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.
Up on Swallow Heights
5 hours ago