14th August

Apologies for the radio silence for a while but I've been away on holiday. Today I went for a long walk around the Meadow to see what I could find. There is of course no water at all and it's a fairly birdless desert sadly at present. Still there's always something to see if one looks hard enough. There are lots of wild flowers that I'm trying to get my head around and I'll continue to post some of them in this blog as we go along. There is a definite feel of autumn in the air as far as the birds are concerned: the Swifts have all gone and the Hirundines are all gathering in large numbers including some Sand Martins. There was a mixed flock of over a hundred round by the moored boats today including lots of juveniles so a successful breeding year for them. They were all swirling around after insects and then resting up on the boats. A juvenile Willow Warbler was working its way clumsily along the hedgerow at the southern end of the Trap Ground allotments, looking yellow enough to make one think of a Hippolais warbler though of course size and shape was all wrong. 

The juvenile Willow Warbler
When there's no flood water the only way to see waders is to walk along the river and sure enough I managed to winkle out a COMMON SANDPIPER and a LITTLE EGRET this way. Sadly, this habitat is a poor substitute for proper floods and unless we get a lot of rain soon we'll continue to have slim pickings on this front. There were only five Lapwings on the grass itself, a rather poor count from the 30+ that I was getting a couple of weeks ago. There was a very large flock of Starlings feeding in amongst the cattle at the north end of the Meadow which were spooked up into one of the Poplar trees were they continued to chatter away very noisily for quite some time.

So all quiet on the western front at present. What we really need now is a good period of prolonged rain otherwise sadly it's going to continue to be quiet for some time to come.

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