That went fast. Five days off and its Monday evening already.
Following the rather exhausting day out at Chelsea, Friday was spent recuperating and pottering in the garden, and doing a bit of shopping. Having bought a few plants (a couple of hopefully slug proof Hostas) some Lilies and a Cardiocrinum (don't know what I was thinking there very much an impulse buy) they needed potting up-though the Cardiocrinum needed a big tub. Also the area where the Bay tree used to be has been pretty much finished now, lots of Salvias, Cerinthes, a few Agastaches, plus a few other things. Everything has been chosen for bees and insects so hopefully once its all established it will pull in a few interesting things.
Colin is out of action so no day trips at the moment. So Saturday was spent at Amwell. The Hollycross Dragonfly walk has been open a month now, and I hadn't been there. I still haven't. The forecast was supposed to be warm and sunny. I arrived to very cool (11 degrees) conditions, light mist and drizzle. Things did not get much better in the three hours I was there.
The most noticeable thing was the expanse of sand and mud exposed-its been nearly a month since my last visit and the sluice had only just been opened then. As a result I have missed a few waders in the intervening period, along with the inevitable Little Tern. The Redshank are still around, the Oystercatchers are nesting again, and a pair of Little Ringed Plovers are present. The main action concerned Swifts-on several occasions large flocks of several hundred were present feeding mainly over the southern part of the lake. Early on there were also large numbers of Swallows and House Martins, but I only saw a couple of Sand Martins all morning
At least one Hobby is still present, just about the only raptor of note in the poor conditions though a couple of Red Kites and Buzzards eventually appeared.
William turned up and we spent most of the morning chatting about his recent exploits-a quick trip to the Hebrides for the Black Billed Cuckoo, day spent on Dartmoor failing to see the Lammergeier, and a day spent in grid locked Surrey failing to get down to the south coast for the Caspian Stonechat.
When phil arrived, and with little happening on the bird front we spent a lot of time investigating the insect activity in front of the view point. Seemed to be predominantly Harlequin Ladybirds, with a few Two and Seven Spots. One or two Mayflys, a few beetles and a Carpet Moth were seen, plus another interesting looking moth that eluded Phil's net.
Sunday and Monday remained dull, cool and drizzly so I continued with the garden work. Don't think I missed much, though some more of my birding mates managed to get up for the Cuckoo. Beginning to think I will regret not making an effort to get up there and see it myself.