Today must have been torture for the working nature enthusiast , after days of sunshine whilst working , the weekend brings cloud , cool wind , and no sign of many of the species seen through the warm spell . Without much hope of finding anything of interest , I set off for a look around the Farm Lake . The usual Coot family , 2 pairs of Moorhen , a single Little Grebe and three male Mallards , were all that were to be seen on the water , and just common species of bird around the lake . The Bog Bean has certainly liked the warm weather , with just the odd flower spike when I posted it a while back , the area has exploded into flower , rushing to do it's thing , before the Bulrush envelopes the whole area . On the other side of the lake , Cowslips make a yellow carpet on the bank , and interspersed amongst them , the pappus , seed heads of the now finished Coltsfoot . Still with no sign of brightness , I headed to Salt Box Hill , a reserve managed by London Wildlife Trust . I was surprised to see the two Dartmoor ponies still grazing the area , especially as I could see the rosettes of Common Spotted Orchids pushing through , and these ponies will eat anything and everything , proved by the fact that most of the Ash scrub left after clearance has been striped of bark , effectively 'ring-barking' the trees , which will consequently die . The ponies presence also means that the kissing gates are chained and padlocked and entry prohibited . Outside the fenced off area , I did find Lords and Ladies-Arum maculatum , with it's hooded spathe unfurled , and showing the purple spadix , which tops the male and female flowers , which are located further down in the spathe . Late in the year , the fruits , a spike of orange berries will be found . On the other cleared , but as yet , unfenced area , the stout early growth of Deadly Nightshade-Atropa bella-donna , already towers over the other plants . On the footpath back to the car , I found a stand of Goldilocks Buttercup-Ranunculus auricomus , with it's whorls of leaves around the stem . I had been seeing them for a few days now , but finally managed to get a shot of one , as they were less active in the cooler conditions . St. Marks Fly-Bibio marci , does exactly as it say on the packet , appears around St.Mark's day , the 25th.April . They are the ones you see flying with their long rear legs dangling beneath them .
As I headed home for lunch , the sun actually came out , so I decided to have a quick look in on the Common . A good decision , as it proved that the Long Tailed Tits , in the Glade where I get the Purple Hairstreaks later in the year , have hatched their eggs , and are now busily finding food for between 8-12 youngsters . Let's hope the other nesters on the Common do as well .
I just hope that the caterpillar isn't a Purple Hairstreak !
Another break in the grey skies had me heading for Burnt Gorse , but , needless to say , by the time I got there , the cloud had returned and there had even been a heavy shower there . All was not lost though , as I met a fellow butterfly enthusiast , Keith , and we spent a pleasant hour catching up .
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