Thursday 12 May 2022

Kentish Nature Walks #29 - Holborough Marshes 12th May 2022

A quick post-breakfast pop down the road to have a look at Holborough Marshes where I saw the Early Marsh Orchids last year.  I was almost too late before but too early this time with nothing but a hybrid leaf rosette with Common Spotted – or so I was told by the only other person I saw all morning!

An interesting Orchid rosette

It was not a wasted excursion by any means and started with a fine fluffy Fox that appeared in front of me twice in as many minutes. I actually assumed they were different animals but seemingly not.


I followed the crystal clear stream down towards the Medway to the spot where we stood for that pesky Nighthawk two autumns ago. The vegetation was verdant and warming in the mid-morning sunshine and was full of life with plenty of hunting Azure Damseflies and the odd scarlet and green Large Red.  I was surprised to not see anything larger.

Azure Damselfly

Large Red Damselfly

Large Red Damselfly


A fine Harts Tongue Fern pushing through

Starwort I think

Pond Sedge

Amazingly tall Garlic Mustard plants

Brimstones, Small and Green-veined Whites, Peacocks and a couple of immaculate Red Admirals scooted around and Speckled Woods danced in the shadows. There were a few flies including a bristly Tachinid but it was too far for a photo but there were a few Epistrophe eligans hovering below the Sallow overhangs.

Green-veined Whites


Scorpion-flies patrolled the Nettles and I found a single Araniella spider curled under a leaf along with a 14-Spot and 7-spot Ladybird and loads of tiny Dark Bush Cricketlets. 

14-spot Ladybird

 Dark Bush Cricketlet

Arianella sp


A Cuckoo was giving it large but stayed just out of view and I was very surprised not to encounter any Nightingales given the proximity of New Hythe but there were plenty of songsters to compensate with Blackcaps, Whitethroats, Song Thrushes, Reed and Cetti’s Warblers and Reed Buntings but the star voice went to the Garden Warbler, three of which were merrily bubbling away deep in cover.

It was high tide down on the river and there was a little breeze picking up so I dropped back into the scrub and immediately heard a male Turtle Dove purring from just a few yards away. The habitat is perfect but I suppose I just assume nowadays that there simply won't be any so this one was a joy to hear.  He even came out and did a little display circle before disappearing into the back of an Oak.  In all those 2000 miles I walked in 2020 in and around the Medway I never got a sniff of this enigmatic species but Holborough was literally a quarter of a mile beyond the furthest point I even walked south from home – Peters Village bridge so perhaps they were here all along.

I retraced my steps alongside the stream and ventured into the next meadow where a bank of Creeping Buttercups distracted me for the next 40 minutes and some quality Hoverating ensued.

In that time I logged:

Myathropa florea

Epistrophe eligans

Sphaerophoria sp – but possibly not S scripta

Melanostoma scalare

Platycheirus albimanus

Platycheirus rosarum – a new species for me

Parhelophilus sp – pesky things

Helophilus pendulus

Cheilosia variabilis

Cheilosia impressa

Cheilosia sp – a smaller species without the yellowy wing bases

Tropidia scita

Episyrphus balteatus

Eristalinus sepulchralis

Helophilus pendulus

Helophilus pendulus

Parhelophilus sp

Parhelophilus sp

Cheilosia variabilis - the Vulcan Bomber of the Hoverfly world

Cheilosia variabilis

Cheilosia impressa

Tropidia scita - with work out thighs

Eristalinus sepulchralis

Eristalinus sepulchralis

Platycheirus rosarum - at least six seen

Epistrophe eligans

male Sphaerophoria sp - wings feel level with the abdomen tip 

There were plenty of other inverts too with a few more flies, several Nomada flava and Nomada goodeniana, a large Andrena, Bombus pascuorum and several nice spiders with richly coloured Pisaura mirabilis, several unidentified Tetragnatha, a very stripy Wolf and a tiny Misumena vatia.

f Nomada flava

m Nomada flava

Graophomya maculata

Sepsisdae sp

Andrena bee - could it be A nitida? Help please!

Pisaura mirabilis

Pardosa prativaga - A stripy Wolf

Misumena vatia

Darkening clouds were now doing their best to obliterate the blue so I headed for home.

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