Lade - muggy and overcast - A humid morning with mist first thing and light airs, perfect for checking on the local breeding birds of which a total of 41 species recorded. On the dry scrub Common Whitethroats and Dunnocks appeared to have fared well, but Linnets less so with a drop in numbers this year, while Mipit and Skylark were both noted feeding fledged young. Around the willow swamp there was plenty of Cuckoo, Reed Bunting, Cetti`s and Reed Warblers activity, and a couple of Little Egrets perched in trees hinted at what might develop in future. On the open water only Great Crested and Little Grebes showed a few fledged young; I still haven't seen any other water fowl with fledglings. Non breeders noted included several Swifts, 2 Med Gulls, 45 Pochards and a roving adult female Marsh Harrier.
And so to Jackdaws. Last week I saw an adult Jackdaw snatch a Cootlet off the water, well today a whole gang of them, at least 80, were noisily swarming over the willow swamp. Goodness only knows what carnage was caused to the breeding birds as when they visited my garden recently they cleared out most of the Collared Doves, Blackbirds and Woodpigeons. Still, that`s nature for you, and as Clint Eastwood memorably stated in The Outlaw Josey Wales, "Buzzards gotta eat, same as the worms".
As for plants a spike of White Mullein was already up over a metre tall amongst the Ox-eye Daisies and Valerian, while the first Rest Harrow and Evening Primrose flowers were in bloom. Any botanists interested in grasses could do well to walk the old railway line track south of the lake towards the gravel pits where there are numerous examples of this complex family of plants.
And so to moths, unsurprisingly, given the weather conditions, there was 20 plus species in the garden trap this morning, although numbers continue to be low, with five new for the year including the giant Privet Hawk-moth to the diminutive Cream-bordered Green Pea.