After four successive days work, a sunny morning got me out on a spontaneous trip to Skylarks with the additional motivation of several goodies on the menu.
I was overly generous in inviting along the resident dogs (Staffie and poodle) along with my closest human residents which spoilt the experience but they kept out of the way while I scoped up Red-necked Grebe, Smew (3 including a drake) and a Long-tailed Duck.
They were all way beyond the capacity of my little camera but the rapid chimes of a confiding Dunnock drew my attention.
The ring suggests a resident bird but as far as I am aware, the local ringing group does not operate here much these days so this may be an elderly bird?
There is a large grassy area to the north of the watery bits of the new reserve (Blott’s Pit) that doesn’t seem to have a name but did have some heather on it a few years ago indicating its sandy nature so I’ll call it Heath Field for now and I found this on it:
I’m going to stick my neck out here and assert that this is Otidia bufonia though the literature is rather short on information about this particular Otidia or suggestive that it should be in a wood.
A Sunday morning stroll with my ‘fam’ in the expectation of seeing some migrant birds but it turned out to be mighty dull on the ornithological front with only Sedge Warbler new for the year. I revised my plant naming expertise instead (Common Twayblade is almost in full flower) and found this disorientated Hornet in one of the Anglo-Saxon huts…
Another unsuccessful go for the Green Hairstreaks was preceded by a circuit of Blotts where I fortuitously got two Linnets for the price of one….
….and a lark ascending.
In searching for the elusive butterfly, I was distracted by a few flowers: I suppose this ranks as Wild PansyViola tricolor but mmmm – only two colours so not the genuine article which is apparantly rather rare.
With wifey looking for the elusive Orange Underwing moth but it eluded us. Hoping for an early Green Hairstreak but hopes were dashed. However a Common Tern was on Blotts and a Reed Warbler sang from its margins. A Holly Blue obliged, and a Willow Warbler was full of the joys of spring.
Part of the nature reserve is within the tetrad for the Willow Tit survey so we incorporated this with a general nose around without much in the way of new stuff to show for it but there were quite a lot of calling Water Rails. Needless to say, there were no Willow Tits. The area to the west of Blotts is very rich in bryophytes which Dave points out and usually names but so far they have not sunk in. This photo turned out nice but the others can remain on file.
A Little Egret was unusually confiding and the Polypody is still there. Dave says is is Intermediate PolypodyPolypodium interjectum but the circular sori and parallel sides to the leaves point me to Common Polypody.
A new plant for me was Lesser ChickweedStellaria pallida. It is tiny and prostrate, has no petals on its tiny inconspicuous flowers and disappears after its early spring flourish so is understandably thought to be under-recorded. If you can find an open flower they (usually!) only have two stamens which is the only certain way of distinguishing it from Common Chickweed (which occasionally also lacks petals!)
Two Mistle Thrushes stood motionless on a grassy sward, allowing me to approach one of them for a picture.