I made a mid-morning visit to the reserve this morning and it was a regular placid summer's day with warm sunshine and little wind.
Duck numbers have dropped right off now and the most noticeable of them now are Shelduck. Mostly because they gather in small groups around the Salt Working Mounds where a lot of old rabbit burrows are, which some of the ducks are possibly using as nest sites, as is their habit. I certainly haven't seen any Shelduck creches yet. Come to that I have seen virtually no ducklings of any other variety either and the 20 odd pair of Greylag Geese left on the reserve at the moment have only produced around a dozen goslings. Why the wildfowl have bred so poorly I haven't a clue, perhaps they're just late this year.
Bird life in general was also placid this morning and most of any noise to be heard was coming from the pairs of Lapwings and Redshanks still with chicks, that called alarmingly as I passed by. Other than that, it'll be left for the rest of the summer to the explosive and long carrying scratchy song of the Sedgies and the gentle repetitive notes of the Reed Warblers.
Part way round the marsh, the big black bull, cows and calves had all decamped on the track that I needed to take and were chewing the cud. I tucked Midge the Jacko under my arm and made my through the herd and found them all most obliging. A slap on the side got most of them to move out of the way, although they never seem to be able to do it without ejecting a stream of foul-smelling manure into your path first! Their equivelant of two fingers I suppose.
Butterflies are gradually starting to increase, in varieties if not numbers and I had a few each of Small Heath, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Large White, Common Blue, this morning. Even better, I had my first two Cinnabar Moths. A cracking Moth and I love to see its stripey caterpillars swarming all over the Ragwort in the summer.
Our "Flood" field, where most winters we have some large flooded scrapes, is now drying out far too fast and since just the weekend the water left in the scrapes has reduced by 50% to leave very little. I would imagine that even that will be gone in several days time to leave just large areas of bone dry mud but in the meantime the pair of Avocets are still there with their two chicks and creating all kinds of wars, as witnessed on Springwatch most nights.