Saturday 26 June 2010

Mad dogs and Englishmen

So far, the hopes expressed in my last posting that summer has begun in earnest are still holding. If we can get at least another few weeks of this weather how superb it will be and redemption for a record breaking winter's cold. The only thing that mars it are the predictable and almost immediate moans from people that seem to have lost the ability to enjoy such weather. I blame it on the recent run of two-season years, where we have had weather reminscent of six month autumns and a six month springs. To suddenly go back to four seasons, which incluse a cold winter and a hot summer, seems to have phased some people who not only complain about it being too hot but the abscence of some wildlife in the heat of the day. Well that's what used to happen, that's how summer used to be, unfortunately only the wildlife seems to have retained the knack of taking it easy in the heat of the day. And do you know what, those same people who find it too hot now will often be found later in the year complaining about it being too wet or cold.

Anyway, I was surprised on arriving at the reserve at 6.00 this morning, to not only find it cooler than I expected but also misty, which prevented any long-distance observations for a while. I had intended to walk the length of the reserve and end up at Shellness Point to check out the return of the Black-headed Gull breeding colony after an absence of two years, but the mist curtailed that for another day. The reserve continues to dry out and the main action, what there was of it, centered around a wide and shallow length of ditching that we know as the "S" ditch because of the way it winds across a couple of fields. One end of this dries out quite quickly and at the moment there are large areas of nice, wet mud.
Here there was my first Spotted Redshank in almost a year, we rarely get them on this reserve anymore, and a Green Sandpiper - autumn migration already? There was also a flock of moulting Black-headed Gulls and a post-breeding flock of around 30 Redshanks. Finally there were also 10 Blackwits, 3 Herons and 4 Little Egrets, its surprising what a bit of shallow water and mud will attract.

Skylarks were still singing their heads off across the reserve and echoing breeding estimates of around 20 pairs so far, although by the same token, Meadow Pipits seem to have almost disappeared for some reason.

By 8.00 an easterly breeze had begun to increase in strength, the mist had gone, to be replaced by some cloud cover, and a few butterflies and things were starting to show themselves. A couple of Small Tortoiseshells continued an encouraging trend for them so far this year and I also spotted an early Meadow Brown and a beautiful Cinnabar Moth. Many Ruddy Darters seemed to be finding good numbers of flies attracted to Elderflower bush flowers and even a couple of Broad-bodied Chasers joined them in the feast.

Finally, as I write this at 10.30 this morning, there's still not much sun and its quite breezy - might that weekend heatwave not quite happen, will those people who dream of balaclavas and wellie boots get a crumb of comfort.

1 comment:

  1. Balaclava's and welly boots - sounds quite appealing. :-) :-)

    It's never as cold here as it feels on Sheppy - but it's never as hot on sheppy as it feels here!