After breakfast , I set off for Cowden Pound , a KWT site near Edenbridge , to meet up with fellow Kent Reptile and Amphibian Group members , on a visit . The weather was not 'reptile friendly' to begin with , but things did improve . We were lead by Terry , the Warden , and although refugia are laid around the site , only two Grass Snakes were found beneath them . So the interest turned to plants , butterflies and birds . One of the first plants found was Common Spotted Orchid , and a flowering specimen , my first of the year was found . At the bottom of the site , where a small stream threaded it's way through , many biting insects were found . Also found were a pair of Crane-flies-Tipula majus , which will hopefully satisfy certain readers . The female , which I think is the one on the left , had an abdomen that was about 2/3cm. long , quite a good sized insect . Might as well get them out of the way at the same time , two Leaf Beetles-Donacia vulgaris , were found in a compromising position as well . Plants played their part in an interesting morning as well , none more so than Yellow Pimpernel and Germander Speedwell . The Speedwell is the blue one Warren . On one of the grazed paddocks on the far side of the valley , we were surprised to come across Lousewort-Pedicularis sylvatica , not rare , but not common either , and in good numbers . On all grassy areas , Bugle was found , and in some areas the Lousewort and Bugle stood side by side , just asking for a photograph . In one small area , a pink specimens of Bugle were found . I have found white specimens before at Trosley Country Park , but this was another first for me . As we got to the boundary of the site , we across a dark mound , low to the ground , in the distance . As we approached , the mound moved , and it became apparent that it was animals . At a distance , both Roe and Fallow Deer were put up as possibilities , and the concensus settled on Fallow , and when the five animals finally moved off , the identification was confirmed . On the plant front , another unusual one found was Thyme-leaved Speedwell , a plant with a tiny flower . On the open grassland , I expected to find a few butterflies , but with the cloud cover and cool temperature , they were few and far between . We did record several Small Heaths , a year first for me . Also recorded , three Grizzled Skippers , one rather unusually marked , I thought at first it was a moth , until I saw it's clubbed antennae , and two Dingy Skippers . In the wetter and woodland areas , Speckled Wood and Orange Tip were also recorded . One day flying moth was also recorded , that being the aptly named Mother Shipton , alleged to show the profile of a witch on the forewing . In the small stream that runs in the bottom of the valley , a new insect to me , Water Cricket-Velia caprai , was found . Not a good shot , but it just would not keep still . Another first for me was Water Figwort-Scrophularia auriculata . I see the ordinary Figwort regularly , but not this one , the main differences being the lack of the purply hue and the rounded leaves , rather than pointed . As we headed to the stile to take us out of the site , we came across a spectacular Ash tree , covered with the algaeTrentepohlia , and a lichen of some dimension as well .
We were treated to birdsong all the way around the site , with Blackcap Chiffchaff and Great Tit being the most prominent . We did see a Common Buzzard circling over when we arrived , and a reminder of it's presence was found on a tree near the style . It was the remains of a rabbit , that had been hung from a branch , to facilitate easy dining , probably by a Common Buzzard , but reminded me of the practice of the Butcher Bird , the Shrike .
Won't be around tomorrow , family 90 th. birthday party , you see Warren , there are people older than you .