"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Local Birding at Marsh Lane NR

It was another mild and sunny Spring-like day again today so B and I went along to Marsh Lane for a walk this afternoon.

There were a few berries left on this ivy.

We spent most of the time in River Hide which overlooks both Railway Pool and

Car Park pool.

Sorry no close-up photos of birds - as mentioned before they are just too far away in the main for the 70-300 lens and I am not going to mention the Bridge Camera again until I've got to grips with it!! I saw my first Great Crested Grebe of the year - sadly a lone bird rather than a pair - it would have been nice to see their very endearing courtship display. There were plenty of Lapwings, Tufted Ducks, Mallard, Teal, Cormorants, Gadwall and Shovelers on the pools and the coots were spending most of their time chasing each other. Greylag and Canada Geese were grazing fields next to the River Blythe.

Alder catkins and cones

Speedwell was in flower along the path - I think this is probably Common Field Speedwell (Veronica persica) It appears that finally (after about 5 years when I couldn't get them to work) I can insert italics! Sorry the aperture was on the wrong setting - will try and get a better photo next time I visit.

Greater Reedmace is starting to go to seed.

There are far more flowers now on the Gorse bushes.

I was watching a pair of Long-tailed Tits flitting around the shrubs and trying to get closer to get a photo when I spotted this Tree Bumble Bee (Bombus hypnorum). Sorry another rubbish photo as the camera was still on the wrong settings :(

This orangey-yellow lichen was coating the branches of many trees around the car park. I think it is probably Xanthoria parietina or Golden Shield Lichen - a yellow foliose lichen. Am still awaiting confirmation from i-spot on the id.

Lichens are formed by two organisms - a fungus which forms the body of the lichen and a single-celled green alga which provides the nutrients via photosynthesis. The two organisms live together in a symbiotic relationship. In Xanthoria parietina the spores are produced by the fungus in the golden orange cups and the orange colour (parietin) protects the alga from uv.

This species is found in sunny exposed places and is tolerant of high levels of nitrogen, especially ammonia, and it is therefore often common in trees and buildings around farmland. X.parietina and the very similar X. polycarpa can be used to monitor nitrogen levels in the atmosphere.

Teasels growing around the car park.

I was hoping to see a few early returning Sand Martins at the Reserve today but none were around. Perhaps they will have arrived by the time we next visit.


Margaret Adamson said...

HI Lynn That is a great place to walk to and you saw a great variety of birds. Yes pity about only 1 GC Grebe but you never know there is still time for another one to turn up. Love the Lichen shots and the Bee.

Margaret Adamson said...

HI RR Sorry, I called you Lynn in my last comment.

Ragged Robin said...

Margaret Adamson - Thanks so much Margaret and please don't worry about calling me Lynn :)

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

The courtship routine of coots is little mentioned...they are very aggressive birds, ploughing the water head down, tails and wings fanned out, before trying to savage any other kinfolk they see

amanda peters said...

It's quite nice to watch the birds without taking photos, as you can get a bit caught up in just the shot rather than looking at the birds.
Last year Speedwell flowered all year round, but not seen any out yet. or any Bumble Bees.
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Simon Douglas Thompson - Thanks for the comment Simon - love your description of the coots' behaviour :)

Amanda Peters - Thanks Amanda. Yes,you are right - sometimes I get the urge just to leave the camera at home for that reason.

Hope you see some Bumble Bees soon - have only started spotting them here over the last couple of days. Perhaps with being further North you will see them a bit later??

Countryside Tales said...

It looks a beautiful sunny day. Speedwell is out here at home too. Love the Tree Bee- they seem to be doing well so far this Spring- I've seen more of them than anything else :o)

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales - Thanks CT. I think your bumbles must be ahead of ours - they've only started appearing round here in the last couple of days - saw a Buff-tailed in the garden yesterday. But last year Tree Bumble Bees were the most numerous bee in our garden - we had a nest in the roof :)

Chris Rohrer said...

I love that particular grebe you have there. Hope the bird finds a partner:) And Canada Geese!!! They sure get everywhere don't they!?! Beautiful lichen pics!

Ragged Robin said...

Chris Rohrer - Thanks so much Chris. I am sure the grebe will get a partner soon :) Canada Geese very common over here these days!!! Glad you like the lichen. Will try and get back to reserve soon (have been suffering from a really foul virus :(