After a lovely sunny week it was disappointing to wake this morning to leaden skies and the persistent cold northeasterly wind. As the temperature crawled reluctantly to 13C it was almost out with the winter woollies again instead of the shorts and T-shirts I had been thinking I'd be wearing. My original plan had been to go to Strumpshaw to look for Swallowtails but with not a single butterfly or dragonfly on view on my morning walk around the marsh I abandoned the idea. It appeared fairly quiet on the marsh with just the usual birds and nothing out of the ordinary.
In the warmth of yesterday evening the local Turtle Dove had given excellent views as it purred from a telegraph wire but there was no sign of it today.
I had put the moth trap out last night for the first time in a while. I used to trap regularly but with it taking up to 3 hours for me to empty and identify some of the catches I simply don't have time anymore but with moth-ers reporting low catches I thought I would give it a try. In the event I caught 30 moths of 11 species including Chocolate Tip:
and Poplar Hawkmoth:
Scanning the marshes form the bedroom at lunchtime a Marsh Harrier put up 4 ducks. Three were male Shoveler, the fourth a smaller brown looking duck but as they banked to drop back on to the marsh the smaller duck gave a brief glimpse of a white belly contrasting with a sharply demarcated brown neck. This had to be the male Garganey my husband had seen on the 30th May but of which there had been no sign since. I tramped back across the marshes and investigated the rushy pools the ducks had dropped on to. The rushes are now very tall and dense, and open water is hard to view but suddenly a flock of 16 ducks took to the air and flew straight over my head giving me excellent views of the male Garganey in their midst, a . The flock obligingly gave me another close flypast before splitting up and dropping back in to the rushes. My search also produced a Yellow Wagtail, the first in the area for a few weeks and a pair of Redshanks. Reed Buntings were abundant and there seemed to be good numbers of Lapwings too.