We spent a couple of hours yesterday at Marsh Lane Nature Reserve - I've postponed the butterfly trip to Gloucestershire until its a bit warmer as its a two and a half hour round trip so a long way to go if there aren't many butterflies about.
I resisted the temptation to take the Olympus and took the Canon Bridge instead. Its certainly very versatile as you can take landscapes, zoom in on distant birds and take macro shots. I am slowly working my way through the instruction manual - its going to be a long process!! I am struggling a bit with the macro function and trying to get close ups of flowers and insects as you will see from some of the photos. I'm not sure if you can use the macro facility when zooming in but will keep practising.
The causeway was a mass of wildflowers - vetches, trefoil, cow parsley, buttercups, gorse, broom, clover and Lady's Smock.
Many of the buttercup flowers contained these beetles - I haven't had chance yet to try and id them but it could be one of the Longhorn beetles?
Cuckoo spit is appearing on many plants - a home to the nymphs of a Froghopper.
Blurred photo of Lady's Smock (or Cuckoo flower).
Gorse is still in flower - many people describe the scent as smelling of coconut but to me it resembles vanilla. There were lots of bees feeding on the flowers although I couldn't get any photos.
Broom - we used to have one with these colours in the garden.
We spent some time watching Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Coot, Tufted Duck and Reed Warblers in and around Reedbed Pool.
Rubbish photo of Great Crested Grebe - the reeds got in the way!
Lots of Clover along the paths
and Cow Parsley.
I will return to this meadow hopefully in a few weeks to see the Orchids - at the moment its a mass of buttercups.
We stopped off at one of the Hides overlooking Railway Pool watching
Grey Herons, Mallard, Lapwing, Tufted Duck and Black-headed Gulls. The latter were sitting on eggs and there were a few young about.
The meandering path that leads to Railway Hide - this is my favourite stretch of the reserve - good for insects and butterflies in the summer and today we saw a Green Woodpecker anting.
Bramble is coming into flower
Sadly, half of the Back-gate Copse seems to have been chopped down :( Work Parties have cleared an area near the back gate to encourage more Twayblade Orchids to flower but the remaining trees, according to the Marsh Lane newsletter, had to be removed by Western Power from the side of the wires.
Path through what is left of the Copse.
View of Railway Pool from Railway Hide
Sand Martin bank
This Oystercatcher must have been sitting on eggs or had young because it was constantly chasing away Magpies and Crows that came to close.
I only saw two butterflies during the whole walk - 2 peacocks. This one sunning itself on the path was very worn.
I got exceedingly frustrated with the camera trying to get a shot of this Flower (or Swollen-thighed) beetle (Oedemera nobilis)
I certainly need to spend a lot more time getting to know the camera and experimenting with different settings.
Clare Coumtry Park
2 hours ago