Occasionally my daughter deigns to browse my blog, but as she hates snakes I have to set up a warning in the title.... just a secret code that nobody else will notice.........
So first, some pretty pics of an early Green Hairstreak butterfly that was found for me today by that master of bushcraft, Fred the Green Man of Bromley.
I'd hoped to see this butterfly as this spring weather has been so glorious, and Fred duly found this one flying uncertainly low across the downland sward. Presumably it had only emerged minutes before, and looked beautifully pristine.
Each time I see this species, I can't believe it's a native of Britain - it's like seeing a hummingbird!
Anyway, back to the snakes. Fred is an inveterate snake-tracker and was soon pointing out adders warming themselves in the early morning sun.
Each one was a male, as they emerge from hibernation earlier than the females, slough their skin and prepare for the rigours of conflict, courtship and mating.
Fred found 9 in all, mostly out in the open although one had settled himself under a piece of corrugated iron to poach quietly.
As the day warmed up (to an impressive 22 degrees) the snakes snuck off, as did I. We had counted five species of butterfly and I dismissed another fluttering around the hedgerow as a Large White - Fred is made of sterner stuff and tracked it, recognising the movement of a Brimstone, seeking buckthorn.
The evening drive home was enlivened by an Osprey flying over the M20 towards Eastwell Manor lake, and three Common Buzzards circling over Postling Wood. I'll recognise this one if I see it again, with its tell-tale missing feathers.