On an earlier walk checking the sheep I had come across a brood of well grown Shoveler ducklings in one of the dykes. The youngsters snuck off quietly up one dyke whilst their mother flapped around on the water in front of me in a classic distraction display. She led me a long way down a different dyke before finally taking to the air and taking a long circular flight back towards her brood. A Yellow Wagtail also flew over calling.
The marshes are looking particularly lush at the moment. The reeds and sedges have grown up to line the dyke margins and the Water Soldiers have risen to the surface in places almost obscuring the water.
In the evening we had a birding friend round for a barbecue so it was another excuse to laze on the patio and watch what flew by, in this case, Little Owl and Turtle Dove.
On Sunday morning we concentrated on looking at damselflies and dragonflies and improving my damselfly identification skills. The population of damselflies had erupted in the hot weather and they seemed to be everywhere, not just in the dykes but also in the long grass bordering the dykes. In places large numbers of coupled pairs were ovipositing on the water often in apparent synchrony.
Of the blue damselflies we found Azure and Variable, of which the latter were by far the commonest.
Four-spotted Chasers were also common, 2 Hairy Dragonflies were late and we also found single Emerald Damselflies and Ruddy Darter.
Some new marsh residents found us particularly interesting too and were our constant companions as we walked the dykes around their field!
The moth trap went out again last night and made a reasonable haul. The highlight is probably this unassuming moth, a Water Ermine, a scarce and local species.