Hello and welcome to another blog from Greylake, West Sedgemoor and Swell Wood, with a guest appearance from RSPB Aylesbeare in Devon.

Yes, this week I spent three days down at Aylesbeare learning how to drive a tractor. That way I can contribute more to the essential work programme here, which involves quite a bit of tractor work in the late summer and early autumn. I'm pleased to say I passed the course but there will still be lots to learn about using the tractor here. They are very complicated machines which do a lot of different jobs so I will work closely with more experienced operators until I know what I'm doing.

I went for a walk on the heath at Aylesbeare on Tuesday evening and it was looking very beautiful. At this time of year, the heather is all in bloom and some of the gorse too, and the purple and yellow compliment each other perfectly, especially in the summer sunshine.

Back here, I spent most of Thursday at Greylake, strimming the path and painting some of the signs. If you've been to Greylake recently, you may have noticed that our wooden trailside signs have rather faded and you can't read the information very easily. It's been on my to do list for ages but with other jobs and the weather, I hadn't managed to get to it. Well on Thursday afternoon I finally started them, and managed to finish two, so only six or seven left. I thought they looked much better afterwards so I hope you enjoy reading them.



Because I didn't have a lot of time out on the reserves this week, I thought I'd have a peek round the garden on Friday morning for some photos. It was a very warm morning and the butterflies were taking full advantage. We have a couple of buddleia bushes in the garden and they were absolutely covered.

  Red admiral

  Small tortoiseshell

  Comma (sorry for the blurriness, the camera focused on the flowers, and then it flew away so I couldn't try again)

I also saw meadow brown, silver-washed fritillary, whites (I think all three species but not sure), holly blue (I think), and speckled wood (down at the wild end). So maybe ten different species in a few minutes. Not bad.

The bees were also enjoying the flowers, particularly these tall purple Echinops or globe thistles.

It's great to see so many insects in the garden. I hope your gardens are just as full and you are enjoying them in this gorgeous sunshine.

A quick update from the nests. The pied wagtail chicks are doing well and have been around regularly. The swallows are having yet another go at nesting. The adults are back on the original nest. Apparently last year it was into September before they fledged their final brood so they seem to be going the same way this year. It's great to see them doing so well.

Until next week,


P.S. All photos by my.