Saturday, 22 June 2013

An overdue visit to the London Wetland Centre

The weather forecast for today was sun and showers, so thinking I could shelter in one of the many hides at the London Wetland Centre when it rained, but be out looking for damselflies when it was sunny, I headed down there first thing today.
The weather forecast was wrong. It did lightly rain on a couple of occasions, but the sun barely shone at all. Add to that a very blustery wind and it all made for a very poor photographic day. Hardly any damselflies were out today, and the ones I could find I had trouble photographing due to the wind blowing the reeds around. So here's the best of the mess.....
Azure Damselfly
Blue-tailed Damselfly
Initially I had several more photos, including one of a Large Red caught and trapped in a spiders web, and of a pair of Azures mating......but somehow over 25 of the 110 photos I edited today, have failed to upload. I hope this isn't a signal that my old camera could be on its last legs.
From the Peacock tower you could see the Mute Swan family with its record breaking eleven cygnets. Trying to get them all into one photo was challenging enough.
The Summer Route is closed for a short while, but for a good reason. For the first time a pair of Sparrowhawks have nested on site. I did get two glancing glimpses of the female coming up high above the trees around that area, but wasn't quick enough to photograph it.
En route to the Wildside hide, I found this beautiful Bee Orchid. The area has been clearly marked so everyone can enjoy it. It currently has three open flowers with another two buds.
Once in the Wildside hide I was kept amused for some time watching the Swifts and Martins swooping low down over the marshes. This Canada Goose popped up in front of the hide window. The grass is so long I didn't see it sneak up on me.
There was a showy Cormorant too.
As the weather was so gloomy, I gave up on my quest to find damselflies and settled myself in the Waderscrape hide to hopefully get a close up view of one of the juvenile Redshanks.
The juvenile is in the bottom corner, with a blurred image of an adult in the top corner.
After much waiting, one of the juveniles came right out into the open, and right in from of the hide, but the light was so dreadful, that although I was getting plenty of close up photos, I had to seriously lighten the image below.
Juv. Redshank
Adult Redshank
A lovely little juvenile Lapwing also appeared.
On the way back to the exit I could hear a Great Spotted Woody calling, and found this youngster by the bird feeders.
There was plenty more to see. There are still Mallards with ducklings, and the Tufted Ducks have started showing off their little broods too. Juvenile Herons can be seen, and there are young Black-headed gulls on some of the tern rafts, along with at least two Common Terns on nests as well. Lots of Chaffinch, Blue Tit and Great Tit families were on the bird feeders by the Explore area, plus I got a lovely close up view of a Greenfinch on the bird feeder next to the Headley hide.
So not a great day, but not a bad one either. I was really disappointed with the weather. It felt more like March than June today. I didn't see one butterfly all day long. And I'm also a little concerned my camera decided to play up when I tried to upload my pics. Here's hoping there's a few more months life in it, as I cant afford to buy another one just yet. But it was also nice to see some old familiar faces today as well. Gary and Andy were putting me to shame with their super-duper camera equipment, Laurence was out with a group on one of the LWC walk and talks, and Martin and Charles popped in for the afternoon. Hopefully I can get back there next weekend, and hopefully the weather will start behaving like it should be at this time of year !

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