Friday, 31 July 2015

A tiny post from Pembury

I spent the 12-26th August at Imogen and James's house in Pembury, looking after this:

and this. Apologies to the non cat-fans. I can't help but love them, although they are not the most wildlife-friendly of pets...

My pals' road is one of the dwindling number in the UK that hosts a proper breeding colony of House Martins. In fact I wandered and ran around Pembury a fair bit and didn't find House Martin nests anywhere else. I really hope the residents know how lucky they are to have these great little birds nesting on their houses. Trying for flight shots on the (very few) sunny mornings I had was good fun and a good test for the D7200.

I've raved about the little pond here before. They had another bumper batch of tadpoles this year, and also Large Red Damselflies. Also the water lilies produced a single (but magnificent) flower.

A fast-moving Comma went through one day, but butterfly action was otherwise limited to white ones, like these two.

A bit of local birdlife. I didn't manage to get any of the Buzzards that occasionally overfly the garden, but here's a House Sparrow and a Dunnock, both juveniles, and a Swift which I guess is a local-breeding adult. I wonder if it'll be the last Swift in my blog this year.

The garden Foxgloves are long finished, but they still look quite nice in seed-pod mode.

And now, more about those cats. They aren't exactly rampant killers but over the two weeks they did bring in four Common Frogs. All were very much alive and kicking, in fact one was doing breast-stroke kicks as whichever cat brought it in thoughtfully dropped it into the water bowl. They also brought in a couple of moths, which I rescued. And one other thing, which was a great surprise and the 'creature of the week'.

After spending such a long time trying to photograph a Brown Hawker at Sevenoaks the other week, it was quite a surprise to be presented with one by a smug-looking cat. The dragon, a not-quite-mature male, was quite undamaged though a little traumatised at being dumped on a kitchen floor. I picked it up and carried it upstairs, where I did a one-handed lens change, opting for the 50mm rather than the macro as a) light was awful, it was a really gloomy day and b) I figured a smaller lens would be easier to manage for one-handed photos. I took some shots indoors and some more outdoors. The dragon meanwhile alternated clambering over my hand, vibrating his wings, and just sitting still staring into space. It was wonderful to be able to examine him at such close range - a fabulous creature indeed, more so than any CGI 'real' dragon IMHO.

I couldn't persuade my new pal to fly off - to be fair it was the sort of cool grey day that most dragons would spend doing nothing anyway. So after I'd taken sufficient pics, I hung him up in a tree in the garden, well out of kitty reach. Hopefully he was safe there - it was warmer the day after so that would have enabled him to fly away.


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