Cooling off

My morning started with a trip to the Great Fen which was cool and misty. I was dropping Pete off to do some survey work, but spent a few minuted watching a female reed Bunting, busy taking beakfuls of green caterpillars to her offspring. As I drove away I had an excellent view of a Corn Bunting sitting on the telegraph wires, a very characteristic pose for this very local farmland bird.

I then spent a very pleasurable couple of hours at Upwood meadows NNR. Most people visit in late spring to see the Green-winged Orchids, but it has plenty of interest for much of the summer, including the wonderful range of grasses. Among many uncommon species, it supports a population of Sulphur Clover, which I was delighted to find this in both Great and Little Bentley Meadows and a small stand of Dyer's Greenweed.

The whole site was shimmering with Meadow Brown butterflies, and several species of dragonfly were on the wing, including my first Ruddy Darter of the Year, a female Black-tailed Skimmer and a fine Four-spotted Chaser who I photographed while it was perched on a branch consuming a fly that it had just caught (see extra).

Turtle Doves were purring from the boundary of the site as arrived, though I didn't manage to see them. While walking along the meadow path I came across a brood of baby red-legged Partridges, who scurried along in front of me before diving into the taller vegetation for safety. Later a male Linnet was singing from a dead tree near the reserve entrance. By this time the sun was out and the linnet was clearly getting too hot - the final image shows it fluffing up its feathers to dissipate some of the excess heat.

You can see more photographs from my walk on Facebook

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