The warmth has, at last, brought out the reptiles and I came across my first slow worm of the year. Then a little way on found a grass snake basking in the warmth, deep in dry grass and short nettles on a south facing bank.
There's a slightly untidy traditional farm where numerous egrets gather. Here the grazing cattle stir up insects and worms in a muddy and tightly grazed field. There were 12 little egrets drifting this way and that, following the cattle and amongst them a wonderful, small, stocky, pearly white egret - a cattle egret;
Walking through the reserve I wandered on tracks between reed-fringed peat cuttings, wet woodland (birch, willow and alder), dry woodland (oak), around a large damp meadow and onto a refurbished hide, about 1km from the site entrance. The ground flora is really starting to flush out now and the trees and shrubs were rich with singing warblers - blackcaps, chiff-chaffs and willow warblers.
The usual marshland species, such as booming bitterns were heard and later on, across the road at RSPB Ham Wall, a marsh harrier was seen. Amongst the other early summer migrants was a large flock of sand martins - scooping up the huge mosquitoes I hope.
One highlight of spring which I always hope to see is the elegant dance of the great-crested grebe and I was lucky enough (or patient enough) to witness one this time - although as always it was quite far off:
|Grebe at Ham Wall|
There was a good number of bees and butterflies including peacocks and brimstones.