What was looking like a quiet evening on the patch picked up considerably as I made my way round the circular trail by now so familiar.
A Chiffchaff was the lone songster by the river, and Swallows were a welcome site over at Wood's End. The lagoon was quiet, the resident wildfowl loafing on the low level of water. The Shelduck family are still hosting their Egyptian Goose shadow, and the female Tufted Duck has managed to hold onto 6 young. 3 other pairs of Tuftie were present, new arrivals. 3 Lapwing were on or around the lagoon and a single chick is hanging on!
A noisy Kingfisher on the reserve was always going to get the pulse rate going, not only because its a Kingfisher (!) but because they have been a difficult bird to come by on the patch. The noise was coming from the firing range, and although only brief flight views were obtained the bird may have a nest on the steep muddy bank usually used for target practise. Not the safest place to raise a family, if indeed that is the case. It may be a young bird exploring territory, but the brief views and calls said adult to me.
More noise from the pinewoods, this time young Sparrowhawks, and a male carrying food confirmed my thoughts. Waiting for him to reappear, I scanned the trees at the foot of the ruins. A dash of silver in the canopy and I was onto a colony of skittish Purple Hairstreak Butterflies! The odd good view of a male at rest, what a pretty insect. Does give one neck ache, though.