Now some of you may admire my determination (others may just call me stubborn) but I tried, yet again, this morning to find and admire the spotted flycatchers which seem to be nesting above Jupp's View. Needless to say, I failed! But I found and enjoyed plenty of other wildlife in compensation...all 9 little fluffy humbugs (the shelducklings) are still doing well and were pursuing 2 ringed plovers who were competing with them for the best muddy spot on the North Brooks. In Nettley's picnic area, there was plenty of warbler action with a family of common whitethroat hopping about the bramble bushes, a garden warbler in song, and a pair of blackcaps at either end; the males happily singing away and the females with their lovely conker-brown heads searching for food. A bit of sunshine had woken up some of the insects with speckled wood butterflies, a broad bodied chaser dragonfly, and my first large skipper butterfly of the year, making the most of the early morning warmth. Back along Green Lane for a fabulous plump, pink, male bullfinch and, on the very last day of May, a nightingale still performing beautifully in Fattengates Courtyard. So, flycatchers or not, I've still got a smile on my face.
Last night's guided walk (20.45 - 22.30) around the heath produced a few interesting things, but the hoped-for nightjars were a little unreliable. Churring was heard from about 21.15 onwards but was always a little distant, and although one bird flew right over us, it then didn't give another fly-past. We found a young tawny owl 'squeaking' high up in a conifer, and saw a few bats flying around on the top of 'the clump'. We also watched a stag beetle taking to the evening air in a manner that only stag beetles can manage - simultaneously powerful, impressive and completely directionless. We finished off by enjoying the blue-green light of a glow worm in the edge of the car park (well found Patrick!).
Hobbies - at least 2, possibly more, were putting on a fantastic show hunting dragonflies over the north brooks yesterday (best seen from Nettley's hide or Jupp's view). A marsh harrier was also seen hunting the brooks. Spotted flycatchers can be found nr Jupp's view and on the edge of the heath (nr the black pond). Lots of young birds are emerging from various sites around the trail - mostly blue and great tits, but there was a brood of flightless, clumsy and comical magpies nr the centre this morning. Judging by the noise coming from various nest sites, house sparrow fledglings will also be all around the visitor centre very soon. Young lapwings are present nr west mead hide and on the north brooks, and a pair of shelducks have 9 tiny ducklings in tow. A couple of male wigeon are still present. Nightingales (at least 3) were still singing well nr the visitor centre, along with garden warbler, blackcap and lesser whitethroat - I got a picture of one of the nightingales (see gallery).