Monday, 19 April 2010

Blashford Blues

Spring has well and truly sprung over the weekend with new blooms and tree leaf buds bursting through the reserve giving the wooded areas a fresh new look and Blackcap song is very prominent all around the woodland areas of the reserve around the centre. Early spring is very much a "yellow" time of the year, at Blashford - with Coltsfoot, Wild Daffodils, Celandines and Willow catkins all very prominent. Now, in mid April, the daffodils are pretty much over and we are starting to move into the "blue" season - although the Bluebells are not quite there yet the Dog Violets and Ground Ivy are now providing a beautiful carpet of colour besides the wooded paths, as well as a good supply of nectar for the butterflies, bees and other insects that are making the most of the warmer weather.

Flowering now, but easily over-looked, are the dimunitive and understated green flowers of Moschatel. Close inspection reveals the cube like arrangement of the flowers that gives it its alternate name of "Town Hall Clock".

Also enjoying the spring sunshine are the Grass snakes that can be seen throughout the reserve - you may see one by lifting one of the sheets of tin that have been left out with that in mind, but with the reserve so much busier now than a couple of years ago it is no longer a guarrantee. They do appreciate the "dead hedged" piles of cut wood that line the paths and provide them with shelter from the cooling wind as well as cover to retreat back into if disturbed. I saw a beautiful large (presumably female) Grass snake in the willow scrub between Goosander and Lapwing Hides this morning. As lovely as she was I was disapointed not to see the Adders that I was actually looking for and that we know are fairly common in that part of the reserve.

If Blackcap song dominates to the south of the reserve it is the descending song of Willow warbler that dominates throughout the willow/reed scrub to the north of the reserve, competing with Chiff-chaff, Reed-bunting and Reed warbler. Not even the Willow warbler could compete with the constant chatter of the Sand martins though and it is the swirling constant flight of the Sand martins around Goosander Hide and feeding over head that remains as probably Blashfords most spectacular sight at the moment.

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