Birds Total: 69
Plus: Asian Short-clawed Otters; Cat.
Plus: 6-spot Burnet, Comma, Common Blue, Gatekeeper, Green-veined White, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, Small Skipper, Small White butterflies.
Plus: Blue-tailed, Common Blue, Small Red-eyed damselflies; Black-tailed Skimmer, Common Darter, Emperor, Hairy, Ruddy Darter dragonflies.
Plus: 7-spot Ladybird; Poplar Leaf Beetle.
It was high time for a visit to the Wetland Centre down in Barnes, as I hadn't visited since early last year. My membership had lapsed so this time I had to pay to get in.
|Have I Got Smews For You!|
I headed off around the Wildside route first, to take advantage of the sunshine for a few close-ups of the captive birds on display. To paraphrase Charlemagne - 'To possess a bird is to possess another soul'.
|A Bewick's Swan, braving the hot sun|
There was also a bit of work going on from the staff, using very noisy machinery. I was a little surprised that they were doing this work now, even though it was towards the end of the breeding season.
And, lastly, a couple of parties of noisy school children were around and about.
But I soldiered on, walking around the area, taking snaps when I was presented with a pose. Due to the lack of birds I again concentrated on insects. My first spot was a Common Blue butterfly. Then a Small Red-eyed damselfly presented itself, a first for me this year. A female Emperor was busy ovipositing. A lone 6-spot Burnet then fluttered lazily past.
A Grey Heron could be seen fishing in one of the lagoons. A Green Woodpecker flew noisily overhead. Dragons and Damsels were all evident. Lots of Blues about, as per normal. But then I spotted a Darter. Upon closer inspection it turned out to be a Ruddy Darter, another first for me this year. Whilst I was photographing it a cat walked idly past me. Not the most endearing thing to see on a bird reserve.
With not too much else about it was a quick walk around and so I headed for the other half of the Reserve, the Hideside, as I call it.
I checked out all the Hides, with not too much action outside any of them. A few staff were busy cutting reeds nearby. In one of the Hides I broke for lunch.
On the way to the Peacock Hide, the biggest one here, I came across lots of 6-spot Burnets. And next to them I found my first Poplar Leaf Beetle, a blood-red insect.
I spent about 30 minutes in the Hide, spotting a pair of Little Ringed Plovers and a few Lapwing. A pair of Sand Martins and a few Swift were flying around the area, trying to dodge a Sparrowhawk flying around.
I stopped off to have a quick look at the Otters. There were only a pair showing this time, but very cute and photogenic nonetheless.
Having walked around the whole Reserve I got a sudden attack of torpor so, struggling against the heat and although it wasn't even 3 o'clock, I decided to call it a day and head home.
I probably won't visit again until next year, but I must remember to do the research beforehand!
A selection of photos of the day:
For more of my photos please visit my Flickr site.