A late morning walk around site this morning.
The reserve is very wet after the rain with lots of puddles but most of the paths are still dry. We saw Red Darter dragonflies laying eggs in the puddles, unfortunately these eggs will not survive as they need to be laid in the main ponds. Rabbits were seen running from the Scrape into Villa Wood with Coots, Moorhen, Dabchick, pair of Mallards, female Tufted Duck, and large blue dragonflies, all on view on the water. There was a Speckled Wood butterfly on the path beside the silt ponds. In the meadow area we saw a Small Copper butterfly, an Angle Shades moth and a Small Heath butterfly all basking in the sun. We were also lucky to find a large hairy caterpillar (probably about 75mm long) among the Sweet Rushes, this is the Fox moth caterpillar (see the picture on the ‘moths photo page’). There were also lots of Crane Flies (daddy long legs) among the grasses with the grasshoppers and crickets. We saw a freshly emerged Comma butterfly and a Treble-bar moth basking on the bramble by the railway path with lots of grasshoppers among the short grass. The Green Woodpecker made its presence known by it’s ‘laughing’ call in Cockaynes Wood and a Kestrel was hovering over the edge of the fishing lake.
There are still a number of flowers on show. In the meadow we found pink flowers of Centaury, purple Self Heal, yellow of Greater Trefoil, Hawkbit, Ragwort and Agrimony, white flowers of Clover. The St Johns Wort and Fleabane were in flower nearby. Reindeer Moss is starting to show its silvery fronds in some of the wetter parts of the meadow. Elsewhere on site there are some good displays of rose hips from the Dog Rose and some of the holly in Cockaynes Wood has produced red berries this year. A pink Campion was still in flower in Villa Wood. There are now lots of different fungi to be seen all over the reserve.
(New uploads to photo page).
Roger and Val R.