On a baking hot early July day I'm sitting under an oak by one of my favourite tree and reed fringed Surrey lakes and sharing my leafy sunshade is a family of Egyptian geese.

Numerous black-tailed skimmer dragonflies dart about chasing one another in territorial skirmishes. Some perch on the bankside and launch themselves at would be contenders for their favourite spot.

Suddenly, one shoots vertically upwards about three metres and grasps a hoverfly, the skimmer's remarkable all round vision enabling it to spot prey some way above.

Like miniature helicopters, blue damselflies flicker above a raft of beautiful pink and white water lilies

A bramble bush on the bank plays host to meadow brown butterflies and bumblebees sipping nectar from the blossom.

Sometimes a tiny silvery fish leaps out of the lake and bounces along the surface for several metres rather as we would skim a flat stone across the water. No doubt the fish are panicking being chased by predatory perch and once in the middle of the lake there is an almighty splash as a pike plunges after prey.

By the margins, a flotilla of pond skaters looking like tiny skiffs, row themselves in circles.

House martins and an occasional swallow skim over the surface drinking and picking up flies while in the distance a nuthatch pipes up.

Then, gliding effortlessly above with scarcely a beat of their distinctive ragged wings (pictured) come a pair of red kites. These fork-tailed scavengers are quite a regular sight over the Surrey countryside these days.

Their sudden appearance complements what has been a fascinating and varied wildlife watching afternoon.