So we've slipped quietly into summer already. In the end the floods didn't last as long into May as I'd hoped and there was little to report on there since my last update before they dried up completely. There have been a few bits and pieces on the bird front to report. A Hobby was seen on the 8th flying over the Meadow. There were a couple of Wheatear sightings this month, one unusually on Burgess Field and one on the Meadow. Given how late these sightings are they are probably the Greenland subspecies. There have been a few Curlew and Cuckoo sightings (or at least hearings) to report throughout the month. There was also a Common Sandpiper record along the river shoreline - only the second record of the year of this species.
|Common Sandpiper courtesy of Michael Enticott
Apart from this smattering of interesting records there are of course the usual species busy going about their business of rearing their young and the first fruits of their labours can now be seen blundering their way about in the undergrowth whilst they learn the ropes.
As is only natural at this time of year people are starting to take a look at insects instead. The Trap Grounds continues to go from strength to strength as one of the top Odonata sites in the county, punching well above its weight given its small size. The main highlight has been up to three Downy Emeralds on the main Swan pond. We got very excited last year when we had just one of them for a few days but this year seems like a particularly good year for this scarce Oxon species and with both male and females seen we can have high hopes of them becoming a regularly feature at this site. Another really good record was a Club-tailed Dragonfly that was photographed by Michael Enticott on the main river. This is another scarce county species that is normally confined to the river Thames down at Goring and Cholsey so to have a record on the Meadow is really great!
|Club-tailed Dragonfly courtesy of Michael Enticott
Apart from these two stand-out records we've had good numbers of Hairy Hawkers in the Trap Grounds and another record of a Red-eyed Damselfly there as well. Whilst this species is relatively common along the Castle Mill Stream they are not normally found in the Trap Grounds themselves.
|Hairy Hawker courtesy of Nicola Devine
Looking ahead, there's not much of particular note to expect over the summer months so it's a chance to relax and enjoy the usual species doing their thing. After all there is always delight to be had in enjoying the simple ebb and flow of the natural world at any time of year.
|Common Terns courtesy of Michael Enticott