Birds Total: 44
Plus: Comma, Gatekeeper, Green-veined White, Large Skipper, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, Ringlet, Small Skipper, Small White Butterflies. Moths.
Plus: 7-spot Ladybird; Hoverflies; Midges; Red-tailed Bumble Bee; Soldier Beetle; Thick-kneed Flower Beetle.
Plus: Banded Demoiselle, Blue-tailed, Common Blue, Red-eyed Damselflies; Brown Hawker, Common Darter, Southern Hawker, Emperor dragonflies.
Another warm day was forecast today, but with the threat of lots of clouds from late morning. Which is why I arrived at the Reserve around 7.30. In the event it was very sunny and warm all day.
The train was predictably packed and so I didn't see much on the way down. On the way to the Teal Hide, looking out over Friday Lake I spooked a Grey Heron, which was fishing only a few feet away from me. I should've gone to SpecSavers!
|Hoverfly Xanthogramma pedissequum|
The sun was shining directly into my face and it was quite warm already. Meadow Brown butterflies were taking advantage and were flying around in front of the Hide. Then an immature Common Darter flew up close and landed on a tall stem just in front of me.
|A rather tatty looking Large Skipper.|
A couple of Sedge Warblers were chasing each other around the bushes as I walked by, completely oblivious to me. Wrens and Dunnocks were flitting about as well while a Greenfinch was sounding off somewhere in the undergrowth.
Then I spotted the first Great Crested Grebes of the day on one of the lagoons, a family of 6. A pair of Common Terns flew over uttering their harsh calls. A lone Goldfinch then flew by, bubbling away. But, other than that, it was strangely quiet. There weren't even very many people about, just the usual dog-walkers.
More GCG families were seen just as I walked over the bridge. The Humbugs were now growing into juveniles. Then a Swallow flew over, but strangely just the one. I moved on, past the feeding area by Hooks Marsh Lake, where there were the usual geese and mutes swimming about, patiently waiting for handouts. Just before I reached the Bittern Hide another family of GCGs swam by, this time with 4 humbugs. Then a cute little juvenile Robin appeared and proceeded to hop towards me.
Looking out from the Hide, around the lake, I could see at least 25+ Common Tern, mainly on the rafts, with chicks, amongst the BHGs and their chicks. Or rather, their juveniles. Other than the Terns only the usual Mutes and Coots; Gulls and Geese could be seen, all idly milling about.
The feeders to my left were being visited by juvenile Great Tits and the spillage was being picked up by a Moorhen family and a pair of Magpies. Then a pair of Jays flew past from right to left and landed in the tree, looking to emulate the Magpies. While on the pond in front were a family of Coot, weaving their way through all the green weed that had covered it. The reeds in front were surprisingly devoid of Warblers and Buntings.
I decided to head off to the Grebe Hide. Along the trail there were plenty of butterflies to be seen, Meadow Browns, Red Admirals and Skippers were amongst the vanguard. All fluttering busily around, some settling, some not.
The sun was really beating down now. I also noticed that there was an above average amount of dog-walkers and cyclists along this particular part of the reserve, sometimes both together, with the odd sprinkling of joggers. Mad dogs and Englishmen!
A Jay flew over me, crossing the relief channel. Chiffchaff and Blackcap were singing out. Several Jackdaws also flew by. I could then hear a Green Woodpecker, somewhere over the channel, in the trees. It was starting to get even hotter and hotter. I was glad of the sun-cream, but I still kept my shirt collar up.
More and more butterflies flew around, Gatekeepers and Ringlets now joining in. I spotted several more Demos on the way to the Grebe Hide but nothing like the numbers of last season.
Then I noticed an odd thing. A pair of juvenile GCGs started doing the head-shaking thing. I guess they were practicing for the future, but it was something that I had never witnessed before.
Then I heard, then saw, a Song Thrush, just on the other side of the river, atop a large bush, singing away.
There wasn't much else to report. The return leg, via the Bittern Hide, produced much the same thing. After an hour in the Hide, more to get my breath back, I headed home. The humidity really takes it out of me.
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