Friday, 28 May 2010

Better late than never!

The St Georges Mushroom pictured above has sprung up in it's usual place just off from the path between the Centre and Woodland Hide. It gets it's name from the fact that it usually fruits on or around St Georges Day - the unseasonably dry April clearly prevented this from happening and it has instead arrived a month "late" at the end of May. Conditions are still far from ideal, despite a drop of rain on Thursday morning, so rather than forming the usual ring formation at the moment there are just three to be seen - two pictured here.

I was also pleased to find this flowering Twayblade orchid (literally "two leaves", referring to the distinctive fleshy leaves) between the Ivy North Hide and Woodland Hide, again, just off the path. A quick search revealed another three plants nearby, without there flower spike, which, sadly, is all we often seem to manage in this particular spot at Blashford, as the flowers seem to be very vulnerable to grazing. I'm not sure if it is mammals or molluscs that does for them normally, and I'm non-the-wiser for finding this one (due to myxomatosis the rabbit population at Blashford is relatively low at the moment and due to the afore-mentioned dry weather slugs and snails are not going to be particularly active either). Not one of our most colourful flowering plants, but close inspection when the flowers have opened does reveal a certain beauty for all their green-ness!
Woodpecker-cam is nicely busy now with some very active chicks regularly poking their red-capped heads out of the holes and shouting at their poor harassed parents to bring them more food - there is now a working microphone in place piping their shouts (and apparently my voice when I'm out teaching in the adjacent woodland!) into the lobby. The camera has afforded some interesting glimpses of the food that the adults are bringing to their young, which seems to consist largely of damselflies - not surprising perhaps if you have visited the reserve this week and enjoyed the sight of hundreds of damselflies, largely Common Blue, rising up around you as you walk along the paths through the reserve. If you haven't found it already there is now a link straight to the web cam from the Blashford Lakes pages of the Trust web site - - when our technology is behaving itself!

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