The Delights of a Wet Meadow

The images are from a local wet meadow and show some examples of the wonderful flora and fauna that can exist in such places.

May Update from Swift Valley

Here are the latest observations from Neville, from his regular walk around the reserve:

Swift Valley in spring. 

The Winter program of hedge laying is looking fantastic with the hedges greening up nicely. Lush grass growth in the meadows (but no animals to graze them) Red Campion has been brilliant and Ragged Robin in the marsh looking good, Bluebells just going over.
Over the past couple of weeks Song Thrush, Blackcap, Chiff Chaff, Robin and Common Whitethroat singing everywhere, Willow Warblers were present in good numbers but now gone through, Sedge and Reed Warblers now taking up residence in the marsh’s and the balancing ponds between the old canal and the new housing.This week saw the first Swift’s overhead, with their screeching calls as they journeyed northwards looking for food on the wing. Always a joy to see them, you know summer is just around the corner when they arrive.
10 species of Butterfly so far, Orange tips seen in good numbers with Large, Small and Green-Veined Whites now taking over.
There have been more and more visitors using Swift for their daily walk over the lockdown period, quite a few people finding the reserve only recently. All i’ve spoken to have been complementary about the work the volunteers have been doing, so well done for all your hard work.
On the down side, since the local refuse Tip has been closed we’ve had a number of Fly-tipping incidents to report at both ends of the reserve, the local Council, environment agency and the Police have all been supportive, both clearing up and tracking the perpetrators down. Some of our undesirable visitors managed to burn through one of the meadow bench’s and tried to set light to one of the old grass piles on the edge of the woodland, fortunately that didn’t catch light.

Hedgehog Awareness Week

It is Hedgehog Awareness Week during 3rd – 9th May, 2020. Please click on the link for more information. With so many of us spending time in our gardens right now, it is a great opportunity to make improvements to our immediate environment that will help their dwindling numbers, The information from the British Hedgehog Preservation Society will hopefully inspire you to make a difference!

Brimstone Butterfly

The male of the species is that most noticeable bright yellow butterfly, that is typically one of the earliest species to be observed in spring. The less glamorous female is still readily identifiable with a closer view.

This is peak season for their egg laying. This species is a very good example of native plant dependency. The foodplant for the larvae is the Purging Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) or the closely related Alder Buckthorn (Frangula alnus). Nothing else will do! In our gardens and surrounding countryside, the Purging Buckthorn is more common, as the Alder variety prefers a damper and acidic soil.

Continue reading “Brimstone Butterfly”

Hedgehog “Pecking Order”

Tony Penycate, a local wildlife enthusiast, has kindly provided some hedgehog observations from his garden. where the hogs visit his feeding station. The pictures show two visiting hogs together, There is some sign of posturing and submission over who gets to the food first.

The smaller hog is standing tall to increase its presence. This is actually revealing the softer underside. The tactic seemiingly did not work, as it has then curled up into its defensive mode.

Feeding Time – I’m going first (I wish)
Feeding Time – I’m going first (I wish)
Ah – give up!