A beautiful morning clouded over the second I climbed on my bike, which is typical. As soon as the sun came out when I arrived on site, I took my shirt off in the heat and immediately attracted every biting insect within 132 miles. This is also typical.
What was not typical was seeing lots of interesting things before I even got to the hide. The air was alive with damsel and dragon flies, in particular some very vivid red specimens. Not so many butterflies now, but a peacock was on the path, unusual for me to see one here.
And on Lake 2, an Egret was settled on the bank, had a good watch through my field glasses at this pure white elegant little heron, sinuously striding about looking for fish and frogs.
It would have had more chance there than on the main reed bed by the hide, because the water level there is really low. A rather landlocked swan was just about visible behind the hedge, and no herons anywhere - water level must be too low. But another Egret was visible in the middle of the bed, and a little later another one was stalking in front of where the RSPB hut used to be! They've moved it!
One thing I've learned to do, is now pay attention to the ground and the hedges behind me, as well as the reed bed. Well worth it too, as today lots of Small Blue Butterflies, these little flying parma violets were feeding on the birds foot trefoil. Far too wary little things to let me get near enough to photograph them though!
Again there was a Common Blue Damselfly, but a short time later, I spotted an unfamiliar specimen of similar size but with a mainly blue black abdomen with a neon blue tip at the end. Research indicates that this was a blue tailed damselfly.
They are all blue somethings, aren't they?
And back on the path on the way back up, I was able to get a decent look at the red dragonflies that were so numerously out today. One landed nearby, wings spread, not folded. Definitely a dragonfly then. I vaguely remembered about certain darter species being this vivid red colour, and indeed I believe it to have been a Common Darter. I think I saw a broad bodied chaser as well, despite the RSPB reckoning they aren't common at Langford, and there a few of the big ones that look like WW1 Albatros D5 german biplanes. Emperors?
All these dragonflies about must have been the reason I finally got a chance to see today's main attraction...