Lade - warm, dry and sunny, W 2 - Saturday morning was notable for the first Green Sandpiper of the return passage. The migrant wader flew over south lake calling and looking for somewhere to land, but with the water levels still stubbornly high there was nowhere suitable so it drifted off towards north lake. Around the willow swamp a male Cuckoo was still calling.
This morning the wind had dropped and in the milky sunshine plenty of grassland butterflies were on the wing along the old railway line track. Most numerous were Small Skipper and Small Heath, closely followed by Meadow Brown, Marbled White and Painted Lady, plus a few Large Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Large and Small Whites. Several more Pyramidal Orchids had also come into bloom. Out on the lake the Canadian pond weed looks as though its flowering with huge rafts attracting dabbling and diving ducks (150 Pochard), grebes and Coots, plus the first juvenile Black-headed Gull of the summer.
Raptors were particularly noticeable today. A pair of Marsh Harriers are nesting just off site and I watched the male, with what looked like a Mallard duckling dangling from its under carriage, fly off to deliver the goods to a female via a mid-air food pass. Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Buzzard also noted.
Weather conditions were spot on for moths last night, being still, muggy and overcast and the garden trap yielded 30 species of macros this morning, the best catch of the year thus far. Small Dusty Wave, Barred Straw, Marbled Coronet and Privet Hawkmoth were all new for the year.
Just before settling down to torture ourselves watching England in the World Cup we gave Barney his summer cut and blow dry as next weeks predicted heat wave sets in. In the end the football was pretty painless, while this afternoon the two Black Swans were reported from Lade south (per PB).