Wednesday 6 June 2012: Four-spotted chaser
At last the flooding has subsided sufficiently for me to do my usual morning walk along the river and back through the Boardwalks nature reserve, though I still had to negotiate a large puddle at the lowest point. The vegetation has become much more lush, and the air was perfumed with elderflower and wild rose. But the results of the flood were still evident, with many of the pools much larger than normal, and a huge abundance of mosquitoes.
Normally at this time of year the river would be full of baby water birds, but I only saw two broods of ducklings and not a single cygnet. The flood washed away many eggs and the birds have had to lay a new batch. The swan nesting at the end of the Electricity Cut had her first eight eggs washed away, and today I was informed that she is now sitting on a clutch of eleven eggs. Laying nineteen eggs in one season is an amazing feat, especially for a fairly mature bird!
The strange weather seems to have had an impact on the insects too. I saw a reasonable number of azure and blue-tailed damselflies, which tend to breed in sheltered ponds, but many of the riverine species seemed decidedly sparse. It is peak season for the banded demoiselles, which are normally present in large numbers,but I saw only two males and a single female. My image today is of a freshly emerged four-spotted chaser Libellula quadrimaculata, a common spring dragonfly, but this is the first I've seen this year.
And I nearly forgot my tenth and final music choice - Close to Me by The Cure. Another sing-along tune, and one which was enjoyed by all generations at the street party!