It was a morning for old friends at Leam Valley, finding some of the more elusive residents which I see infrequently enough for each sighting to make a red letter day.
The first were the two Kingfishers which flashed by in front of the hide. One returned moments later to sit on a nearby pole for a quick photo opportunity. Sadly, poor light and little time made for a poor photo, but a nice memory nevertheless.
Second was a female Sparrowhawk which dashed across the path in front of me as I left the hide. I got only the briefest of glimpses, but the long brown hooped tail that sped away from me was unmistakeable.
Third was a Blackcap, a brown-headed female in this case, but it is months since I have seen either gender of this lovely little warbler in Warwickshire. And finally, I heard a Garden Warbler - a bird almost impossible to see since it likes to hide deep within the scrub, singing long and loud.
These encounters helped make for a pleasant morning, despite the weather. August has been a much-needed wet month, and although it is not yet officially autumn, this morning felt like it. A little too warm perhaps, but grey and drab, the view across the Leam Valley scrape an unrelenting duotone of muted green and brown (interupted only by the purple loosestrife, an occasional flash of purple-blue speculum from an eclipse-Mallard, or a fly-past by my friends the Kingfishers).
Among the other highlights of the morning were four Great Spotted Woodpeckers (one sitting opposite me for 15 or more minutes), several Green Woodpeckers, a Jay, plenty of Goldcrest, a female Blackcap, Swallows and House Martins, two Buzzards (one mobbed briefly by 60 or more Greenfinches), and a shoal of perhaps 30 chub, some up to 40cms long, sliding elegantly along the river shallows en masse.