Lots of Stories to Tell
Monday, May 1st 2017
Jack, who rings on Salisbury Plain, is an expert at finding nests. This nest of Song Thrush chicks was right at the end of a branch of Yew. Only a mother could love these chicks, although they will turn more fluffy, a very scientific term, as their feathers develop.
He also found a Linnet's nest
and a Blackcap's nest. Once hatched and the chicks are of the correct size he will return to ring them. Blackcap has not been recorded on our observation board at Foxglove, although I did spot one on the outskirts of Darlington.
At this time of year everything is new and growing. Much of the coppiced willow is producing shoots. Food chains begin with plants and many, many animals eat them, from Roe Deer down to the tiniest weevil. This one's proboscis is firmly fixed into the small new shoot.
In early April Bee Flys made their presence known. In the sunshine they were spotted again, this time feeding on the cherry blossom. It was fascinating to watch how their bodies remained still whilst their wings were almost like humming-bird wings! They have very long legs!
Northern Marsh, Common Spotted and their hybrids and Early Marsh Orchids have been spreading their range over the last five year. The map we have that informs people where they can and cannot strim has had more marks added. One area of Early Purple Orchids (EPOs), the first to flower, was increasing in size but in the same place. There were about 10 to 12 EPOs on the wetland bank and this number had remained constant for several years. Not this year! There are more flowers over a greater area. Fantastic!
An exercise carried out regularly is feeding the Water Voles with apples. Other food given to them was rejected! I did this job yesterday and during the day watched the apples reduce in size and the number of droppings increase. One apple disappeared completely but not a Water Vole in sight. I repeated the task this morning and still no Water Voles. Taking a quick walk through the Scrapes, sort of ambling quielty, I thought I saw something on the middle raft, no could not be a Water Vole, but it was! Crept up even more quietly, if that was possible, and started taking photos. Remember to remove the label off the apple! Would also be helpful if the vegetation would move out of the way! I watched for several minutes and the amount of apple consumed was considerable.
Then a little relax before starting again.
Time to head for home as it slid off the platform. Please note the piece of vegetation!
Usually the path taken is under the pond dipping platform heading towards the boardwalk. Not this time. It swam towards me and I am sure that it knew I was there, even though I was as still as still could be.
It headed under the boardwalk and disappeared.
You can see that it uses this pathway often, as there is a channel through the leaves.
Many visitors enjoyed Foxglove over the weekend. Some had seen the television programme and were amazed that such a reserve existed in the camp and that it was so beautiful and peaceful. A Jay was feeding in the back garden and this thrilled a visitor who had never seen one before.