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Friday, 4 August 2017

A quiet Friday, but a hint of change

Finally got up the enthusiasm to do a duty-visit today with little expectation of anything noteworthy and I'm pleased to say, I wasn't disappointed.

Still lazy August over there but with obvious indications of the changing season such as the eclipse Mallards that are starting to show signs of fresh plumage, the migration movement of Swallow and House Martin (with a single Swift - Yay!) and the number of young Whitethroats apparently feeding up for their mega-return journey. At least one Reed Warbler is also still present and calling occasionally from the north-east side of the swag pool.

The Mere was even quieter although I did hear the flight call of a Common Sandpiper that otherwise avoided detection

Star bird should have been Water Rail if I had managed to see it. The bird was in the heavy vegetated channel between the main swag and the Ford Brook and was continuously calling and very clumsy about moving the vegetation, all of which leads me to suspect a juvenile (but despite being less than six feet from the moving vegetation I was still unable to get a glimpse of the bird)!

Common Centaury
To be honest the star attraction for me today was more vegetative. The over-grazed paddocks south of the site are heavily infested with Ragwort which is notoriously poisonous to almost everything. The horses are obviously being kept away from this area and that has allowed for the best showing of Red Bartsia that I can ever remember seeing (its a semi-parasitic that does well on poor soils). In fact most of the bits that aren't yellow with Ragwort are mauve with the stuff. On top of that if you search carefully you will also find our only Gentian, Common Centaury, a genuinely delicate and beautiful flower that does not get paid the respect that it deserves!

Red Bartsia
Anyway, it looks like another wash-out of a weekend so that's probably it from me until next week. Only 27 days until Autumn and we can start looking for some more interesting stuff (I Hope)!

Have a good weekend all - Chaz