With the Olympic torch tour reaching Essex today and heavy rain also forecast for the area we head for drier regions and find ourselves at Minsmere.
We arrive at 7.30am and head down past the new shop and find that there's plenty of activity at the Sand Martin colony, with the heads of the youngsters clearly visible in the nest holes as the parents return with food. Along the footpath leading to the beach there's Reed Warblers and Bearded Tits a plenty.
Entering the East Hide there's a lot of gulls and terns on view. Black-headed Gulls and Common Terns are the species in the biggest numbers. A group of thirty plus Avocets are present, with Black-tailed Godwits among them. Barnacle Geese and Redshanks are also on show.
A Buzzard is spotted high above the distant trees and with a Honey Buzzard having been reported in the area recently we give it an extra close look. We have to agree though that it's only a Common.
Three Marsh harriers are seen over the reedbeds and Brian picks out a Common Sandpiper feeding at the edge of one of the scrapes.
Moving on to the Public viewing platform we get excellent views of three Spotted Redshanks looking good in their black summer plumage. Dunlin, Ringed Plover and several Sandwich Terns are also added before I find a Little Tern sitting among them.
Swallows are present around the sluice gates and Whitethroats and Cetti's Warblers are in the surrounding scrub.
Further along the path we spot a Hobby overhead. It gives great views as it flies low over the water and picks insects off the surface.
More Marsh Harriers are seen and the sight of a Bittern flying across the reeds is a nice bonus.
With no new additions to the bird year list, It's time to find some butterflies. We walk round to the wooded area and out into the more open areas quickly spotting Ringlets, Red Admiral, Small and Large Skippers. Brian walks off ahead and spots an Adder curled up in the sun. It quickly moves off into thicker vegetation as Brian approaches, Later to be seen again on the return route.
A Speckled Wood is added to the butterfly list, and there's a Blue-bodied Dragonfly and a Ruddy Darter to add to the species list.
No new birds added but still a very enjoyable morning.