Brian was joined by Chris and Diane for a walk that lasted all of three hours. There was a light northerly breeze taking the edge off the temperature on an otherwise bright, sunny morning that became increasingly overcast as we set off from the car park in Ridgeway Lane. The route taken was a rough figure-of-eight, starting in the formality of Woodside Gardens, into Woodside Park, onto Normandy Marsh via Woodside Lane and Maiden Lane, then Normandy Lane via The Pinckney Path, Maiden Lane, Poles Lane and back into Woodside Park and our starting point.
We re-visited the Green-winged Orchids in Woodside Lane that were now putting on a spectacular show with c100 flower spikes.
In Maiden Lane Diane glimpsed the only butterfly that we saw all morning - a Speckled Wood - but various bumblebees and other flying insects were active.
The water level in Normandy Lagoon was very low but there was plenty of activity amongst the Avocets, Little Terns and Common Terns which will all, hopefully, breed successfully this year. An Oystercatcher may also have been on eggs and the Redshanks were actively "courting".
There were two Bar-tailed Godwits (still in pale winter plumage) in company with a Black-tailed Godwit (in full summer plumage) for comparison.
Probably the highlight of the morning came when two male and one female Eider appeared close offshore in the vicinity of Aden Bank with much diving and posturing.
joined there by a group led by Graham Giddens and Chris was able to alert them to the
Spotted Redshank that was transitioning into its breeding plumage which we had just been watching in the nearby channel.
Near the yacht haven we could hear Reed Warblers and had an excellent view of a singing Whitethroat.
Returning along Normandy Lane we saw four Roe Deer, a male Bullfinch and a Green
Woodpecker and then saw a male and female Blackcap and Chiffchaff in Maiden Lane..
Birds weren't the only things of interest: Bulbous Buttercup, Red Campion, Common Fumitory, Cuckooflower, Garlic Mustard, Spotted Medick, Red Clover, Herb Robert, Cow Parsley, Green Alkanet, Lords-and-Ladies, Bluebell, Red Dead-nettle, Groundsel and Greater Stitchwort were all seen.
One oak sapling was plagued with at least two galls courtesy of the larvae of gall wasps.
There were birds, flowers and foliage aplenty and the weather forecast for the Bank Holiday weekend is "Oak before Ash, we're in for a splash" if you want to see these sights for yourself.