A day in the North Downs, Kent, 24 May 2015

On our way down to Folkestone to catch the chunnel to France we engineered an extra day to visit a few sites in the lovely North Downs in Kent. The main aim was to see some orchids I'd not seen for a number of years.

First port of call was Denge Wood which contains the small reserve of Bonsai Bank. Here there were hundreds of superb Lady Orchids (far more than I ever saw here in the past) a few 'going over' Early Purple Orchids, numerous Common Twayblade and probably best of all a small handful of Duke of Burgundys showing very nicely.

Next up was a little woodland reserve of Yocklett's Bank where my target Fly Orchids were surprisingly easily found right by the path. I counted c20 spikes.

Before the rain set in we had time to visit Park Gate Down where despite there being none in the spot I remember from the past we eventually found c40 Monkey Orchid plants, mostly in the 2nd meadow. Plenty of Early Purple Orchids and Common Twayblades here too.

Early orchids and stuff, 13 May 2015

A couple of quick trips out this week to see some local(ish) orchids. The Early Purple Orchids are putting on a fine display amongst the Bluebells in Ashwellthorpe Wood with plenty of colour variation. Try as I might I couldn't find a white one like last year though! While wandering these lovely woods I also encountered a Hairy-footed Flower Bee (a new one for me) while there was also Garden Bumblebee, a few Red-tailed Bumblebees and Green-veined White, Speckled Wood and Orange Tip.

A few days ago I got a tip off about a Suffolk site for Man Orchid so today saw me there. Very pleasingly there were at least 40 spikes and some really robust ones too. I'd not seen this species for a number of years and only once before in East Anglia.

Early Purple Orchid

Early Purple Orchid

Early Purple Orchid

Hairy-footed Flower Bee

Garden Bumblebee

Green-veined White

Man Orchid

Man Orchid 

Citril Finch dirty twitch, 10 May 2015

Having spent the majority of the day down at Bawdsey doing 'alternative' things in underground bunkers I got home at 16.30 and was out of the house again at 17.00! Driving like a nutter up to Burnham Overy, I clocked up a Great White Egret flying south over the A1067 just west of Lenwade (toward the Wensum Valley), some feat at c80mph!

I used to walk quite legally along Bone's Drift in the past but it was neds must tonight so I ignored the 'private keep out' signs and legged it as fast as I could to the est end of Holkham Meals. Upon arrival a kind soul offered me his scope and I'd nailed the male Citril Finch within seconds of arrival! It fed unobtrusively on seeds on a sandy patch between brambles and by moving above it I managed to snap off a few records shots. This constitutes Norfolk's 1st and Britains 2nd Citril Finch.

Otherwise it was just plenty of singing Willow Warblers, Garden Warbler plus several Common Buzzards and the first Swifts down at Bawdsey.