Anthea, our Monday morning Visitor Centre volunteer had a surprise today as she stood outside the building, when a two foot grass snake slithered across the path towards the heath. There have been a few sightings here lately -I even managed to see one myself!
The spotted flycatchers are settling down to raise their second brood, with the adult (s) on the nest in the broken birch, on the left of the track, not far after the first gate on the way to the hide. As I chatted to a couple of photographers at this site today, another spotted flycatcher family were calling and feeding in trees a few yards up the track, so you are almost guaranteed a sighting at the moment.
It's a much better year for butterflies, with15 species seen during one lunch time by staff member Mark Ward, who noted that it's probably the most he'd ever seen here in one day. The line up included silver-washed fritillary in the woods not far from the owl memorial, 3 purple hairstreaks (one in a favoured clearing in the woods, one that landed and showed well in an oak at the bottom of the old heath and one, unusually, in grass - seemingly blown down by the strong wind), along with Essex skipper and 3 marbled whites.
Local artist Steve Kershaw will be painting the wildlife of The Lodge and showing his artwork here on Sun 13 July.Steve will be set up outside The Visitor Centre between 11 am and 3 pm (weather dependent) and have framed originals, prints and cards for sale , so come along and say hello and take a look at his great art work.