Although it was a very overcast morning it was warm and calm and this meant there were still a few butterflies to be seen here and there, like the Green veined White below. I also saw quite a few Speckled Woods but they were looking quite ragged and worn as was a single Red Admiral.
Brooklands lake only had a few Tufties, Coots and Swans on it plus a few House Martins feeding quite high above. No sign of any Pochards yet.
The sunken marsh was quite busy with Blue, Great and Long tailed Tits as well as a Blackcap. And there were also increased numbers of Blackbirds and Song Thrushes. Not sure if these are migrants but I suppose they could be?
The tide was right out on the river and it looked good for a wader or two but I didn't find any. I did see a Little Egret though and plenty of Herons, along with Little Grebe, Teal, Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail among the more common species. Also along the river hanging out with the Mallards were the two bitsers pictured below. Not sure what they are but they must be related I think!
Lots of Woodpeckers around today with three or four each of Green and Great Spotted seen, mostly in the East and West scrub areas. Also here I saw five Mistle Thrushes fly over and heard a Chiffchaff singing it's Spring song. Try as I might I couldn't find a Redwing, bit optimistic really but I don't suppose it'll be long.
The bad news is that the stream has been polluted again. I spoke to the ranger who told me that the nearby sewage treatment works was responsible this time. I suppose the only 'good' thing is that being so soon after the previous incident there was nothing too much in the stream to kill off this time. Pretty depressing all the same.
There's a large nettle patch just at the entrance to the small wood by the river and today it was full of spiders, big spiders! I think they're the Garden variety (Araneus diadematus) but they were all over the place. I'd just waded through the high nettles with my arms raised and I couldn't help wondering if one might have dropped in my jacket pocket! Love 'em or hate 'em they are fascinating and you've got to be amazed by their webs.
Other creatures lurking in the undergrowth were Dark Bush Crickets pictured below.
Note the antennae, longer than the body, this usually suggests Cricket as opposed to Grasshopper. This one is a female and you can clearly see the large ovipositor extending from her abdomen. I guess the Crickets would make a decent meal for the spiders.
The calm warm conditions also seemed to suit the hoverflies, I saw several species today but only managed a picture of this Marmalade fly (Episyrphus balteatus). I don't suppose there will be many more chances to see them this year.
Garden news this weekend included two visits from a Grey Wagtail. I did take a couple of long distance shots through the patio doors but these birds are so superb that I can't bring myself to post a picture that doesn't do them justice. Hopefully it will return and let me take a better one.