Ben had requested a quiet birthday, and as he doesn't like to get up early, Rosie and i had an early walk at Barnack, which is now covered with drifts of pyramidal orchids, hairy hawkbit and dropwort. Marbled whites were flitting about over the grasses, but none of them were settling at all. It was too hot for Rosie by about 8.30am, but she had to survive a bit longer as we then went on to Southorpe Paddock to finish a set of quadrats. We had plenty of water with us and fortunately she found some cool spots to lie in while I was working.

When I got home, Chris and Alex filled the paddling pool, and in the heat of the afternoon we sat round it dangling our feet in the cool water - bliss! As a birthday treat we had a proper afternoon tea, with home-made lemonade, scones, cream and fresh strawberries - just perfect. The day was rounded off with a Chinese meal (Ben's favourite) and a very drippy water-melon.

Photography was rather low on the agenda, but I spotted lots of these flies (Dolichopus ungulatus) near one of the ponds. I've always liked their metallic appearance and brightly coloured eyes, but they're quite tricky to photograph. Their reactions are so fast that you tend to get a lot of empty leaves! I liked this one, because it looks as though it's balancing on tiptoes :)

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