Next up were small family parties of Whitethroat and Willow Warbler, hard to see in the scrub. The plaintive piping of Bullfinches betrayed their unseen presence. At the new slow-flow water course, there was another group of juvenile birds, perhaps grouped together for security - or just adolescents hanging out together!
They included, at least Whitethroat, Willow Warbler and Blue Tits, and scattered off through the bushes as we watched. Diggle Flash was noisy with Herring and Lesser Black Backed Gulls, and a Common Tern called, but must have been seen off before we got there.
Centaury is such a subtle little thing normally, but today was the star of the show in many places, understudied by Eyebright and the various mosses that retain moisture on those barren places.
And further on, in the dark wooded recesses, the Broad Leaved Helleborines were there and in flower. Our contortions to try to get pictures were worthy of some other botanical photographers we know, but owing to the Deep Darkness, didn't quite cut the mustard.
I was "made up" on the way round the new footpath, when I caught the reeling of a Grasshopper Warbler - we didn't see him, but you can't take your hearing for granted nowadays! As the day heated up, we made a beeline for Fir Tree and the car, and had a pleasant chat with Hamish before we departed.
Now: was that a Marbled White Butterfly that flew past while we talked? Just a fleeting glimpse, and no photo .... not a certain ID for sure, but I hope so.
Dr. Paul Richardson
L.O.S. Conservation Officer