Saturday was a grand tour of some of Kent’s finest places. The day was bright and breezy and confirmed that May, the month of many weathers, is the best month of the year for wildlife (and possibly gardens).
We checked the plant species in the cottage garden where the colours are always burning hot to provide inspiration for our currently lukewarm border. On a Saturday morning, the place is crowded but still inspiring, especially the huge Banksiae lutea rose hanging off the castle wall and wisteria in its prime.
The swathe of green-winged orchids are consumed by creeping buttercups and meadow foxtails as the meadow turns from spring to summer.
At Denge Woods, the bird song was familiar from the greening forest but much else was not; we found a colony of Duke of Burgundy butterflies at the Warren as well as early purple orchids. A honey buzzard flew past low over the trees looking very different from a common buzzard with its long tail and slender wings.
The early evening at Stodmarsh had high flying hobbies, bearded tits, water rail squealing, a pair of marsh harriers with a nest in the reeds and best of all a booming bittern that flew over just quickly enough to avoid the cameras. A Cetti’s warbler appeared briefly from the scrub but we could not find a nightingale.