Viper's Bugloss (Blueweed) (Echium vulgare)

Saw this single flower clinging to the side of a steep 'slag' tip near the Fleet. Its blue flowers standing out against the yellow of the Ragwort. While the Ragwort is toxic, the Viper's Bugloss is supposedly medicinal. In ye olden times it was a remedy for headaches and inflammatory complaints also a cure for scorpion stings! alledgedly. The name Viper comes from the shape of the seed which resembles a viper's head. Bugloss is of greek origin meaning ox tonge and refers to the shape of the leaves. Posted by Picasa

Lapwing and Crow in aerial combat!

There are a pair of Lapwings nesting near 'The Fleet' unfortunately its also inhabited by Carrion Crows. My money is on the Lapwings! Posted by Picasa

Cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo)

Not a day for a swim! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday 30th May 2006

Our walk today went quickly, probably due to the cold north wind and cloudy skies. The picture of the Cormorants best describes the conditions, and if you look closly you can see a housemartin skimming across the water trying to find a meal. As we walked through the reed beds we could hear the Reed Buntings still in their nest, they must be due to fledge very soon. Hope for warmer weather later in the week.

Bank Holiday Monday

Today was a better day, we got out around 0800am, things were alot quieter, still very windy. There were four male mute swans on the west lake, they were fighting over territory and causing quite a disturbance especially with the Herons who got in the way. There seems to be an increase in the number of Swifts and Swallows this year, they must have wintered well in Africa.

Walk on Sunday

Tried to publish this post yesterday but it was faulty, or should I say I was faulty. Anyhow lets try again.
Went for our walk yesterday at 0930 am which is lateer than usual. Hoping to see and photograph insects and butterflies. Ended up having to cut short the walk due mainly to the weather, wind picked up and that made it difficult to hear and locate the birds, insects were hiding also. Not a big fan of weekends on the marsh, tend to get a lot of interuptions from other walkers and anglers on the fleet.
Saw that the life saving buoys had been vandalised, the better weather and longer days tends to bring out the gangs of yobs, usually on an evening.

White Campion (Silene alba)

I hope I've identified this pretty little flower correctly! Posted by Picasa

Water Lily pads

Think these are from the yellow water lily (Nuphar lutea) no flowers yet. Posted by Picasa

Fox (Vulpus vulpus)

I and Holly sat and watched him for several minutes as he negotiated a ridge above the marsh. There are several on the marsh and surrounding industrial land and they are quite bold, not afraid to be about during the day. You often come across the remnants of their last meal, afew chewed feathers and splashes of blood. Thats life on the marsh! Posted by Picasa

A little piece of marsh

From decay comes life! Posted by Picasa

Pochard (Aythya ferina)

How do they fly? Not what you'd call streamlined. Posted by Picasa

Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)

Taken on the bank of 'The Fleet' that drains into the marsh. Posted by Picasa

Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris)

It was hiding until a shaft of sun light found it! Posted by Picasa

Green-veined white (Pieris napi)

Small white butterfly, quite common. Posted by Picasa

Smooth Hawk's Beard (Crepis capillaris)

This plant is seen in large drifts all around the marsh. Posted by Picasa

Cow Parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris)

The perfume of the cow parsly is everywhere! Posted by Picasa

Reed Bunting (male) (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Very busy birds on the marsh. Always willing to pose for the camera. Posted by Picasa

Wall Brown Butterfly (Lasiommata megera)

Don't know alot about butterflies. Had to look them up to name them. Posted by Picasa

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

This is a great time of year! Posted by Picasa

Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

A frequent but unwelcome visitor to the marsh by the resident birds. You will often see this 'Raptor' being mobbed by crows as he glides over the reed beds. This photo was taken as he soared high on a thermal. Posted by Picasa

Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)

Watched this little bird for several minutes as it chased and caught insects. Quite an uncomman summer visiter and the first I've seen on the Marsh. However, its undistinguished plumage makes it easy to miss. Posted by Picasa

Effects of heavy rain on the Marsh

Visited the marsh today after the torrential rain. The water level must have been up by 2 feet, flooding some of the paths. The lack of birds was noticeable, especially the Reed Bunting, Sage Warblers. Also missing were Coots and Moorhens and even the Mallards. I hope that it is only temporary and that they will return. My concern is regarding their nests that could have been damaged by the rising water levels, hopefully if they have been lost they can rebuild.

Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

They have been in my garden all winter, but its nice to see them on the marsh.

Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)

I came across this beautiful flower near to the 'Fleet'. I thought it was the early purple orchid which is a common orchid. I now know that it is Bluebell.

Railway worker (Homo hominis opus)

One of our colourful, not rare but quite uncomman visitors to the marsh performing a dangerous ritual called 'Walking the Line'.

Peacock Butterfly (Inachis io)

One of our biggest and most striking of butterflies, photographed earlier in the month just as the pusssy willow was emerging on the willow trees along the banks of the 'Fleet' . The best time to photograph insects such as butterflies is early morning while they are at rest, warming up. Posted by Picasa

Bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius)

These hairy bees are very important in the polination of our plants. The queen emerges from hibernation in early spring to begin the search for a suitable nest sight for her colony which can number around 300. Posted by Picasa

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

We have had a couple of grey herons all year and now we are getting more and more. I wonder how many we'll end up with this year? All of you with fish ponds beware! Posted by Picasa

Mallard (Anas platyrhynichos)

This group of males (drakes) have formed a pod, for want of a collective noun, and have been together for about a week. The males are known for their infidelity, they will abandon the female once she is deposited on the eggs and go in search of their next 'wife'. Don't often get to see their orange legs. It is believed that there is a bit of Mallard in all domestic ducks, which can be seen in the curly feathers found on their rump. Posted by Picasa

Brown Hare (Lepus europaenus)

This fellow came running towards me and it wasn't untill I clicked the camera that he stopped and spotted me. Holly was amazed and perhaps a lttle shocked at his audacity or maybe he was a little too big to chase! Posted by Picasa

Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

Not to be mistaken with the 'Shag' which has a different head and neck shape. This bird has been on the Marsh for a few weeks now and appears to like this perch to dry his feathers. Their plumage is not waterproof, which is an aid to diving. When seen swimming they have an almost submerged body profile.