Peace reigns over the Oyster beds as most of the gulls have left the breeding site and all that can be heard in the main now is the delightful chattering of the terns.  It's an opportunity to have a look at other areas of the reserve and with a large variety of flowers offering a rich source of nectar, the insects are the obvious place to start.  It's that time of the year again when Butterfly Conservation ask people to record and submit sightings of 20 specific species of butterflies and moths.  There is an app you can download or an ID chart to help you identify what you see, it just takes 15 minutes and they recommend you find a nice sunny spot, though it's fair to say with the dreary rain that's forecast, this week is not the perfect time, but you've got until the 6th August to have a go.  A couple of our lovely volunteers recently did a transect survey of several areas around the oyster beds, they recorded 14 of the 20 odd species we get on the reserve and their tally over an hour and fifteen minutes was 190!  It's amazing considering so much of the reserve was flooded during the storm surge in 2014, but nature bounces back and the display of wildflowers this year is abundant.  I wish I could find you a 'before and after' photograph, to show the damage that was done, but you'll just have to settle for the after.

Not that long ago this had all been swept away in a storm and was just a sludgy mess

You can see how abundant the pollen rich flowers are, just look at this red-tailed bumblebee, he's really gone to town and got completely covered - greedy if you ask me!

I promise you this has not been photoshopped!

But there's plenty to go round, so it's okay to share.

Marbled white butterfly and a six-spot burnet moth

There was quite an abundance of the six-spots on this particular day, they are very distinct and very lovely day-flying moths, their caterpillars favour common birds-foot trefoil, which is plentiful on the reserve, so it's no surprise that they're around in good numbers.  Clearly love was in the air too!

We've mentioned litter before, it's a bit of an ongoing battle what with the sea and those who think nothing of leaving their litter behind.  Last Saturday the weather was atrocious with howling wind and rain, however 9 lovely, dedicated souls braved the onslaught and came out to help us tidy up.  As usual we filled several rubbish bags of mainly plastics and retrieved among other things, an aluminium crutch!  Strange, did somebody have an epiphany at the reserve!  Anyway, that's a lot of junk that won't be floating around in the sea anymore, so, job well done folks, thank-you.

It won't be long now before we are able to give you our final total's for the breeding season.  I'll leave that one for Wez, so watch this space, I'm sure the news will be exciting!