Despite the overnight rain and a rather soggy start to opening up the day turned out to be quite sunny eventually. Dockens Water was running high as you can see here in this view from one of the bridges.
I didn’t open up the Tern Hide car-park first thing as the level of water was such that it was only accessible to anyone wearing Wellington boots – this eventually drained partly and so was opened later.
Next Sunday I’m due to lead a walk looking for ‘ Spring Firsts’ and when these things are planned and put in the events diary it’s always done with the hope that the weather will be kind and that nature will conform to the ‘normal’ pattern of seasonal progression. Having had a short walk around this morning I’m quietly confident there will be things to see, but can’t promise what the weather will be like…
Many trees are starting to show signs of the changing season including willow catkins.
On the ground the leaves of many plants are pushing through the soil, including lots of wild arum (Arum maculatum) like this rather delicately spotted leaf found under some trees by the path.
Arum is a fairly common and widespread plant with a distinctive flower spike (spathe)pushing up inside a cup-like leafy structure (spadix) and it has many alternative old country names including ‘cuckoo pint’ and ‘lords and ladies’. It is, perhaps, better known from the stage once the bright red berries have formed.
Woodpeckers have been drumming regularly, lapwing displaying and giving their characteristic ‘peewit‘ call and at least one pair of great crested grebe have been engaged in courtship display.
Around the feeders in the Centre car-park area both siskin and lesser redpoll are using the feeders and taking food off the ground.
There are still a few brambling around and one of our regular visitors has reported seeing a hawfinch in the same area on more than one occasion. This bird is rather shy and has only been seen from some distance, so don’t expect it to be as obliging as the siskin and redpoll.
Worryingly one visitor reported hearing the sound of mating mink, it’s apparently a high-pitched screaming, just outside the Ivy South Hide .