A flock of 13 swifts was seen dashing silently over the river on July 13th. This species is in decline, markedly so in the Canterbury area, and perhaps gone for ever are the days when you could expect to see posses of them careening up and down many of the city’s streets.

Two green woodpeckers glimpsed on July 4th were probably juveniles, it’s not known whether they were reared on Hambrook. A sky-blue half eggshell on the ground was, however, fairly convincing evidence of starlings having bred successfully here.

Some scattered pale flax flowers have been found for the first time. It’s a rather slight plant, thin-stemmed and narrow-leaved, and hard to see amongst the grass unless given away by its pale blue bell-like flower. As quite a scarce plant in Kent, and normally found on dry ground, it seems rather out of place at Hambrook, so again we wonder if it was imported with spoil to backfill the gravel pits, or deliberately introduced by the previous owners.

Simon Pettman has spent a great deal of time recently photographing damselflies and dragonflies on the marshes, in the process establishing the presence of two new species – the four-spotted chaser and Norfolk hawker. Until about ten years ago it was, as the name suggests, found around the Norfolk Broads. But it has now spread throughout the south east, for reasons unknown, as far as the Isle of Wight. Its brown colouration isn’t distinctive, but those green eyes are, as is the pale, elongated triangle at the top of the abdomen (not visible in the photo).