I'm just back from a long week away at a major music festival. When I say away, I mean in a tent less than 10 miles from home, surrounded by thousands of other families, with long queues for the showers, loud music until the early hours, and an amazing array of entertainment for all interests - rock, pop, gospel, soul, dance and folk music from upcoming bands and chart-toppers alike, comedy, theatre, dance, lectures, kids activities, fairground rides and food from around the globe. Despite living so close to the Latitude Festival, this was our first visit, and it was certainly enjoyable.
As anyone who has attended any large festival will know, though, one thing that is not in abundance is sleep. It was certainly good to get into our own beds last night and have a lovely cleansing shower this morning, helping us to face world in a less comatose state.
Why am I telling you this? Because the arrival of hot sunny weather today has left many of the birds on the Scrape in a similarly sleepy state, taking the opportunity to rest, preen and tidy up their plumage before feeding again as cooler weather returns overnight.
Black-headed and Mediterranean gulls (rear island) and black-tailed godwits (front)
Many of the avocets, in particular, were very sleepy today.
Some were at least preening close to East Hide
So, too, were several black-tailed godwits. As I lined up a photo, this one was joined by a common sandpiper that bucked the trend as it fed actively along th ewater's edge.
This green sandpiper was also feeding along the same edge of the same island, allowing a good close comparison.
The most active of the waders on the Scrape, like the two sandpipers, were those that were busy refuelling during their long migration from the Arctic to West Africa, such as spotted redshanks, ruffs, dunlins and a lovely curlew sandpiper that remained just too far away to photograph.
Most of the ducks on the Scrape are mid-moult, having already lost their bright breeding plumage, and were taking a well deserved rest. These include teal, shoveler, gadwall, juvenile shelducks (the adults have flown to Holland to moult) and mallards, like this lovely female.
It was good to see a few kititwakes still present on the Scrape after their failed breeding attempt, and even better to see several juvenile little terns fishing on East Scrape alongside their larger common cousins.
Even the bigger birds were resting in the heat, like this grey heron sitting among the marsh mallow.
As is usual at this time of year, my walk back was disrupted by insects, including this beautiful hoverfly feeding on a hogweed flower.
There were several six-spot burnet moths along North Wall, and Digger Alley was as busy as usual with the comings and goings of beewolves, green-eyed flower-bees and ruby-tailed wasps, but I'll finish with this gorgeous goldfinch that, just for a change, distracted me from insect watching in Digger Alley.
Finally, if you are visiting this week, please bring suncream, a hat and, most importantly, plenty of drink - you can refill your bottles in the cafe, too.
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