Firstly , thank you to Ken/Focusing On Wildlife for identifying the small colourful spider on the Ox-eye Daisy head , on Saturday's post . It is a female Araniella cucurbitina , one of the smallest of the Orb Web spiders , Cheers Ken .
With visiting in the morning and rain all afternoon , much needed as it was , I didn't get out yesterday , and with more rain this morning , I thought today was going to be a repeat performance . But , just before lunchtime , the rain did stop , but it was still very overcast . Regardless , I needed to get out , so after lunch I headed for the Farm pond , thinking that if the rain returned , I wouldn't be caught out . I must admit that the lake didn't look very inviting , and at first glance , the only interest were the Coots , with each adult seemingly in charge of half the family each , some able to dive for themselves , but all willing to beg from the adult for an easy meal . But , I was sure that I could hear other calls behind the calls of the juvenile Coots . It took two laps of the lake before I pinned down where the other calls were coming from , and finally located the nest of the Little Grebe , which I had been looking for since the pair 'went into hiding' . Just an adult was seen at first , but then a movement behind that adult revealed the probable source of the calls . After a while , the adult moved off the nest to reveal three little balls of fluff . I noticed that the adult was now diving for food , so moved the camera and tripod into a position to view the open water side of the Bullrushes , and the first return of the adult brought all three youngsters into view . The other adult also started bringing food , and from nowhere , I noticed a fourth youngster in the frame . Well , that's got to be it I thought , but no , a short while later , the fifth , and final youngster appeared . One thing's for sure , the two adults are going to be kept busy .
Sure now of the family size , I went on a walk around the lake , as much to warm up again as anything . In one of the other reedbeds , this Moorhen was either practicing the high jump or catching insects on the reeds . A very brief thinning of the clouds , allowing the warmth of the sun to be felt , encouraged a Meadow Brown and this male Large Skipper to emerge , but as quickly as the warmth was felt , it was gone again behind another grey veil . A pure white Common Spotted Orchid was found on the far bank , and just before leaving the site , this Black-tailed Skimmer was probably ruing not having emerged last week , when temperatures were much more favourable , still clasping onto it's exuvia , underneath a Cornus/Dogwood leaf . The exuvia was the outer skin of it's larval period under water , and having emerged from that water , it is pumping fluid into it's abdomen and wings . Hopefully tomorrow's weather will prove better for it's maiden flight .
My Warden has asked me to change my workdays up on the Greensand Ridge to Wednesday and Thursday , so I too will be hoping for better weather tomorrow .