I have to admit that, after a late winter and early spring spent stomping the local patches, I was a little deflated. My efforts had resulted in scant reward and I fled to my adopted shingle kingdom on the SE Kent coast which saw me alright with a couple of beautiful White-winged Black Terns and a self-found adult Bonaparte's Gull (not to forget 25 Hobbys in the air together plus the normal breeding specialties). But it is as if the local patch knew of my dissatisfaction and decided to make it better this summer...
The weather has been very hit and miss here in Surrey - a long warm spell (indeed one very hot spell) punctuated by dull periods but not much rain. This has resulted in a good butterfly summer plus a spectacular flowering. I can honestly say that there have been natural history moments spent, not three miles from my home, which will long live in that 'greatest hits' memory bank stored in my head:
The mass emergence of Marbled Whites and Meadow Browns that shimmered over the sward early one morning.
The orchid fields of Park Downs where thousands of Pyramidals and hundreds of Bees made my year.
The discovery of a field on Epsom Downs that was full of arable botanical gems and had a procession of admirers.
More Kidney Vetch and Dropwort in flower than I've seen before.
Maybe these local places and their wonderful wildlife sensed my disquiet and decided to put on a show - it has been enjoyed immensely. I do not take for granted such wonders and can count myself lucky that I live in such a richly diverse area.
Just don't mention the birding...