All things told it's been a frustrating spring in many ways with plenty of good birds scattered about the county and none finding their way to the patch - or should I say none that I have found! Still there is a lot to be said for keeping trawling away in the hope of turning up something half decent and there is plenty to keep the amateur naturalist in me happy. Sunday was the best day of the bank holiday weekend by far in terms of both things to look at and weather. I have mentioned before that Brown Hares are my favorite British mammal so the two on Down level this weekend were especially welcome. Brown Hare is regular on the levels although I am not certain about whether they are resident, I see them frequently and since they are on the whole very secretive, it would not come as a surprise if they were. Unfortunately they are in serious decline and are second only to the Water Vole in terms of decline in numbers since the start of the 20th century with a decline of over 80%. Despite this they are the only British game species that does not have a close season.
Birds continue to be my main interest however and the Levels continue to sport plenty of summer migrants and year round residents. Whilst doing my WEBS count last weekend I took the opportunity to count up some Reed and Sedge Warbler territories on Down Level. Without covering the whole of the level I came up with 30 Reed territories against 7 Sedge, a ratio of about 4:1 which confirmed my general impressions. Another brood of Mallard was in evidence with 10 duckling while other resident/ visitor/ breeders that continue to be in evidence were Cetti's, Redshank, Little Egrets, Hobbies, Yellow Wagtails, Gadwall, Raven, Stock Dove, and Tree Sparrow.
On the insect front my first Variable Damselfly of the year were seen on Down level and Red-eyed Damselfly were on Horse-eye. Butterflies comprised my first Painted Lady of the year on White Dyke and Red Admiral was also seen.
During the quality sunshine on Sunday I also took an early evening potter around Park Corner in an unsuccessful attempt to see SPBF for the year. Whilst failing in my main mission there was plenty of interest with the best being a cracking female Broad-bodied Chaser posing for piccies, Speckled Yellow moths doing likewise, and several Brimstone including the male pictured nectaring on a late Bluebell.