Early Summer Walk – British Birding


One of the pleasures of being back in UK in late Spring/early Summer is the abundance of wildlife, wildflowers and fresh foliage all around and walking in the area I grew up in brings back a lot of memories of when I used to go on Sunday morning strolls with my father. A few days ago I took a nice walk in sunny weather along the Darent Valley near Dartford in Kent which used to be my “local patch” when I was much younger and spent hours photographing wildlife of all sorts; insects, flowers and birds. With fine weather there were many birds singing, which made them relatively approachable and a huge abundance of damselflies indicated a major emergence of them in the few days previous. Take a look at some of the photos I got on my walk.


This Common Whitethroat was really aggressively defending his territory, singing constantly from exposed perches and allowed me to get very close; with the sun behind me I was able to get lots of very pleasing photos similar to the one above. This species is one of the commonest summer visitors to the area I come from.


When I was a child Song Thrush was a garden bird with a regular anvil on the steps of the house. It has been years since they disappeared and here they are not particularly common birds having retreated to the shady areas along the river Darent. This one was singing for a long time from high up in a tree with phrases of the call of Ring-necked Parakeet used as the opening of the Song Thrush’s song. There are lots of Ring-necked Parakeets in this area so it is no surprise that this Song Thrush was familiar with them but I have not noticed mimicry in Song Thrush song before.


The local Corn Bunting population seems pretty stable here and having tried many times over the last few weeks to get good photos I finally managed to get close to this species with the light in my favour, so many times I had been photographing them in grey skies or back-lit conditions so it was good to get this one on a sunny day.


These poppies in a wheat field were very photogenic but with a breeze blowing I ended up taking about 30 photos before getting one that looked ok.


When I got close to the River Darent I came across very large numbers of these Banded Demoiselles in the vegetation alongside the stream. In large numbers and perfect light they made great subjects for photos and I spent a long time with them.


Of course being a sunny day in early June it was also a good day for butterflies with this Small Heath alongside the damselflies as well as Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Red Admiral, Small White, Comma, Gatekeeper and Speckled Wood all seen on my walk.




There were also lots of these lovely little damselflies in flight too. I know very little about UK damselflies/dragonflies but I think these are Common Blue Damselflies but if anyone knows any different please let me know. They are so slim that it was tricky to get the camera to focus properly on them but this pair together gave me a slightly larger subject to focus on.


This is the area which was so full of damselflies and butterflies and you can easily see why, it is covered in wild flowers. It is just a shame that scenes like this are not as common as they used to be but where they do occur there is loads of wildlife, lovely on a sunny day.

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