Saturday, 1 May 2010

Saturday 1st.May 2010

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 .

5 comments:

Warren Baker said...

Us working naturalists are used to the crap weather every weekend - we dont let it grind us down- much!

I see you have a problem with the mis -use of grazing animals too, bloody landowners find them less work than mowing.

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Not seen any St Mark's Flies up here yet - one of my favourites

Cheers

Dave

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie.
You certainly got around a bit today, despite the weather.
Some nice photo's taken.

Phil said...

You're right Greenie, no flies on us! Nice picture too.

Steve said...

Good shot of the St Marks Fly. Hoping for the rain to hold off tomorrow.....