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 5

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. —Lao Tzu

Musical Score – Be Still

Wildlife Snippets of Interest!

Blue Bugle

Ajuga reptans are also known as bugle, bugleherb, bugleweed and common bugle. Reptans in Latin come from repto, which means creeping.

Blue Bugle is a perennial and covers the grounds in Gazen Salts Nature Reserve where l volunteer, which isn’t that unusual as this wildflower is often found in woodlands and shaded moist environments. I have seen it growing locally in the town of Sandwich’s gardens.

It is quite a lovely plant to add to a wildlife garden or meadow and can be used in shaded but fertile soils to act as carpeting ground cover. Be mindful when planting that it can be invasive.

Bugle flowers between April to July and can grow to a height of just over 20 cm. It is favoured by many insects ranging from moths and butterflies to bumblebees and hoverflies.

Gallery Above, Eastern Grey Squirrel foraging sequence, Blue Bugle, Nesting Moorhen, Red Campion and Sunrise in Sandwich farmlands.

Wildlife Snippets of Interest!


Alexanders is the common name for Smyrnium olusatrum, and it is an edible plant that grows abundantly or invasively around these parts of coastal Kent. It is best seen between April to June. The plant, also known as horse parsley, can be eaten.

It is known as Alexanders, Black Lovage, Horse Parsley, and Wild Celery.

It is a tall biennial plant that towers above other plants it companions with and measures between three to five-foot. It is a very leggy or stemmy shiny green plant with light yellowish green flower clusters that smell like celery.

It is sometimes confused with Keck or Cow Parsley. Foragers favour this ancient food as they use it in raw and cooked form, and it can be added to soups and broths.

The Latin Smyrnium olusatrum means parsley of Alexander.

Bees and other pollinators love it.

Gallery Above, Common Sheep – Lambs and Ewes, Marsh Grass, Alexanders, Dandelion and Blossom.

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.

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