Lade - Hot, dry and sunny, NE 2 - On my last visit to the local patch I noticed that the Canadian Pond Weed (Eloden canadensis) was beginning to flower on the surface of the lakes. It is an invasive species that last flowered here five years ago, and when it did back then the results were spectacular with a huge influx of water birds attracted to feed on the floating matting, that presumably supported a great deal of freshwater invertebrates and fish trapped in the weed. Already, there was a noticeable increase in Great Crested and Little Grebes, Coots, Mallards, Tufted Ducks and post-breeding Pochards taking advantage of this rich food source. A Hobby hawking insects behind north lake and a Common Sandpiper over the water were the only other noteworthy birds beside the expected breeders. A butterfly transect along the main footpath from the bridge to Kerton Road quarry, in near perfect weather conditions, produced a very low count: Common Blue 4, Small Heath 2, Small Copper 2, Small Skipper 1, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Red Admiral 1. A couple of Pyramidal Orchids were also noted along the route in the parched, crisp-brown ground vegetation. The garden moth trap continues to lure in a few goodies with Delicate and Miller yesterday morning.
King Wood - Yesterday evening along with Ted and Chris P we headed over to Challock for a stroll around the forest in fine, still weather conditions. It had been four years since our last visit and much had changed with most of the southern section of the wood maturing fast and not particularly suitable for our quarry - Nightjars. However, we did hear a `churring` bird towards the northern part of the forest, while back at the car park two birds performed close to the road over a sweet chestnut plantation just after 2130hrs. Also noted during our walk through the trees were several calling Tawny Owls, two Common Buzzards, singing Treecreeper and Firecrest, a Redpoll over and several bats flying along the rides.