Natural Encounters

Photographs of wild flora and fauna l have taken whilst walking around Gazen Salts Nature Reserve, The Ramparts, along the River Stour, Sandwich Bay, and other wildlife country walks around the historic town of Sandwich and the county of Kent, where l also happen to live.

Gazen Salts Nature Reserve

The woodlands are also home to many flora species, such as primroses, celandine, dog rose, oak, ash, wild cherry, elm, field maple, wild privet, marsh marigold marshmallow, meadowsweet, black bush, yellow iris and many other exciting plants of interest.

The lake and the waterways in the Reserve are sustained by a sluice gate connected to the River Stour. 

The waters further feed and play host to a diverse range of wildlife, including species such as sticklebacks, pond skaters, diving beetles, frogs and toads, newts, kingfishers, moorhens, bats, rats, shrews, weasels, stoats, foxes, hedgehogs, moles, water voles, grass snakes, mallard, tufted, pochard and shoveler ducks, warblers, woodpeckers, blackcaps, sparrowhawks, grey squirrels, parakeets and others including many butterfly species too.

I use the following cameras and lenses; Canon IXUS 185 8 x Optical Zoom, Canon EOS 700D, 18-55mm Lens, 75-300mm Zoom Lens and extension tubes for macro photography.

Natural Encounters Season 2
Gallery 2

We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
Native American proverb

Wildlife Snippets of Interest!


Hawthorn is both a tree and a hedgerow shrub and can be found in several locations as it can grow anywhere due to its very hardy undemanding nature. It is most commonly planted in hedgerows to act as a barrier against entry and exit from fields, especially from farm animals. It grows well in partial shade and full sun but prefers well-drained soils.

You can make a hawthorn tea from the leaves after being boiled for fifteen minutes and eat the berries known as haws. They are similar to apples, just a little drier, although they are not as palatable as the apple and are better once cooked. Haws has also been used in countryside winemaking and used by apothecaries for hundreds of years as a herbal remedy.

Hawthorn starts to stir in April, flowering in May and providing an incredible bounty for bees and bumblebees alike. The haws turn bright red by October, providing an autumn fruit for birds and small animals.

Gallery Above, Hawthorn, Hybrid Mallard Runner Ducks, Common Periwinkle, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch and European Robin.

Wildlife Snippets of Interest!

Eastern Grey Squirrel

The Eastern Grey Squirrel is also known as simply the Grey Squirrel. This species mostly has grey fur and, on occasion, reddish buff face and leg patches. The tail is long and bushy and sometimes transparent in appearance due to the finery. The tail aids the species in balance and climbing.

Their diet is mainly seeds, nuts, and acorns that will be foraged for and collected in the autumn season and buried in the ground for winter food consumption when food is scarcer. It is not unknown that the species include bird eggs, flowers, pine cones, buds, and berries in their diet.

Female squirrels may produce up to two litters per year if food is readily available, with each nest containing 3 – 4 pups.

Grey squirrels are gregarious and curious species with other species, including humans. They create ‘dreys’, the name for their nests, out of twigs and leaf matter. Squirrels will inhabit large holes in trees for their dreys, but also they can be seen in the forks on a tree trunk.

When you see squirrels chasing each other around a tree, this is not always a sign of play or courting but might be a territory dispute or argument. The species are not highly territorial but do share their living space with other species, and conflicts can occur, especially if food sources are low.

Gallery above, Spanish Bluebell, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Eastern Grey Squirrel, Magpie, Mallard Duck and Red Maple.

Please feel free to visit the Natural Encounters Gallery Directory.

Published by The Autistic Composter

Howdy Folks, Earthly Comforts is a broad niche wildlife journaling scrapbook focusing on the countryside, wildlife biodiversity and environmental conservation, flora and fauna volunteering projects, gardening, composting and vermiculture, also known as ‘worm farming and photography too.

9 thoughts on “Natural Encounters

  1. Hey, Rory! Thank you for yet another wonderful post! I found it most enjoyable!

    My Grandmother used to make the most wonderful jelly out of Haws. It was most delicious on her homemade biscuits. (What I think you would call shortbread there.??) I wonder if the bushes here are native to the States, or were brought over by English settlers? 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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