Insects made it through the rain

PUBLISHED: 13:10 10 August 2007 | UPDATED: 22:58 28 May 2010

It seems that during my week s holiday wildlife watching in Scotland, summer finally arrived in the Fens for a while. I wasn t too miffed at missing out on the heatwave as I managed to enjoy plenty of nice weather up north and saw so many great things. Th

It seems that during my week's holiday wildlife watching in Scotland, summer finally arrived in the Fens for a while.

I wasn't too miffed at missing out on the heatwave as I managed to enjoy plenty of nice weather up north and saw so many great things. These included pine martens eating jam sandwiches in the dead of night on the kitchen window of one of the bed and breakfasts I stayed in, to an early morning encounter with an otter crunching crabs on the shore.

A sea eagle perched proudly on an offshore island, black grouse on a secluded moor, frog orchids growing in coastal dunes and creeping lady's tresses in the ancient Caledonian pinewoods all helped to make quite a trip and proved how much exciting wildlife we have on our shores. This is just the tip of the iceberg of what I was lucky enough to see as well.

Back home, I was pleased to learn the flood threat has passed many of us by, but it is now far too late for many birds to attempt to breed successfully after being washed out from a nesting point of view. They will bounce back though and the chances are next summer will see a bumper crop of babies to replenish populations.

However, despite the wet summer, many insects whose flight periods start now are out on schedule so weathered the storm.

You can now see inquisitive southern hawker dragonflies (very big and yellow and green looking at first glance) patrolling woodland rides and sheltered spots. They will come and investigate humans, hovering just inches away. It is a wonderful experience to have one of these beautiful creatures with its dazzling colours so close.

The other widespread big dragonfly now out in force is the migrant hawker. This is a poorly named species as it is actually a breeding resident species. It is a sociable creature and you could see up to 20 or 30 patrolling the skies together, dramatically twisting and turning with ease as if 'bumping' into something.

Maybe we will see an influx of painted ladies this year. I haven't seen many locally yet, but I always think of August as the month for seeing this attractive butterfly. My newly planted buddleias are bearing flowers just in time to receive them and I will take great pleasure at recording my first garden painted lady, if they come up from the Mediterranean in numbers in the next few weeks.

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