"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

Friday, 28 July 2017

Marsh Lane NR

Last Thursday B and I made a long overdue visit to Marsh Lane Nature Reserve, near Hampton-in-Arden. It is usually fairly quiet there as it is members only and habitats include a number of pools of various sizes, reedbeds, meadows, woodland, grasslands and meadows and a river.

Pathway from the car park towards several of the hides.

One of the smaller pools - there were lots of dragonflies whizzing around but too far away to identify.

This is Car Park Pool from one of the hides - lots of coots on the water.

We saw many butterflies, in fact, I could kick myself now that I didn't do a Big Butterfly Count while there. Species seen included Large Whites, Small Whites, Large Skippers, Small/Essex Skippers, Ringlets, Gatekeepers (the most numerous species), Small Copper (new for year), Comma, Speckled Wood and Red Admiral. The real highlight came just as we were leaving and, as I opened the car park gate, a Marbled White flew past me. I knew they occurred in small numbers on the reserve but this was the first time I had seen one there.

Worryingly, I did not see one Peacock - have seen very few locally this year.

Not many butterfly photos as they were far too active.

I did try hard to get close-up pictures of Skippers so I could check antennae to see which were Small and which were Essex but as you can see the photos just weren't good enough.




Blackberries starting to ripen and

some are already ripe.

We spent some time in Oak Hide which overlooks Railway Pool watching a

Little Egret.

At one stage it came closer to the hide but there was vegetation in the way.

Common Sandpiper (a juvenile, I think) - not the best of photos (heavily cropped).

Cinnabar moth caterpillars on Ragwort.

Railway Pool - view from Railway Hide. We spent some time talking to another birdwatcher who had been twice to see the nesting Bee-eaters in Nottinghamshire - a great coincidence as we had put off our visit the previous weekend and were now planning to go in a few days time.

Wildflowers lined the paths.

Rosebay Willowherb


Purple Loosestrife

Greater Plantain

(If any id's are incorrect please don't hesitate to let me know).

Soldier Beetles

Seedheads by the car park


I uploaded this photo in mistake - garden photos followed on from the Marsh Lane visit. I decided I may as well leave it on.

A hornet mimic hoverfly Volucella inanis on Astrantia flowers


Simon Douglas Thompson said...

peacocks are having a dire year, only saw my first one a few days ago. Nothing flying today, it's cold, drizzly and windy.

Ragged Robin said...

Simon Douglas Thompson - Thanks for the comment Simon. You are right Peacocks do seem to be having an awful year. None in our garden yet. A bit of sun here this morning and saw a Green-veined White (first this year in the garden) and a Gatekeeper but that was it!

amanda peters said...

Looks a lovely place and nice to get close to the Little Egret, I think Gatekeepers have done well this year, and I have not had one sighting of a Peacock which is a shame.
Lovely seeing all the wildflowers, it's a shame we have had so much rain just lately, July has been a right mixed bag of weather.

Have not seen the hornet mimic hoverfly you have recorded in your garden.
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Thanks so much Amanda - yes, it is a really good reserve - stopped going when OH retired as he wasn't so keen on it as me but he enjoyed it the other day :) Lots of Gatekeepers round but very few Peacock. Only seen one locally and a few on the Isle of Wight. None in the garden or Small Tortoiseshell either.

July has been so mixed weatherwise - perhaps we will have a better August :)

Only see the bigger hoverflies occasionally in the garden so it was a good sighting for me :)

Pam said...

A lovely place to visit :) I've struggled with Small and Essex Skippers recently too! Nice to see the Gatekeepers i've only seen a couple all year.

Toffeeapple said...

Hello - I have finally managed to catch up on blog reading! I mostly did it by not commenting very frequently.

I was hoping to do the Butterfly Count but saw only one Small White and one Large White and the back-end of male Brimstone. So not worth the effort.

I frequently see a Little Egret flying past my window and always feel so thrilled that they are here.

Thank you for another colourful post Caroline. I will try to keep up to date!

Ragged Robin said...

Pam Thanks so much. I think I need stronger reading glasses! So difficult to make out antennae on those skippers! We always get far more Gatekeepers in the garden than Meadow Brown. Haven't seen any of the latter in the garden at all this year.

Toffeeapple Hi - so glad to hear from you. Yes, I really struggle to get up to date with other blogs when back from holiday and, as you say, only way possible is by not commenting as it is so time consuming!

I've been reading today about the way Little Egret has colonised the country - such a great story as they are such super birds to watch.

Please don't worry too much about commenting - I am happy if you can just read the posts :)

Toffeeapple said...

Thank you!

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - :) and thank you too.

Chris Rohrer said...

Gorgeous! Wildflowers, birds and bugs! Both Common Sandpiper and Little Egret would be lifers. I know your pic is heavily cropped of the COSA but it looks great to me. What a gorgeous day! We have places here right now that would amaze you. A white blanket and a night light will get covered with thousands upon thousands of moths, beetles and butterflies. Last weekend I was covered by bugs in the night. It was a bit freakish and something big ran across my foot! Anyhow, I am liking the bugs a little more these days:)

Ragged Robin said...

Chris Rohrer - Thanks so much Chris. Hopefully, you will come over here one day and get lots of new "ticks" :) Would so love to visit your part of the world too although not sure how long I could stand the heat!!! You do see some amazing wildlife and I can just imagine the 1000's of insects. Not always good to be covered by bugs!Sometimes when I empty my moth trap and they fly out and straight at me I can freak a little!!! And something big running across my foot (thinking snakes here!!!) would have be screaming! Glad you are enjoying bugs more there is a wonderful world out there especially the butterflies and moths. Although I know you like the former as I remember you helping out at a butterfly place. I would imagine you get such amazing insects in Arizona :)