Blimey, even the Green Sandpipers look grumpy - or at least the one Bazzo and I watched at Martin Mere yesterday afternoon did, as it picked at a muddy patch while good numbers of Swifts tazzed about overhead - are they moving already we wondered?
But it has to be said, high summer is kinda slow on the birding front - no winds for seawatching, although it wouldn't have been bad today if a tide of any decent size was on the cards.
Dunes quiet today, apart from an out of place Stock Dove in the frontals this afternoon and a few young Willow Warblers moving through.
Best look at bugs and stuff - plenty of Dune Helleborines coming into flower and a few Pyramidal Orchids finally starting to approach great big ice lolly proportions, while a quick gander at one of the slacks for dragons produced Emerald, Blue Tailed and Common Blue Damselflies and a fine male Black Tailed Skimmer.
Tried a shot of an Emerald male and managed possibly one of my worst dragonfly shots ever (and believe me, that's saying something).
A teneral Darter had me puzzled for a while - very small, and with solid black legs and slightly bulbous rear end, I though it might be Ruddy, but plumped for Common at the end of the day, especially after I bumped into Phil Smith and he pronounced on the pic.
Phil had scored the Red Veined Darters at Seaforth, so I must have a look round Sands Lake, even if water levels are a bit high - it'd be great to see those beauties there again.
As ever, he'd also been relishing some serious dragonfly violence, and caught the shot below in all its close up brutality.
Over to Phil....
Here is the female Emperor I mentioned. It looks to be eating a Common Darter.
Also some of Seaforth's giant Southern Marsh-orchids (max. 90cm or 36 inches tall!).
Keep a look out for Red-veined Darters!
Before I forget - don't miss Rich Steel's shots of Red Footed Falcon from Hungary, which I'll be posting soon.
Best. Pix. Ever.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...