January sun

The vixen sleeps in the morning sun under the thick hedge that borders the road and in plain sight of the kitchen window. She looks up when she hears the Sunday joggers bustle down the hill but soon settles back down. She checks our bird feeders regularly mainly for any strewn peanuts; and to date…

Shellness wader roost

The shifting headlands of cockle shells at Shellness provides shelter to a huge saltmarsh and these are some of the wildest and most natural coastal habitats in Kent since there is no sea wall to keep the tidal waters in check. At high tide, the sea almost covers the entire headland but just stops short…

The vegetarian fox

At the start of December, the weather changed from balmy to icy and the sub-zero temperatures stayed for a week. The house sparrow flock returned to the seed holder and blackbirds crossed the valley to feed on the apples. A fox, handsome in its thick winter coat, enjoyed sniffing out an abundance of strewn peanuts…

Goblin Combe

The woodland is muddy, dark and full of hart’s tongue ferns. Limestone cliffs appear behind great yews and tall oaks and ashes. Marsh tits, wrens, blackbirds and nuthatches sound out bringing life to the narrow valley where the winter sun tries hard to penetrate but rarely succeeds. Above the native woodland, plantations of beech are…

Cooling Marshes

In winter, the grazing marshes below Cooling have a wild beauty especially under a late afternoon sun that splices the broken clouds. This autumn, a large flock of some 600 lapwings sit out the day on the fields but are constantly restless and at low tide shift to the narrow strip of firm ground created…

Autumn

When the sun breaks through on a stormy day, the old hedges of thorn, ash and dying elm appear green and golden above the rich brown fallow fields. The skies over these open, chalk downs are, on some evenings, briefly dramatic before the sun drops into the dusk.

Spoonbills and sandwiches

August 30th At Shellness, the flocks of waders and waterfowl are enjoying the easy pace of the balmy summer.   Swallows move along the beach in small flocks; a wheatear forages on the shingle. There is a late summer silence at high tide mainly because the Brent geese have not arrived. Sandwich terns are roosting…

Summers up

A few images from a long hot summer that has now drifted into a damp and mellow autumn. Our local chalk grasslands are always rich in wildflowers and the diversity seems to be improving especially with a profusion of bee ochids in July. The green wheat fields turned yellow in the long summer drought; today…

Whitstable Carnival

6th August 2022 The first Saturday is August has been carnival day in Whitstable for the last 125 years. At 6pm, under a clear blue sky, the road into town from Tankerton is closed, the pavements are jammed and the procession, this year with a theme of all things piratical but with more than a…

On the Caldon Canal

A week on the canals over the Jubilee with old friends travelling at walking pace on a 60ft barge. We travelled from Scholar Green to Leek passing along the Macclesfield Canal and onto the Trent and Mersey, up through the Harecastle Tunnel before turning left at Etruria onto the Caldon Canal, leaving Stoke and her…

February

The cherry plum is in full blossom and at its best; the first shots of Spring have been fired and the dull winter colours of the hedgerows and narrow lanes are lit by the otherwise inconspicuous, small trees. So far, February has been warm and mild unlike last year when ice and snow covered the…

Salt Fleet Flats Reserve

The compensation provided by the construction of a huge container handling facility on the northern edge of the Thames Estuary included a new inlet of inter-tidal mudflats just across the river on the edge of Cooling Marshes. Salt Fleet Flats Reserve as it is called was created by building a new sea wall inland of…