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Ruff over the downs!

There was a slightly offputting breeze up on the downs this morning, but it was soon clear the wind was at our backs. It turned into one of those days dotted with truly memorable moments, each of which would have been a day-maker in its own right. The first of these was a flock of three Ruff which flew low north over our heads. With barely a drop of water in sight, just about wader is cause for celebration on the chalky slopes, but Ruff is a quite the prize anywhere around here.

Ruff in flight
Two of the three juvenile Ruff heading north

The handful of showy Spotted Flycatchers were the other avian highlight. Each had found a calm, sunny spot from which to expertly snatch passing insects from the air.

It was a delight to come across two Silver-spotted Skippers, the classic late summer butterfly of crew cut chalk grassland, as well as a Wall. More of a shock, though, was crossing paths with a rather large Adder as it made its way between shady patches — a rare sight so far from cover!



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