A windless morning with a thin layer of high cloud saw me back at SML just after dawn. It was a little bit warmer and a little bit busier today, although still best described as slow and steady. 32 birds were trapped of which 21 were new including 14 Chiffchaff, 5 Blackcap and 3 Willow Warbler. The Spotted Crake remained on site, calling just twice at 07:30 and 09:15. It has been completely elusive, despite the best efforts of numbers of hopeful observers, and isn’t responding to tape lures any more. I did get good views of a Water Rail in the same area of reedbed though as a consolation. The whole reserve remains exceptionally wet and the fact there are still rails present and they have ceased calling and gone into stealth mode reinforces my belief that there may be several pairs attempting to breed this year.
On a non-bird note, I was tipped off by a visitor last Sunday that there was an unusual flower growing in the upper Ley. Risking life and limb and nearly parting company with my wellies in the process, I managed wade through a particularly wet and overgrown swamp to secure the photo above, which I think is Arum italicum, based on the colour of the spadix and the lack of purple around the margin of the cowl. Separation from the native Lords-and-ladies or Cuckoo Pint, Arum maculatum is not easy for a non-botanist with limited reference books but, either way, it will be a new species for the reserve’s plant list!