February light

In early February, the cherry plum throws out the first blossom in random bursts of dazzling white along the dark lanes. At Bough Beech in late February, a pair of Egyptian geese have a brood of young goslings that are paraded along the edge of the concrete dam. Garden birds are foraging intently at the…

Autumn Arrivals at Bough Beech

The woodland-fringed wetland north of the causeway is drained down by the end of the long dry summer and migrating waders feed in the shallows.  Green sandpipers are expected, a wayward black-tailed godwit less so.  The best is a grey phalarope, which is in winter plumage with elegant steel-grey feathers that appear at a distance…

West Kent

A male barn owl is hunting through to mid-morning over a rough pasture field near Bough Beech reservoir. The bird keeps up an effortless round low over the ground on elegant long wings with an occasional sudden but fruitless stoop into the sward. Then a brief stop on a branch of one of the huge…

Early Spring Days

At the bottom of the slope in Hilly Wood, the cyclamen-flowered daffodils are specks of mustard yellow above avocado green leaves; the carpet spreads between the bare, silver birch coppice under a dull pearl sky. Below, the streamside alders are knobbly, like varicosed legs, and two trunks enjoy a prolonged, puckered kiss. In the pale sunshine at Bough Beech,…

Mad March Weather

Sunday 5th March Bough Beech reservoir is blown by a westerly that brings unstoppable, grey stacks of white-frosted cloud across the bright sky. The wind strengthens before a sharp storm kills the light and drenches everything. Small dinghies at the far end of the water run for cover and birdwatchers on the narrow causeway to…

Bough Beech in Late April

Bough Beech reservoir sits beneath the woodland that cloaks the North Downs. In late April, the long expanse of bright water is hardly stirred by a cold breeze. The south end of the reservoir is given over to sailing and the flotilla of dinghies, lit brilliant white in the sun, runs back and forth.  The northern end is…

Bough Beech Reservoir’s Autumn Colours

The day is bright; clouds build in thick lines from the southwest and a fresh breeze blows over the bright water but these never quite overcome the warming autumn sun. Bough Beech Reservoir is observed from the low causeway with its gently shelving banks of concrete, softened over the decades by a spreading, soft carpet…