The butterfly and dragonfly drought continues for me, but at least I managed to see a few today. I went to Rye Meads this morning in order to catch up with the Garganey that have been around for a while and hopefully a few other things as well.
I got there just after nine and headed for the Draper Hide. On the way I stopped at the start of the boardwalk and spent some time watching the young Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers. I missed a great shot when one of the Chiffs came down onto a dead umbellifer and posed really well but picking the camera up was sufficient to flush it.
I spent over an hour in the Draper, chatting to an astronomer, Mark that I had bumped into at Tring some time back as we searched for the Garganey which I eventually picked up a long way off at the back of the scrape. The Dunlin and three Green Sands were a bit more obliging. Most of the ducks are still in moult of course but it was interesting to pick up a pair of Teal and several Shoveller among them. One Snipe showed briefly before flying off. At least one pair of Common Terns remained with two juveniles.
We walked up to the lagoons-unfortunately the water was rather high and not quite what I expected. We found a few butterflies-mainly whites and a few hoverflies, bees and beetles. I left Mark heading up to the Kingfisher hide and made my way back, taking a detour around the summer trail. This had a few Sedge and Reed warblers and a dragonfly flew past but I couldn't get on it.
Back outside the Draper Hide, the sun had come out and it was warming up. Several Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns and a Comma were nectarine on the ragwort, and I found a Brown Argus there as well. A few Common Blue damsels, a Southern Hawker and a Migrant Hawker were seen around the pools-these were the first odonate in over six weeks.
I had sufficient time to call in at Danemead in Broxbourne Woods for a quick circuit. The cattle that are being used to graze the meadow have taken off much of the flowering vegetation (and blocked the usual entrance gate) but there were still plenty of butterflies present. Mostly Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers but one rather tatty Silver Washed Fritillary was found. A walk around the wood and river failed to find any Broad Leaved Helleborines but I eventually found two rather nice specimens by the reserve sign-I had walked straight past them on my way in. Birds were rather quiet, but a large tit and crest flock entertained me for a while-not surprising when the first bird i got on to was a juvenile Firecrest!