It was a good call to cancel volunteering today , as the morning started with constant drizzle , interspersed by heavy downpours . These conditions continued until lunchtime , when a ribbon of blue sky showed up in the South-west , which came tantalisingly close many times , but didn't reach overhead until an hour later .
That was my nod to get out , and headed first to the Farm Lake . Very quiet on my arrival , with a noticeable increase in the water level following the recent rains . Nothing unusual on the water , but around the bank , at least 20 pairs of Common Darter were making the most of the weather , mating and ovipositing . There must have been the same number again of single males , many trying to muscle in on the tandem pairs . Two male Migrant Hawkers were also recorded , each patrolling their preferred lily pad . Only birds of interest were a juvenile Grey Heron that flew in as I was leaving , and a Swallow overhead , heading South . A single Large White was also recorded .
Then on to Salt Box Hill , below Biggin Hill Airport . Contractors were working on one area , clearing more trees and scrub and burning off the brash on a fire , so I concentrated on the other area . Three species of butterfly , Comma , Speckled Wood and Brimstone were recorded , which sounds reasonable , but it was a single sighting of each species that went into the book . As it happens , the most numerous species recorded , two , was the Silver Y moth , which I thought would have migrated back to warmer climes by now . Those that stay too long will be killed off by the first Autumnal frosts . Very little colour remains , the odd stand of Common Centaury andYellow-wort , an odd Greater Knapweed flower and several Small Scabious , pictured , is all that is left now , amongst the Marjoram seed heads . The flowers on the Traveller's Joy/ Old Man's Beard have also gone , to be replaced by the seed heads that give Clematis vitaiba it's second common name .
And finally , a view along the slope of Salt Box Hill , where the Dartmoor ponies were forraging , and beyond on the skyline , Canary Wharf and it's adjacent towers , looking quite close , but actually some 10/12 miles away .
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