© 2014 by Barbara Copperthwaite.

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Sunshine & nature spotting

Before I’d even arrived at Highbury Park a dozen Swifts had soared above my head, making their shrieking call; I had a feeling today was going to be a good day for nature spotting. The minute I arrived inside the boundary a couple of Speckled Wood butterflies danced by – this year seems to have been a really good one for them.

Walking on, I looked up into the branches of a horse chestnut, and almost bouncing from branch to branch was a pair of Jays. They are normally quite secretive birds, but today perhaps the sun was putting them in as good a mood as everyone else because instead of peeking furtively from beneath leaves they chased one another in flirty fashion, or sometimes paused to pose for me. Grey Squirrels, Crows and Magpies watched the spectacle too, and a little further away I spotted a Blackcap flit into a bush.

The sun had brought out clouds of Common Blue Damselflies too. They skimmed over the surface of the small pond, changing direction in the blink of an eye, but often landing to bask on a leaf to get properly warmed up. The occasional Large Red Damselfly joined them.

The Moorhen family were seemingly oblivious to the aerial spectacle going on right before their eyes, more intent instead on feeding the young chicks up. All around me were the sounds of different birds, enveloping me in nature even though I'm just minutes from a busy high street. Blackbird, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Wren, and so many more could be heard; it was truly wonderful and utterly relaxing.

After watching for a good twenty minutes or so, fascinated by the pond’s goings on and the sounds around me, I moved on and had another sneaky peak at the Tree Bumblebees. That is what I am now totally convinced they are. They are smallish, have a large orange section, then black body and are tipped either palest yellow or white (if I ever saw one landing anywhere I’d be able to tell better, but they always seem to be in flight!). I had a quick shout out on Twitter too, and the general consensus was in agreement. So that’s another mystery solved…hopefully!