Under cloudy but pleasantly warm skies I parked in Brooklands car park, (i've forgiven them for locking me in last time). I was greeted by a smart Pied Wagtail who looked a bit incongruous as he wagged about on a pile of rubbish in the corner. There's usually a bit going on around the car park area but today all was quiet and I wondered if this would be a sign of things to come.
As I walked past the mill I daydreamed about how good it would be if it wasn't there, thus enabling the footpath to be continued along the river, giving uninterrupted access to Holborough marsh to the north and peace and quiet to the south. I was woken from my reverie though, by a small flock of Goldfinches, whose chattering calls easily cut through the drone from the mill, so maybe it's not as bad as I sometimes think. I continued along the sunken marsh path, where a Pheasant did what Pheasants often do, frightening the c**p out of me as it suddenly flew up, screaming blue murder as it did so. The river was deserted apart from Black-headed Gulls, Grey Herons and Cormorants, although it was good to hear a Kingfisher calling as it flew downstream.
Next stop was Abbey Mead lake where I knew my chances of seeing a dragonfly or two were virtually nil given the weather. As I approached the reed bed at the water's edge the Reed Warbler pictured above suddenly popped up. After a quick look around it flew off and returned a minute or two later with a beak full of goodies.
I kept still and carried on watching and sure enough, up popped junior, below.
Thankfully he wasn't too bothered about my presence, more interested in food I think and I was pleased when he made a short flight out into the open where there was a bit more light
A bit of wing flickering followed, to remind mum that he was hungry, she obliged with another morsel and then gave him the signal to hide in the reeds.
Not wishing to intrude further, I moved on over the railway line to see what the east scrub had to offer, the best of which was a couple of super Bullfinches, the male looking brilliant even in the poor light. Green Woodpeckers were also seen and heard in abundance as well as a surprise pair of Linnets. I don't often see them over there. It was here also that I came across the hoverfly below, it's most probably Helophilus pendulus and I think it must be the male of the species because if you look carefully you can see that he is in fact, scratching his ar*e!
Time was getting on and i'd exhausted the interest in the scrub so I made my way back along the railway path and on to the raptor viewpoint, stopping on the way to capture the Essex Skipper below. This was one of only six butterfly species seen today, the others being Red Admiral, Gatekeepers in abundance, picture after next, Small White, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood and Green-veined White.
I saw Dennis and Doreen further along the path and as we spoke I noticed the Bee species pictured below, that's one way of collecting pollen, on your bum!