Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Tuesday 7th.April 2009

Today , and tomorrow , we were working 'off patch' , in the fields around Ightam Moat , replacing some fencing . A large area of Ash coppice had been re-coppiced by contractors , and now that they had finished , the re-fencing could be done .
A steep bank provided a lovely backdrop for the work , with a great show of Bluebells , much further forward that those I have seen in other places . In amongst the Bluebells I found one of the indicators of ancient woodland , Yellow Archangel , a member of the Labiate family , which will be in bloom before too long . There was also Red Campion , well on it's way to flowering . The bottom of the field that we were working in has a small steam running by , and along it's banks were large swathes of Golden Saxifrage , here interspersed with Lesser Celandine . Another blaze of yellow was provided by the Marsh Marigold , a member of the Buttercup family . The damp conditions provides great habitat for Cuckoo Flower or Ladies Smock , a member of the Cabbage family , and sure enough it grows in profusion on both banks . Usually the flowers are lilac coloured like these being fed on by a Bee Fly ( not the Spotted but the more common Bombylius major ) , but white specimens can be found too .
Of course if you have Cuckoo Flower and the sun is out , the hope is that an Orange Tip might be about . Warren beat me by one day with his posting yesterday , but I worked really hard chasing this male up and down the track , and although the sun is bleaching out the colour , it is another first for me this year . Talking of year firsts , on arrival at the site this morning , and before chainsaws and tractors drowned out the birdsong , I had a Willow Warbler singing in the grounds of Ightam Moat , but it didn't hang around when all the noise started .
When I got home this evening , Carol made a cup of tea , and we sat in the sunlounge looking down the garden , when Carol asked , 'what's that bird on the feeder' ? I looked over , and saw a male Redpoll in breeding plumage . It stayed for a while , but was then chased off by Greenfinches . I got the camera and waited in the carport to see if he returned , and he did . He landed on the trellis behind the feeders , and showed off his plumage in the evening sunshine .


Warren Baker said...

The next Migrant due on my patch is the cuckoo, average arrival date - 14th, earliest the 11th. So make sure your out at these times!

Phil and Mandy said...

Nice Redpoll photos Greenie

Anonymous said...

Hi Greenie.
For white butterflies, try using the camera on sunset mode, if it has one. It cuts out all the glare and makes the colours much stronger.

Greenie said...

Dean ,
Thanks for the tip .
Unfortunately my camera doesn't have that mode , but it was very thoughtful of you to mention it .
Perhaps others will be able to use your tip .

Simon said...

I have never come across a white Cuckoo flower before. Nice photos of of the male Redpoll.