The tide was low and still ebbing when I got to the river but the previous high tide must have been a big one as I could see evidence of water coming over the raised track and spilling into the sunken marsh. The high tide today reached 4.6 mtrs and I wouldn't mind betting the last couple of days were slightly higher due to the new moon on the 10th. It's this new moon that should allow us to have great views of the Perseid meteor shower tonight...........................except of course we won't, because of those damned cloudy skies. But never mind there's always next year. I said that last year, and the year before that.
I ended up seeing just 32 species of birds today and none of them gave themselves up easily. I couldn't find anything out of the ordinary so again it was a case of eyes down and see what was around nearer the ground.
A quick look in the East Scrub produced three Slow Worms, two of which were very big and also this young Grass snake and his mate who were snuggled up together in the cool mid morning.
This shows nicely the difference in skin texture between the two, the individual scales of the Grass snake and the glassy smoothness of the Slow worm (left click it). Also apparent is the round pupil of the Grass snake as opposed to the vertically slit pupil of Adders.
There's a small clearing between the railway line and Abbey Mead lake where there is a large Oak and Ash tree. In previous years there has been a colony of Purple Hairstreaks here. With this in mind I waited here a while in the hope of seeing one. Needless to say in the overcast conditions none were seen. But after a while the sun came out and flooded the sheltered clearing with warmth and I was amazed at the instant transformation. Speckled Woods, Holly Blues, Large and Small White butterflies. Damselflies of various shades, hawkers, darters, flies and hoverflies all took to the air in an instant. What a difference the sun makes.
Talking of hoverflies the edge of the lake here was home to quite a few and I spotted a couple of different species I think to those I have posted before. The first two pictured below are (hopefully) Myathropa flores, distinguished by the horizontal stripes on the thorax. These were quite big and could easily be mistaken for wasps.
The handsome beast below is either Leucozona lucorum or Volucella pellucens but I think it's the former. Either way it's an unusual and interesting looking chap. As I photographed him the sky got even darker and it looked like rain was on the way so I cursed the clouds and headed for home. See, i'm still banging on endlessly about the weather, I just can't help it!
The above has now been ID'd as Volucella pellucens. As ever thanks to Greenie and again thanks to Greg for their help.