Whitstable perspectives

The tide is well out but running in; beyond the stony beach below the town are the vast ranks of exposed trestles on which bags of oysters are laid or strung. The scale of production is industrial and locally contentious with a planning inquiry shortly set to adjudicate on the fate on the scale of…

October at Oare

A pale clouded yellow dances in the breeze on the sea wall and after many attempts finally settles in the couch grass, small whites are also on the move, nectaring on the last sow thistles. The clear autumn skies and gentle warmth put the wintering flocks of godwits and redshanks at ease; there is no…

Scabious and ivy

As the autumn equinox arrives, the downs are browning and the last flowers support the last insects. The slope at Fackenden is now thick with summer growth; the marjoram and other summer flowers create dense blankets of green growth with a few flowers; the autumn gentian has gone over and only the devil’s bit scabious…

Painted lady

A butterfly lands on the gravel path in Farningham wood and folds its wings; it is unrecognisable. Neither a wall brown nor a grayling both of which nearly always fold up, just a perplexing something in between; the colours are subtle and beautiful and it turns out to be a painted lady doing what it…

Summer shades

Sometimes there is no story, no theme to wrap some pictures around, just the rich sights of late summer to enjoy. Bright sun against a dark thundercloud, flowers in morning light, the appearance of the last swifts in the sky and the effervescent and colourful insects; even the irritating paparazzi, the clegs and mosquitoes, and…

Bees, spiders and monkeys

A hot day on the Folkestone Downs and the late spider orchids are up on the edge of the grassland; they are confined to a small fenced area just above the footpath, presumably to stop them being trampled by livestock or passers-by inadvertently squashing them while admiring the view. The spiders are rare in the…

Denge Woods: The Warren

The Warren is cleared of scrub with a handful of retained trees, and encompassed by ancient beech, oak and sweet chestnut woodland. There is a diverse carpet of primrose, vetches, trefoils, salad burnet, speedwells and orchids, adorned with day-flying moths and butterflies; duke of burgundy fritillaries, dingy skippers, green hairstreaks, brimstones, red admirals and burnet…

Faces of February

A month of extremes; a mild start followed by a week of freezing air from the north east and snow-frozen ground that disappears as quickly as it arrives and is quickly forgotten as the land is brought alive by spring-like temperatures and the first butterflies are on the wing. In the freeze, the small birds…

Mid winter sun

January is dark and dismal; on rare days the sun shines and the coastline is transformed by a palette of powder blue, dark purples and gravel browns. At Shellness, the sea is calm and the views distant, but the tide is out on the full and the geese, waders and gulls dispersed and quiet.