The car has been playing up over the last few weeks, with starting problems, usually after I have been out. Most of the time it is ok but on a couple of occasions it has really let me down and I have been stuck for a long time before it eventually gets going-then its perfect for maybe a week or two. Cant really trust it so I have only gone out when I really have to-hence no visits to Amwell or Deadman's Hill for some time.
With Colin otherwise engaged this weekend and being stuck locally I went over to Aston End this morning. As the birding was expected to be quiet I only took my short lenses for insects and landscapes. As it turned out I did not find anything inspirational and the butterflies etc were in rather short supply.
The walk through the plantation and down through Aston End did not produce anything apart from a few cheeps and tweets from young tits, crests and Robins. I stopped off near the water tower to admire the view, and the young Whitethroats and tried to puzzle out a call. Must have been the heat but it eventually dawned on me that there was a Bullfinch in the hedge-a female when it finally flew out.
The walk up to the Walkern-Watton road was uneventful with a few Gatekeepers and Whites being the only butterflies seen. I often stop off at the logs blocking the field entrances as they host an interesting collection of fungi.
Walking down to the river I was thinking as I usually do at this time of year about the less usual migrants I have found here-Redstarts being seen every two to three years (not bad considering I only walk round here once or twice a month), the occasional Wheatear and Spotted Flycatcher. Its been many years since a Turtle Dove was seen but I live in hope.
I got to the paddocks by the model aircraft club and noticed a bird flit out from the barbed wire-a female Redstart! It spent a lot of time hidden in a large Hawthorn, which also held a juvenile Bullfinch, three Lesser Whitethroats and a young Green Woodpecker. Overhead several Swallows were feeding. This little section of the river always seems to produce good birds, unfortunately the local Little Owls were not seen again, hopefully they are still around.
There were very few thistles on the way up to Chells Manor, so butterflies were less numerous than my last walk, though there were several Common Blues, a species that seems to be doing poorly at the moment. One fresh Brimstone on the burdocks was photogenic.
Back home in the garden, I have had several peacocks today, plus Gatekeeper, Speckled Wood and Holly Blue. Also a few Large and Small Whites now that the Nasturtiums have got going.