Sunday, 27 July 2014

Fishers Green, Cheshunt - 3rd July, 14

Weather: Hottest day of the year, so far. Mercifully cool breeze.

Birds Total: 37
Plus: Comma, Green-veined White, Large Skipper, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, Ringlet, Small Tortoiseshell, Small White Butterflies.
Plus: Hoverflies; Mayfly; Midges; Red-tailed Bumble Bee; Scorpion Fly; Soldier Beetle.
Plus: Azure, Banded Demoiselle, Blue-tailed, Common Blue, Red-eyed Damselflies; Black-tailed Skimmer, Brown Hawker, Common Hawker, Emperor.

It was my third outing of the week and it was the hottest day of the year, so far. But mercifully a cooling breeze made it bearable.

For various reasons this was my first visit here for 2 months. Not too many people about, although plenty of dog-walkers and cyclists. The Hides were fairly empty most of the time.

On the journey down I saw a pair of Little Egrets and a lone Grey Heron, probably the same birds as yesterday.

I decided to give the Hall Marsh Scrape a miss today and proceeded directly towards the Bittern Hide. On the path adjacent to the canal I spotted a male Banded Demoiselle flying upriver. A good start! Chiffchaffs were singing away and a Comma butterfly, the first of many today, flew by. A Large Skipper flitted past as well, there were also quite a few of these today. Lots of blue damsels were about.

I reached the bridge just before Hooks Marsh and, looking out, I could see 4 Great Crested Grebes. At the feeder station there were plenty of geese on show.

Nothing to report on the way down to the Hide. It really was too hot to hang about. I noticed that the recent mixture of sun and rain had made the flora grow and it was all looking very lush and green everywhere.

From the Bittern Hide I could see only a Coot and a Moorhen family and a pair of Mute Swans. Warblers, mainly Reed, were flitting around the reeds. The feeders were nearly full and being constantly visited by Greats and Blues, plus a few Chaffinches. Then a Jay flew in and scattered everything, before flying off pretty quickly.

Out on the lake itself, there were only plenty of Mutes and Coots, Geese and Gulls, plus a smattering of Common Terns. There looked to be Gull and Tern chicks on the rafts.

I hung around for an hour, nobody coming in while I was there, before heading off towards the Grebe Hide. On the way plenty of butterflies were about, mainly Comma, Ringlet and Meadow Brown. There were a couple of Red Admirals and a few Small Tortoiseshells. I took a quick look at each of the fishermen stops but saw nothing to warrant further inspection.

More Chiffchaffs were singing on the way down. There were a couple of cyclists passing by plus one guy sat on the bench, soaking up the sun. Plenty of Jackdaws were circling over the distant farm. I couldn't see anything on the lake opposite because of the lush flora.

Scores of blue damsels were being put up as I walked past. A couple of dragonflies were flying around, looking like they were Common Hawkers, but I couldn't be sure. There were a couple of Brown Hawkers though. It was all very quiet and serene.

Nothing much else at the Weir, apart from a pair of GCGs. It was business as usual here. Just after I left I spotted another male Demo fly past. I could see a dozen-plus Canada Geese swimming against the strong current on the stream to my left.

Then I spotted a female Demo, which obligingly sat up for me, quite near, allowing a few photos. Another male flew past but did not stop, not even for the female. A little further on, by another fishermen's stop, a few more males could be seen. Unfortunately they were on the opposite side of the river and didn't venture close.

Looking out from the Grebe Hide I could see at least a dozen GCGs and a couple of humbugs. It was gratifying to see that there were quite a lot of birds out front, mainly Gadwall, Canada Geese and Coot but also a couple of Pochard. The reason became obvious a few minutes later - a yacht was further out, herding them all towards the Hide. No problem!

A Grey Heron flew over, squawking away. Directly in front of the Hide, on the bushes there were scores of blue damsels, mainly Common but there were also a couple of Red-eyed as well. A lot of coupling was going on. There was quite a lot of interaction happening plus every time the Red-eyed settled it was chased away by the Commons. All very fascinating stuff.

After lunch a GCG and a humbug swam in close, looking for some handouts. Sorry guys, I only had white bread and that's bad for you. Not long after, when they had disappointingly swum off, I headed back.

Just outside a Green-veined White flew by. More Demos were seen but again weren't close enough and even more blue damsels were about. Then a Mayfly flew by!

I could hear a Green Woodpecker yaffle and then it appeared on a tree opposite. It was quite speckled, looking like a juvenile. It climbed the tree then called a few times before flying off. A Little Egret flew past me heading towards the Weir.

I took a quick look from one of the fishermen's platforms but couldn't see anything. But, just before I left, an Emperor dragon flew past, fighting against the strong breeze. It kept being blown back but eventually it flew on.

Back in the Bittern Hide I found no change outside, but the Jay almost immediately flew back in. Climbing the tree out to my left it disappeared.

Two Magpies then attacked the feeders and it was amusing to see one of them try to get at the seeds, before falling off every time. But both managed to get at the nut feeder. Their wonderful emerald and turquoise colours were shining in the sun.

But it was hot, too hot for me and I decided to call it a day. Another lovely day out and hopefully the current sunny weather will continue.