It was a bit of last minute decision, but such a crystal day, warm but blustery, made me feel guilty not to head out on a "scientific mission" to RSPB Langford Lowfields.
This was a decision I perhaps regretted as a cold Northerly wind blasted into my face as I set out, but I soon settled into a rhythym. Felt refreshed as I hit the quiet country lanes, good to see all manner of folk enjoying the good weather. Best of all was an octagenarian lady on rather posh retro tricycle!
As I turned onto the off road section of the Sustrans 64, it was evident that dragonflies, which in my usual haunts have become a little scarce, were around in large numbers out here - blood red common darters were scattered in great numbers as I rode on. And as I entered the reserve proper, beautiful blue migrant hawkers joined them, performing at high level rather than the ground level manouvers of the darters.
And there were more visible from the hide, my favourite place of solitude within ten miles, although when I arrived a couple with a large labrador afraid I was going to steal his ball . But birds, well it was various brown ducks and coots I'm afraid, with a solitary egret visible across the other side of the bed. But there were plentiful insects, and the feeder was being visited by chaffinch, great tits and blue tits. The darters were almost frenzied in their behaviour, there was some mating going on and some vigorous fighting too. By contrast the migrant hawkers were serene in their comings and goings.
A solitary comma fed off the flowers behind the hide, fresh and unusually tidy for this most raggedy of butterflies.
I didn't stay long, I had a busy day to get on with. Meaning I got to see a kestrel, one of several out hunting, hovering over the path near the entrance pond, and the sun shone as I headed home, probably my last visit for a while. Roll on spring!