Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Kentish birds

A Sandwich tern looks to me like a size four bird with size six wings; yet somehow this surfeit of wing seems only to add to its rakish elegance. Today a dozen terns flapped their strappy silvery wings past Kelling Water Meadow, their nuptial caps flawlessly black so early in the season, and the tips of their bills minutely lemon.

As I walked to the meadow a holly blue, of one colour with today’s unexpected sky, danced around the ivies in the hedge. Swallows flew in from the sea as I watched and a Mediterranean gull gave one quiet call, enough for me to pick its perfect persil wings from the mob of black-heads here.

Inland a crisp comma – among my favourite British butterflies – basked on a post. Pale primroses flowered by a fishing pond and early bluebells peeked into flower. On a flashing yellow stand of European gorse a portly stonechat puffed his chest and after he flew a Dartford warbler took his place: cocked tail, maroon breast, slate back and proud red eye.

Blackadder: Baldrick, go to the kitchen and make me something quick and simple to eat, would you? Two slices of bread with something in between.

Baldrick: What, like Gerald Lord Sandwich had the other day?

Blackadder: Yes, a few rounds of Geralds.

Richard Curtis and Ben Elton
Blackadder the Third: Ink and Incapability

New this afternoon


Sandwich tern
Sterna sandvicensis
Dartford warbler
Sylvia undata
2012 Totals
Mammals: 55
Birds: 441
Reptiles: 12
Amphibians: 5
Fish: 3


  1. Brings back very fond memories of tern impressions Nick!