I think he will be able to help me infiltrate the farming community of Orsett and Bulphan Fens which would be great. We talked about hedges and pigs, Koniks and goats, ponds and beavers, crops and fodder herbage.  It was quite enlightening.

There was plenty of wildlife to see with Cetti’s Warbler and Yellowhammers singing from the scrubby wet patches and plenty of other warblers in song. Two immature Red Kites drifted slowly through and we even got to see the partial solar eclipse through the broken cloud.

Red Kite

The ponds all looked superb and were occupied by countless ‘blue’ Damselflies and Broad Bodies Chasers with a few Four Spotted Chasers, Emperors, Hairy Hawker and shiny winged teneral Common Darters to add to the mix.  

Water Crowfoot

Greater Spearwort

Azure Damselfly

Celary Leaved Buttercup

George even dug around a nice fresh cowpat after introducing us to his herd of Red Poll cattle to search for the tiny Dung beetles that he has been seeing on the farm. I think that they are some sort of Aphodius species.

Aphodius species I think


We even got lucky and heard a Quail singing from deep within one of the pastures before bumping back to the farm with me sharing the front of the 4x4 with a very damp but happy Horace the black Lab.

That same evening Nicole and Jason came to visit after work with the intention of a leisurely walk around Ranscombe but the traffic foreshortened things somewhat but did not prevent a circuit starting from the Albatross Avenue.

As you would expect in the twilight, the woods were quiet and insect activity had dwindled considerably but there was still the opportunity for some phone torch botanising!  Amazing the Moule – Khan combo found me two new Orchid species for the site.  I had pondered at the lack of Twayblade here given how common it can be elsewhere but it only took them a few minutes to find a few huge spikes down near the railway and then a nice clump of Bee Orchids near the Man Orchids in a spot I have looked before!


Bee Orchid - it was very dark by now!

Given that the potential Bee Orchid in my garden has been slug munched I was most pleased to see these pink beauties.  The first Pyramidal Orchids were now out too and even the Wild Liquorice was starting to flower.

Pyramidal Orchid

Wild Liquorice

My Blue Pimpernel was all shut up for the night but my flint circle still marked the spot. They really wanted to see the Meadow Clary in flower and it did not disappoint seemingly glowing in the low light. We even found a second larger clump.   


Oooo... Blue Pimp!

First flowering Stinking Iris of the year

Meadow Clary


The same meadow was occupied by the Fallow Deer herd. I have only ever seen them in ones and twos so to have 11 wading through the long grass and buttercups was a lovely sight.  Most were melanistic and there was even a White Hart amongst them. We stayed quiet and still and they continued to feed unconcerned.

Fallow Deer


There was very little bird noise with just a few Song Thrushes, Blackbirds and a Nuthatch but it was magically peaceful and calming being out there.

A 3cm long Ground Beetle

I took us on the path back up towards the edge of the Mausoleum path so that we could have a steady downhill walk back. The clearings and rides looked great for roding Woodcock but of a night bird there was not even a hoot and only one large bat broke the skyline.

It was fully dark by the time we got back but it was a still warm and the mossies had left us alone.

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