© 2014 by Barbara Copperthwaite.

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A drop of sunshine


A Blue Tit drifted into the tree above me, and disappeared into the shade of the leaves, no doubt trying to find somewhere to dry off after yet another shower. Within minutes the sun had made a welcome appearance again, though, and as if by magic it brought with it two Commas by Henbury Pond. They made the most of the warmth by mating on a nearby bramble leaf.

In the meantime, the Moorhen family made the most of the sun to busy themselves with feeding their single chick, which is growing rapidly. All three of them dabbled contentedly among the lilies, dipping their heads beneath the surface periodically then resurfacing with a tasty piece of water weed. They have also built themselves a new nest in which to sun themselves, weather permitting. The delicate but slightly messy construction sits on the lily pads, and is a wonderful location for them to watch the world go by.

While the sun was out, it truly was glorious. The rain and relatively chilly temperatures have definitely played havoc with some butterflies and insects – and I’m seeing far fewer dragonflies this year than last in the park.

Still, as I looked around, I was glad to see many more Large Whites in the park than I have so far this season, and Green-Veined Whites seem fairly abundant too. Above them, and indeed below, chattered Magpies, which unlike many breeds of bird at this time of year, do not seem to be suffering their annual moult in silence. The Crows are still very much in evidence too; incidentally, over on the Go Be Wild Facebook page I’ve shared an incredible video of a Crow solving an eight-piece puzzle in order to get to some food. They are famously intelligent birds, but this is an incredible display, and well worth you popping over to Facebook to have a look.

With a cautious look at some dark clouds that were starting to threaten, I moved through the beech copse and just as I popped out at the back of it, I was lucky enough to see a large blue dragonfly: a Common Hawker, I would hazard, although it was hard to tell as it didn’t land and there was by now no trace of sun (in fact, in the space of just a few minutes it had gone positively dark). It darted around the Himalayan Balsam and then went up to tree level, flying fast and strong this way and that.

As quickly as it had appeared though, it disappeared, and despite waiting I didn’t see any further trace of it. Caught in that bittersweet feeling of delight at seeing it and sadness at not being able to watch it for longer, I finally moved on. Past the pond below the balcony, and then through a path cut through the tall brambles. The sun was once again out and suddenly strong – and thanks to that, the air suddenly filled with the mouth-watering smell of ripe raspberries. I was totally surrounded by it, and it really hit me in the back of my mouth. Wonderful! I’ve just harvested some of the raspberries in my own garden, and I hope the birds and animals enjoy these as much as I enjoyed mine.

#bluetit #comma #moorhen #largewhitebutterfly #greenveinedwhite #magpie #crow #commonhawker

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