Friday, 1 April 2011

Friday 1st. April 2011

Only managed to get out for a couple of hours this afternoon , in very cool , grey , blustery conditions . I decided to have a first look this year at Spring Park Pond , a regular site during the season for damsel/dragonflies , and the woodland beyond . Two drake Mallards were on the pond when I arrived , feeding around the edges . At this time of year with Toads and Frogs spawning , much of that spawn is predated by ducks , and I think that was what these two were eating . They soon flew off as I walked around the pond , finding the first tadpoles of the year feeding on the Parrots Feathers/Myriophllum aquaticum that has become a big problem on the site , where it is choking the life out of the pond , but more on that later . A welcome sight was the yellow of the first Marsh Marigold/Caltha palustris , a member of the Buttercup family , to come into flower . Apart from a few brief sighting of Newts , gulping air and diving back into the vegetation , little else was around , so I headed off into the woods . Even though there was no sunshine , the woodland floor was brightened by a carpet of Wood Anemones/Anemone nemorosa , another member of the Buttercup family . A new plant to come into flower was Ground Ivy/Glechoma hederacea , a member of the large Labiate family . On the side of a path , a couple of favourite woodland plants of mine , Wood Sorrel/Oxalis acetosella , and Moschatel or Town Hall Clock/Adoka moschatellina , with it's flowers on the four sides , with one on top too . On my way back to the car , I stopped again at the pond as the Ranger was having a look as I went by . While we talked , a Toad started croaking and was soon seen , along with a pair in amplexus , the male on the female's back , ready to fertilize her spawn as she lays it . He said that he hadn't seen any Frogspawn in the pond this year , so the chances are that the tadpoles seen earlier were Toad . We also chatted about the Parrots Feathers which was introduced by a member of the public , and now is such a problem that after 3 years of pulling the plant out without making any impression by the following year , he is thinking of using chemicals to destroy it , but of course , what else will be destroyed with the Parrots Feathers ? The Ranger left and I had a last look around , finding a Bee Fly feeding on Honesty/Lunaria annua , a member of the Cabbage family , it's long proboscis , probing deep into the throat of the flower . The cloud cover was starting to break , too late now , and encouraged a Ramshorn Snail , another introduced species , to browse on the Parrots Feathers . Birdwise , nothing special seen or heard , plenty of Great Tits and Wrens , a single Mistle Thrush and a couple of Chiffchaffs were singing , and of course , the screeching RRParakeets . As I passed the spot where last year I photographed a Common Whitethroat , I had a look amongst the Blackthorn and Bramble where I would see it taking food , and found the remains of it's nest , perched 6" off the ground . I wonder if they will use the same area this year ?


ShySongbird said...

Lovely flower photos today Greenie. The Marsh Marigold is another of my favourites.

Nice that the Toads are active.

What a shame about the pond being throttled by the Parrots Feathers, why on earth would a member of the public introduce it?

Phil said...

Nice pics Greenie. Saw some Marsh Marigolds at New Hythe today. Somebody needs to find that member of the public and introduce him/her to the pond....head first!

Wonderwings Wanderings said...

Hi Greenie,
Long time no see, I have been following your blog ( with envy ) and am amazed at some of the photos you have been taking over the months since we were last out together, I think describing then as stunning would be an under statement, and it was good to see the butterflies are on the move again. Just a quick question, you referred to the Ramshorn Snail as “another introduced species”. Do you mean introduced into Spring Park Pond or nationally introduced as I have always been under the impression it was a native species? However I have not read a great deal on freshwater crustaceans and as always I am keen to learn.
Regards K W

Ken. said...

Hi Greenie.
Very interesting reading. Love the baby toads, if your right and thats what they are, I expect you are. Also a very colourful blog, love the yellow of the marsh Marrigold.
I hope the pond gets sorted out. Have a nice weekend.