It was very overcast for Thursday's visit to Brockadale. The visit didn't seem very promising as seen from the car park, but we were surrounded by sitting Yellowhammers, and Sonia was on hand he help me differentiate Salad Burnett from Greater Burnett in the future.
In the reserve itself things looked very quiet at first, as great areas of grass appeared to have been trampled underfoot. As there are no elephants or orcs in the area, I can only assume this was human damage.
Female Banded Demoiselle
As we headed down the slope Long-tailed Tits could be heard & a Kestrel apparently carrying something flew the opposite way to that which we were walking. Down by the river things were a little quiet, but a pair of male Blackcaps were duetting and a Himalyan Balsam has started to flower since our last visit.
Male Banded Demoiselle
We hadn't been going long when it was possible to spot a few Marbled Whites flitting amongst the grass. When our eyes became adjusted we could see that the whole grassy bank area was still alive with them. There were also a few Meadow Browns and Ringlets. Most of the Orchids had died back since last week, but a few Pyramidal Orchids were still in flower. The strange plant with the tiny white flower we'd seen along the first stretch is called a Gromwell.
The woodland was even quieter, but on our return journey we heard and then saw a Goldcrest, swiftly followed by a Treecreeper.
King Alfred's Cakes
In the open area we were able to spot 3 well grown Kestrel chicks in the entrance of the 'caverns' and the Little Owl was not too far away. He called quietly, but apparently sounded more like a chicken than an Owl! The owl was still calling in the afternoon, but an absolute gaggle of Magpies seemed to inhibit it from appearing in the open.