I ventured back into the home county yesterday but misjudged the weather and although it did not rain, I was not expecting the continuous buffeting from the south westerly gale and leaden skies.
However I persevered and made it to Maldon for a walk along the Chelmer up to Beeleigh Weir and back. It was very cool and I was not overly surprised by the lack of insect life. I did manage to find Red-eyed, Azure and Blue-tailed Damsels but nothing bigger at all.
Eristalis tenax, pertinax and arbustorum were on the Hogweed heads along with a few Episyrphus balteatus and a few Greenbottles but nothing more and I saw not one butterfly.
The riverside was verdant and some blooms were new for the season for me with Great Willowherb, Purple Loosestrife, Meadowsweet and Hemp Agrimony all out but insectless while Yellow Water Lilies were at various stages of pre, present and post flowering.
|Purple Loosestrife and Episyrphus balteatus|
The tide was completely out at the weir and a solitary Common Tern patrolled the river.
|Woodpigeon down for a drink|
Two female Goldeneyes dived with the moulting Tufties just a short way out amongst the flotilla of Canada Geese while swarms of Sand Martins followed each other round as if connected by an invisible rubber band.
|Egyptian Geese are now a permenant feature here|
But it was all about the Swifts with thousands scattered across the reservoir as far as you could see. It was far too windy to do any serious scanning for anything abnormal so I concentrated on trying to takes some shots as they hurtled low over the road and my head, turning ludicrously sharp circles and switchbacks with mouths agape for anything caught in the swirling air.
|All the specks are Swifts...|
|Common Swifts - all single shot mode with the Sony RX10 mkIV. And who says you can't take flightshots with a Bridge camera?|
After forty-odd years of birding this spectacle never ceases to make me smile.
From here I had a quick check of the Layer de la Haye before aborting mission and slowly wending my way back south passing two singing male Corn Buntings on the roadside just before Goldhanger.
I dropped in at a couple of garden centres before getting to Canvey and deciding that it would be pointless to even go and look for ditch damsels and so left, content with two tussling juvenile Peregrines and a host of Med Gulls.