Weather: Warm with sunny spells, mainly cloudy, slight breeze.
Bird Total: 20
Plus: Blue-tailed, Common Blue, Banded Demoiselle damselflies; Brown Hawker, Common Darter, Migrant Hawker dragonflies.
Plus: Gatekeeper, Green-veined White, Holly Blue, Large White, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Small White butterflies.
Plus: 7-spot Ladybird; Bee; Bluebottle; Crane Fly; Flesh Fly; Hoverfly; Mayfly; Midges; Nursery Web Spider; Pond Skater; Wasp.
Plus: Freisan Cattle; Grey Squirrel.
It was time for the annual visit to Cornmill Meadow. My good friend, Barry, again accompanied me. He must be a glutton for punishment.
The weather forecast was for sun early on, turning to heavy cloud and possible rain by the afternoon. It's probably best to say that it was 'changeable' all day.
Barry picked me up at the station and we arrived at the Reserve around 9.45. Just before we left the car park, we spotted the first of several Holly Blues.
Taking the anti-clockwise direction, we soon found ourselves by the river, seeing plenty of posing Banded Demoiselles. There were one or two Brown Hawkers around and then several Migrant Hawkers began appearing.
There were also several Common Blue and a couple of Blue-tailed damsels about, but I was mainly concentrating on the Demoiselles. The sun shone out intermittently and I had to wait patiently for it to shine before I could get any shots of the damsels.
A Migrant Hawker then appeared and finally settled down for a pose. We got very good views of it, only yards in front of us. Barry was also impressed by its' hovering technique.
There were a fair few dog-walkers about and we noticed one or two 'doggie-bags' around the area. However, overall, there weren't too many people about.
There weren't too many birds about either. I had visited around the same time last year and had seen plenty of bird species about. We paid the first of two visits to the only hide in the area, the Wake Hide. Unfortunately, the only birds we saw from this hide were Gadwall and Teal; a lone Grey Heron and a lone Black-headed Gull.
There were several 'black' Pheasants in the adjacent field, while a lone Canada Goose flew overhead. One good sighting was of a female Blackcap, in amongst a party of Long-tailed Tits. We heard the distinctive call of a Green Woodpecker and then a fleeting glimpse of a couple of Garden Warblers, late on in the day.
On the butterfly front, we spotted seven species, including Holly Blue and Gatekeeper. Even the insect count was down. If it weren't for the Demoiselles, who were plentiful and performing well, it would have been a very quiet visit.
We did roughly two circuits of the area before it badly clouded over and so decided to call it a day. We paid a visit to the local pub for our, now traditional, pint.
'The ship of state is the only ship that leaks from the top.'