A Breath of Fresh Air

Can one really describe a car trip as getting fresh air… I guess we opened the windows and did step out a few times, so I recon that works. The intention was a visit to the local National nature Reserve (Pegwell) but the road works is till in place and so there was no access to the carpark. Disappointed we drove to sandwich to the SBBO reserve at Restharrow. No access still, but we could drive between the dunes of the golf course and the RSPB managed farms in the hope of a few birds, butterflies and bees.

Not a huge number of birds about but three cattle egrets flew over adding a year tick and the air was full of lark song… very restorative! The work to the new scrape and hide is complete and a new disabled car park with two bays in place. This has meant work to the retaining bank and the disturbed ground is a swaying mass of grasses and poppies – glorious! There were a few butterflies and almost all were Marbled White… none of which would oblige with a photo. Otherwise some Meadow Browns, Large Skipper & Large Whites.

Disturbed ground by new parking with poppies, wildflowers and a Large Skipper

When I visited my dad in New Zealand for the first time he was in the middle of building an annexe to his house so that his mum (in her nineties) would be able to move in as she was getting frail and less able to cope by herself in her own flat. Arriving in summer I spent a few days with my shirt off shifting lumber and digging out foundations, building a tan.

On my second day, mum had just brought us cold beers and we were taking a breather. As we sat quietly a few birds appeared in the garden. Most were British imports… song thrush, blackbird and goldfinches accompanied by a ‘little brown job’ seemingly unremarkable. On seeing it dad began to suck his lips making a squeaky sound like rubbing a rubber balloon. The bird immediately reacted fluttering closer and sitting on the washing line it fanned out its white tail feathers and wiggled its backside. It was a New Zealand Fantail Rhipidura fuliginosa, which, on closer inspection had a couple of white facial stripes and a black chinstrap.

Mister & Mrs (below) House Sparrow

I was reminded of this today watching young house sparrows, fully fledged and independent but still wanting to beg food from mum and dad. As the parents neared they hunkered down and fanned out upturned tails while trembling their wings… like a miniature plain peacock.


Rant it out!
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