After all the excitement of recent days , it was back to the mundane things of life today , like taking Carol to do the monthly shopping , but , before that I did spend an hour or so up on the Common , hoping for another meeting in the early morning light with the Purple Hairstreaks . Trouble was that no one told the PHs , as the only ones I saw , about 10 in total , were high up in the Oaks , seemingly unwilling this morning for a photo shoot . The usual more common species were recorded , along with a single Marbled White , the first recorded on the site this year , still warming up amongst the grass . A single , very fresh , second brood Holly Blue was also recorded , but quickly disappeared over a high fence .
After the shopping and a quick coffee , I headed for the Farm lake , taking advantage of the sunshine . Still no sign of the Little Grebes at all , and the 'Coot 8' are still intact . Still not great numbers of Odonata , but several of the bays had male Emperors patrolling their territories . Black-tailed Skimmer numbers seemed lower as was any mating activity , with most males perched over their patch , waiting to drive off intruders . Around the banks , Purple Loosestrife/Lythrum salicaria is starting to flower , which will boost nectar sources now that the masses of Ox-eye Daisies have gone over . As will Wild Carrot/Daucus carota , one of the many umbellifers found around the lake , and a magnet for many of the smaller insects . I meant to mention on yesterday's post that I found my first Gatekeeper whilst searching for the Black Hairstreak , and today three more were recorded , all males , identified by the dark sex brand on the top of the forewing . In the quietest corner of the lake , I found one of three female Emperors , two of which were ovipositing , secreting their eggs singly into vegetation around the shallow , warm edges . She was very mobile depositing her eggs over a large area , whilst I stood quietly watching her . Eventually she chose a spot directly in front of me , giving a good view of the dark dorsal marking running the length of her abdomen , the only dragonflies to be so marked . Still lots of newly emerged Common Darters amongst the vegetation , but only small numbers of Common Blue , Azure and Blue-tailed Damselflies were recorded . The lady of the house came down for a chat and invited me to go up to the stables where the Swallows are nesting if I wanted to before leaving , which I duly did . On the way up the drive , two juvenile Jays were on the verge and I slowed to get a shot , even though I still had the 100mm. lens on the camera . I tried to get close but every time I crept forward 5 metres , they flew back 6 metres , and one flew off . This was the best I got of the one that remained . Arriving at the stables , I set up the tripod at the stable door , but there wasn't much action at the nest , which has been used for at least the last 4 years . Eventually , two little heads peeped over the edge to see what was going on . A few times adults did come to the nest , but not with food in their bills , even though the youngsters were begging . On other occasions , the adult would just hover in front of the nest , then perch and watch the actions of the youngsters . Then different tactics , as the adult landed next to the nest , calling constantly . That too was followed by perching some way away and watching again . Those two youngsters looked ready to fledge to me , and I think that the adults were trying to encourage the pair out of the nest and into the wide world outside . As I packed up to go home for lunch , the two youngsters were still entrenched in the nest , still begging for food . I don't think that they will still be there tomorrow though .