Leaving my car at the garage for a service and MOT gave me a good reason reason to visit some sites in the Lee Valley which I don't regularly get to...
In a year when I have heard many people speculating that it has been a poor breeding season for many species because of the wet weather, it was nice to see a lot of family groups, of tits and warblers including many with very recently fledged young. Other adults were still obviously feeding young in the nest, and I had to move away from where I was watching from on a couple of occasions because a Common Whitethroat and then a Chiffchaff were reluctant to take food to their nest because they had decided I was too close, and potentially a threat!
Passing the King George V Reservoir I found that very large numbers of Common Swifts had gathered to feed. I estimated that at least 300 were present over the northern end of the reservoir, along with smaller numbers of House Martins, Sand Martins, and Swallows, and more could be seen further back. In this case it seemed likely that the majority of the Swifts were adults because the young don't tend to fledge until around mid month, and I certainly couldn't see any obvious juveniles among them - but close views are usually needed to see the scaly plumage and more extensive white faces that identify the young ones.
Pyramidal Orchids, and Common Spotted Orchids were in bloom at a nearby site, along with a lot of Tufted Vetch, and I managed to find a few spikes of Bee Orchid flowers, but the later were well passed their best now.
Bee Orchid (past its best).
Tufted Vetch - growing far more prominently than the orchids!
Further up the valley, a Cuckoo flew across in front of me, near the White Water Centre at Waltham Cross - where spectator stands for the Olympics were rapidly being put together, and at another sport orientated site a Common Tern posed on a buoy in Cheshunt Gravel Pit, which is the site of the Herts Young Mariners Base, so is used by for sailing, canoeing, and other outdoor pursuits.