A good couple of days on the reserve and although it was fairly quiet bird-wise (with 16 Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Sanderling and another flyby of the Raven) it was fairly warm and bright and the insects on the reserve were at their best with excellent numbers of Migrant Hawkers and Reed Dagger Caterpillars around the trails along with a couple of new to site hoverflies (sorry me and flies again...) and at least six Shrill Carder Bees (sorry Lynette) on the Bristly Ox Tongue especially on the river wall where Brown Banded Carder Bees seem to outnumber the Common Carders at the moment. A large Wasp Spider and a rotund Four-spot Orb were found amongst the Common Garden Orbs. A lot more images can be found at www.elbf.co.uk
Brown Banded Carder Bee - Bombus humilis (David Preston)
Female Migrant Hawker trying to lay an egg in Neil Phillips hand (Basil Thornton)
Reed Dagger caterpillar (Neil Philips)
Xanthogramma citrofasciatum (Howard Vaughan)
Metasyrphus luniger (David Preston)
David Lindo spent Sunday with us and co-led a walk with me which was great fun and well attended. I am sure that there will be more to come in the future.
David holding court on Sunday (Howard Vaughan)
and finally but by no means least we were treated to a Lancaster fly by on Saturday afternoon for the Battle of Britain celebrations
Arvo Lancaster (David Preston)
No Shearwater yesterday and squally weather kept everything low. Beautiful today though so a good chance that Pat may find something on the Friday Walk! Already, Bob, the bull Grey Seal has drifted past the centre with his whiskery nose in the air and the gulls in attendance. Below are some more shots from recent days.
Buzzard (Basil Thornton)
Whitethroat in elderberries (Jono Lethbridge)
Water Rail (Dave Morrison)
and a couple of other bits.... We have a mini photographic exhibition this weekend in the centre showcasing photos of wildlife taken on the reserve mainly by attendees of the Be A Better Photographer Walks and there are stil places on the guided walk with myself and David Lindo at 11am on Sunday.
Going through a quiet spell on the reserve until a Manx Shearwater hove into view this morning. Now, I was leading the Wednesday Walk at the time and could not have been further from the bird on the Thames but amazingly it lingered and we all got amazing views as it careened up and down the river in front of the visitor centre including a VIP from Kazakhstan. Moorhen was a new bird for her and Manx Shearwater is not even on her country's list! She was equally impressed!
Manxie (Jono Lethbridge)
This was only the second for the site and attracted a few suited and booted bods from the City eager to add it to their London list! Is was so windy on the marsh today that small birds were difficult but Spotted Flycatchers showed very well in the shelter of the woodland and a wheatear bounded along the river wall.
Wheatear (Jono Lethbridge)
Despite the wind it was still very warm and Brandon Anderson got this great shot of a couple of basking Common Lizards