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A hot sunny day was forecast, so it was off to Rainham Marshes with my friend Martin. It became a bit cloudy and windy later on, but there was still plenty to photograph.
The star bird was a Wood Sandpiper - a rare visitor to the UK and the first time I've seen one. It was giving great views through a telescope but was a bit to far away for me to get a decent photo - this was the best one. The Wood Sandpiper is on the right, with another wader, a Ruff, on the left.
Wood Sandpiper and Ruff

Towards the end of the walk a thoughtful Heron flew past on its way home:

Grey Heron

Rainham is one of the best sites for dragonflies:

Ruddy Darter

Migrant Hawker

This dragonfly met an untimely end in the web of a spectacular Wasp Spider:

More butterflies. The Gatekeeper and the Meadow Brown are very similar, but the Gatekeeper has a brighter underwing and two white spots, while the Meadow Brown is duller and has only one:
Meadow Brown

Both sexes of the Holly Blue have blue upperwings, but the female Common Blue is brown, but still with subtle markings:

Common Blue (female)

Holly Blue underwings are very pale while the Common Blue has orange spots:

Holly Blue

Common Blue
The Comma

Small Tortoiseshell

Ladybirds are also doing well, it was great to see at least a dozen of the tiny 22-spot - only 3 -4mm long:

7-spot Ladybird

This photo will give you an idea of just how tiny they are:

7-spots were also seen:

7-spot Ladybird

Finally, I think this is going to be a very good year for Blackberries:

  All Photographs © Brian Price except where stated