Today, Bev and I decided to pop to the nearby Grimley gravel pits for a walk. The previous day the guy who works it as his local patch (Brian Stretch) had recorded a small number of migrant Red-veined Darter dragonflies there. Unfortunately we we had been busy on bank holiday Monday and I was unable to pop down to see them. The weather was far less favourable today being cold, grey and windy, which wasn't particularily conducive for inverts of any description. Needless to say we didn't see a single dragonfly, damselfly or butterfly. Still Grimley is an interesting place and there is usually something of interest.
We arrived at the north end of the Camp Lane pits and began walking the footpath that takes you past the new lagoons. Nearby a pair of Mute Swans were busy protecting and looking after two very downy looking cygnets and on the flooded middle section there were two Redshank busily feeding amongst the Juncus.
One of the things that really struck us with the walk was how high the water level was on the main pit. All the islands were submerged so there was none of the usual breeding Common Terns, Oystercatchers and nesting Great Crested Grebes. Although in places Coots nests could be seen hanging on bank side vegetation. A pair of Great Crested Grebes were present but not nesting and 2 Little Grebes were also noted. From one of the reeded areas a Reed Warbler was heard calling.
The undoubted highlight though was the sheer numbers of House Martins and Sand Martins that were hawking for insects low over the water and whilst we were stood on the causeway very close past our heads...such fantastically agile little birds! On the walk back I even managed to record some video footage of 2 adults and a juvenile Sand Martin preening whilst perched on the nearby fence wires.
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