Saturday 25 March 2023

Kentish Nature Walks #68 - Leybourne Lakes 25th March 2023

Everyone has spent this week, twitching, bumping into or finding Alpine Swifts or at least wishing that they were.  They are one my favourite birds from any Med visit and I know that I will be seeing them at the end of April in Lesvos but when one is just eight miles from my house even I am tempted to go for a look.  The traffic yesterday was grim around here and it suggested a 40 minute journey to get there so I waited till this morning and pottered down there before breakfast to watch this master of the air hanging on a wall of a some flats under a gutter across the road from the famous Larkfield Tesco of Golden Winged Warbler fame.

It sat there and occasionally looked around at the seven blokes looking suspicious in a house estate before doing the decent thing just before 7am and taking to the wing and dropping down to just a few feet off the ground before hurtling off over the lakes.  Even those initial few seconds were magical.

Rich Bonser managed to get it when it's head turned round...

It was soon re-found hawking in the distance before disappearing. Barry, Rich and I headed up the Brooklands end for a scout round and Barry’s hunch proved correct and he picked it up within just a few minutes.  Much closer views were had initially against a blue sky as it looped in vast circuits overhead.  

And one from Barry Wright as it was much better than mine

Satiated by a pre-Lesvos Alp encounter I headed for home adding Kingfishers, Chiffchaffs and Blackcap on the way.  Barry W went on to find another on the Darenth Lakes complex to the west… good patch working skills.

Back home in the garden a few more spring flowers were blooming  but there were no insects whatsoever.

pale Lesser Celandine  

Lesser Celandine  

My solitary Early Purple Orchid is looking good!

Sweet Violet 


Marsh Marigold

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