I visited Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve in Warwickshire today. This is my favourite nature reserve and I normally visit every month but for one reason and another I haven't been since April and have recently been suffering severe withdrawal symptoms! The reserve covers 92.3 hectares and has a range of habitats - pools of various sizes, marshland, willow carr, grassland and areas of scrub, woodland and reedbeds.
There are loads of teasels around the reserve to attract goldfinches and today I saw several peacock butterflies nectaring the flowers.
There were berries and seedheads everywhere suggesting that Autumn is not far away.
Wildflowers were blooming all over the reserve.
This is one of the smaller pools. I have seen newts in this pond in the past and, although I didn't see many dragon or damselflies today, this is normally a good place to spot them.
This area of the reserve is known as the "Tip" and is a great area for wildflowers and butterflies. I was hoping to see brown argus here as several have been reported but, although I saw several common blues, I couldn't get close enough views to confirm brown argus.
This photo marks the beginning of the walk through Horsetail Glade - I saw a lesser spotted woodpecker here eighteen months ago and its a good area for nuthatches and tree creepers although neither were showing today.
This is the Steetley Hide with Kingfisher Pool to the right of the photo. I was hoping to see a kingfisher here as they regularly use a perch just in front of the hide. No luck though - still haven't seen a kingfisher this year.
The reserve has some beautiful tree specimens and its great to see all the log piles scattered throughout the reserve - great for "minibeasts".
A wood of hawthorns walking towards Carlton Hide - renowned for its kingfisher and hobby sightings.
I had missed a kingfisher by 10 minutes when I arrived at the Carlton Hide but had great views of a hobby hawking for dragonflies from the dead tree just in front of the hide.
Sorry no bird photos - hopefully I will be getting a telephoto lens towards the end of the year and will be able to post more interesting photos!!
Walking through Central Marsh
The grassland path behind Grebe Pool is a great area for spotting butterflies and green woodpeckers.
Grebe Pool- several years ago I saw an osprey on autumn passage from this very spot.
Windpump and Grebe Pool
I saw several species of butterfly today - speckled wood, numerous large and small whites, green-veined whites, peacock, common blue, gatekeeper and holly blue (photo below)
Various species of umbellifers were full of hoverflies and other insects
If anyone can identify this insect I would love to know what it is.
Edit - 22nd August - I have just spotted a photo of this insect on one of the blogs I visit. It is Volucella pellucens - a species of hoverfly.
White-tailed bumble bee
I saw around 24 species of bird today and highlights were the hobby and a pair of bullfinches accompanied by a robin bathing in a stream.
I just love this reserve even though its far busier these days than it used to be its easy to get away from the crowds and wander around on your own.