"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

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Orchids at Marsh Lane NR and Garden Update

We paid a visit to Marsh Lane NR this afternoon mainly to see the display of Southern Marsh and Common Spotted Orchids. The weather was very dull and gloomy and looked on the verge of rain so the light wasn't good and some of the photos are a trifle dark and gloomy! I've included a few more photos of the reserve from today's visit.

This is the pool by the car park on the main part of the reserve.

Yellow irises (flags) are coming into flower around many of the pools.

Walking down to Oak Hide from the car park.

Ox-eye daisies are coming into flower.

One of the pools (I call this the Reed Pool) viewable from behind a screen. The crop field is in the back ground - crops are left over winter to provide seeds for finches, buntings etc.

Dog Rose

Car Park Pool from one of the screens

The meadow behind Oak Hide was full of buttercups, Southern Marsh and Common Spotted Orchids together with a few patches of Ragged Robin :)

Buttercups and Orchids

Buttercups and Ragged Robin

Ragged Robin

Orchids and Buttercups

Southern Marsh Orchid

Common Spotted Orchid

The path towards Railway Copse and Hide

Slug rescued from the path!!

Cuckoo Flower/Ladies Smock - Orange Tip butterflies lay their eggs on this species.

There were several broken eggshells along the path - I suspect a magpie had been robbing nests.

Red campion flowering everywhere.

We had a walk round Railway Copse - a few damselflies about - too far away to get pictures but I did manage a poor shot of Tree Bumble Bee on a bramble flower. This species has built a nest in our roof (under a broken ridge tile) at home so now I know why its the most common bumble bee species in our garden at present!

Nettle Tap Moth, I think.

We spent time in Oak Hide on our way back to the car. There were lots of young birds round the reserve - a newly hatched Lapwing chick, coot families and Greylag Goose goslings of various ages.

Garden Update

Blue Tits

Three of the chicks left the nest last Monday and the smallest one of the clutch joined them the next day. We just wish them well in the wide world!

Emperor Moth caterpillars are growing well and have all shed their first skins and entered their 2nd instar. This photo was taken about a week ago - they are a lot bigger now!

You can possibly make out a shed skin in this photo.

I haven't been putting the moth trap much in recent weeks partly due to overnight rain and partly because I really am catching very few moths. In fact, so few have been caught I can't even be bothered to type up my usual moth session lists.

So just a few photos of some caught recently.

Foxglove Pug - one of the few Pug species that is distinctive!

Waved Umber - new for year. I actually found this one on the bathroom wall.

Knot Grass

Small Rivulet - New for Year and a new species for the garden.

Small Dusty Wave (found on kitchen window) - new for year

Straw Dot (found on garage window) - new for year

A couple of photos of Angle Shades - such a lovely moth and again the first for this year.

Finally, a Hawthorn Shield Bug found on nettles in the garden

I am still trying to spot 365 species visiting the garden this year - but to be honest my lists need totally updating as I just have notes scribbled on bits of paper and I have a folder of insects to identify but hopefully one day soon I'll get the records into some sort of order and will do an update.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

New Hall Mill Open Day

D and I went along to a New Hall Mill Open Day at Walmley, Sutton Coldfield, on Bank Holiday Monday. A place we've never visited before and I am so glad we made the effort even though the weather was poor with rain at times.

Lovely to see a "field of gold" as we arrived.

This mill is one of only two surviving water mills in the Birmingham area - the other is Sarehole Mill which I also visited recently. The present mill, which is a Grade 2 listed building, dates from the eighteenth century although a mill has been on the site since the sixteenth century.

The mill was restored to full working order in the 1970's. It is privately owned and managed by the New Hall Water Mill Preservation Trust.

Organ Grinder

The Mill and Millpool - we saw a pair of Grey Wagtails around the pool.

We had a look round the Miller's Garden which included a vegetable and cottage garden.

Chive flowers were attracting bumble bees -

Early Bumble Bee (male)

We had a look round the inside of the mill - the mill machinery has been fully restored and operates on Open Days to produce stone ground whole meal flour (and yes, I bought home a bag!)

The Ground/Machinery/Meal Floor

1st Floor - the Stone Floor

Garner Floor

Miller's Workshop

There was a lovely model of the Mill in an Exhibition area

The grounds of the Mill include a Tree Trail and Wildflower meadow - a great place to visit with children

Yellow Rattle

Ox-eye Daisy

Small Tortoiseshell

I would have liked to have taken more photos of the tree trail and wildflowers but the camera card was nearly full. I do have another card but I'd left it at home :(

I bought a postcard showing a photo of the mill in 1904 - one of these days I will learn to keep my horizontals level!!!

We finished off in the tearoom - tea and cake. In my case Carrot cake and it was as delicious as it looked.

I also bought a couple of plants - Persicaria and Borage - both great plants for attracting bees and pollinators.

If you live anywhere near the mill it is well worth a visit - details of Open Days can be found on their website at www.newhallmill.org.uk.

Thanks to Graham for tipping me off on what a great place it is to visit (especially the cake information) :)