Monday 18th to Friday 22nd July

As is to be expected, it's been a quiet week on the Meadow. There has been just enough rain to keep a narrow channel of water intact along the North Channel in amongst the churned up mud. It's hardly ideal but does just about enough at least to pull in some passing migrant waders though not enough to keep them there for any length of time. Still the black-headed gulls seem to like it and there are probably about a hundred birds congregating there in the evening. Unfortunately there haven't been any large gulls to speak of which is a shame because at Farmoor there are at least a dozen adult yellow-legged gulls kicking around. On the wader front I've had a party of four REDSHANK on Tuesday and on Thursday evening there was one SNIPE, one COMMON SANDPIPER, one LITTLE RINGED PLOVER and one OYSTERCATCHER.

This is a bit of a rubbish photo taken first thing this morning
but it shows the current state of the floods

Apart from these passage waders, the common terns are still very much around being as noisy as ever. There has been a LITTLE EGRET or two knocking around and one or two sand martins have been seen over the river. The whole area is currently full of juvenile pied wagtails working their way over the former flood areas: they seem to like roosting in the hawthorn trees by the boats and you can often see at least a dozen of them crammed into the small tree at dusk. In Burgess Field NR the butterflies du jour are gatekeepers which are out in good numbers. There are also some essex skippers about though many of the earlier species have mostly finished by now.

gatekeeper - butterfly du jour

In my garden I've had a HUMMING-BIRD HAWK MOTH moth visit my buddlia on three consecutive mornings though it never seems to hang around much. Today has been a good buttefly day with red admiral, peakcock, small tortoiseshell, large and small whites and holly blue all in my garden. This morning I watched a small white flitting from leaf to leaf laying a single yellow egg at each location which was fascinating to watch.

A peacock in our garden this morning

The young blue and great tits are still visiting the feeders and today I've also had a coal tit around for much of the day. The resident blackbirds seem to have managed to rear a second brood and there was a full-fledged young bird on my roof this morning. Nature is out there doing it's thing which is very life-affirming. Now if only we could get the floods properly topped up again...

young blackbird in my garden

This evening Richard Foster managed to find:
48 lapwing
5 common tern.

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