Tuesday, 22 September 2015

The Summer's Over!

Sawbridgeworth, River Stort - 11th September 15

Weather: Bright and sunny, some cloud. Strong wind at times.

Bird Total: 21
Plus: Large White, Small White, Speckled Wood Butterflies.
Plus: Banded Demoiselle damselfly. Brown Hawker, Common Darter, Migrant Hawker dragonflies.
Plus: 16-spot Ladybirds; Bluebottle; Crane Fly; Cross Spider; Dark Bush Cricket; Dock Bug; Flesh Fly; Hoverfly; Mayfly; Mint Leaf Beetle; Nursery Web Spider; Pond Skater; White-tailed Bumble Bee.

After yesterday's camel hike around the Lee Valley I decided to take a more leisurely stroll down the River Stort, towards Harlow. I was curious to know if there were any Banded Demoiselles still around. In the event, I only found a lone male, which flitted up and away, before I could get a photo of it. This individual might possibly be the last one of the season.

The weather wasn't as good as yesterday, but was much better than of late. It was warm, when the sun poked out between the clouds. However, there was quite a strong wind today.

I was only out for about 3 hours and was quite disappointed not to see too much about. There was a low bird species total, but it did give me a few surprises. A pair of Swift were still hawking about above me, as were a few Sand Martins. A Kestrel was mobbed by a few Carrion Crows. Green Woodpecker; Blackcap and Chiffchaff were all heard.

On the odonata front, there were a fair few Common Darters and Brown Hawkers about. Surprisingly I only found one or two Migrant Hawkers. A river isn't really their thing. And there were only a few butterflies on the wing, mainly Whites & Woods.

Another surprise sighting was a lone Mayfly, sky-dancing. There were loads of spiders about now, mainly Cross and Nursery Web. The only other thing around in large number were Crane Flies. I also found another couple of Wasp nests.

There was also lots of pollen about, making my hay fever return. On the plus side, there were few people about, although there were several signs of dogs.

Back at the start, while waiting patiently for the train barriers to open up, I found several Dock Bugs, in various instars.

Not the best day out this year, but it is still good to be out and about. Autumn has certainly arrived, if the amount of leaves on the ground was anything to go by. There were strands of cobwebs floating up in the air; the leaves were falling and the reeds were turning brown. Rain and thunderstorms are forecast for most of next week.

The forecast for an Indian Summer is not looking good.

'Some dog it was, too. They called it 'Egypt'. Because in every room it left a pyramid.'