The warm weather this week has meant that the grassy verges around the site have been humming with insect life. Lots of butterflies (brown hairstreaks, gatekeepers, meadow browns, small coppers, whites, red admirals, common blue etc), and of course grasshoppers and crickets. Below is a speckled bush cricket that I found on the heath yesterday.
The wood sandpiper was seen again on the north brooks today, plus a couple of black-tailed godwits. Duck and geese number are slowly building with ca.350 mallard on the north brooks, a few teal and shoveler and at least one (very early) wigeon. Birds of prey of the last few days have included a flyover osprey on a couple of occasions, buzzards, hobby and red kite. A few willow warblers, blackcaps and other migrants are starting to appear in the hedges/scrub suggesting a bit of autumn passage.
The black pond was great for various dragonflies and damselflies again today - black darters can be found there amongst several commoner species. I managed to find a single small red damselfly.There was also an impressive grass snake (I guessed about 80cm long) with a conspicuous bump in its middle in the edge of a pond on the heath. It was lurking in the shallow water, and despite grass snakes apparently being one of the wariest and least approachable creatures in the universe, it allowed me within about 2m before swimming off rather slowly. Perhaps it was too full to go very fast, or it was worried it might sink.