The Empress of Blashford

Further to the posting of a few days ago concerning the emergence of a large number of dragonflies, Jacki and I had an excellent view of a female Emperor Dragonfly, yesterday,  whilst we were hacking back some of the invasive vegetation on the paths around Ellingham Lake.

Female Emperor Dragonfly

Female Emperor Dragonfly

Another notable sighting from Saturday, was a Cuckoo which flew, right to left and about ten feet from the front of the Ivy North hide, as I was closing down. Having settled in the clump of trees to the left of the hide it then flew back again, before dropping down into the reeds. I’m guessing that it was a female prospecting for a suitable nest in which to lay an egg.

Noticeable in the now strongly growing reed bed there are a large number of yellow Flag Iris adding a splash of colour to the view.

Flag Iris

Flag Iris

Other colourful touches are currently being provided by storksbill, cut-leaved geranium, speedwell and buttercups. A couple of plants that thrive in shady places and both have a common name that begins with ‘herb’, are Herb Robert  and Herb Bennet. Knowing  Jim’s penchant for eating his way around the reserve, I was idly speculating whether either or both would provide suitable accompaniment to his nettle soup!!!

Herb Robert

Herb Robert

Herb Bennet

Herb Bennet

Interestingly these plants were named after our previous and current Reserves Officers!!!!!!

I alluded to a somewhat regal/imperial status of the dragonfly above. If there are any other aristocratic residents on the reserve who are seeking to escape from 18th century revolutionary France, they might well call on the help of our ‘secret agent’, this rather colourful scarlet pimpernel.

Scarlet Pimpernell

Scarlet pimpernel

But it’s not just the flowers which provide fascinating displays, even the humble dandelion (lion’s tooth) has a pretty seedhead.

Dandelion seed head

Dandelion seed head

On the bird front there are still good numbers of sand martin, swallow and swift in the area. And there is also positive evidence of breeding success for the coots occupying one of the small floating rafts in front of the Ivy South hide, in the form of two rather ‘punk-like’ chicks.

Coot and young

Coot and young

However, it never does to get too excited by the prospects of summer and as if to remind us of  things to come the influx of non-breeding mute swan presented a sight reminiscent of another holiday season in the form of ‘Seven swans a swimming’…………….

Unseasonal swan activity

Unseasonal swan activity?

Only 198 more shopping days!!!!!!!!!!!!  Bah Humbug!!


2 thoughts on “The Empress of Blashford

  1. Great blog. Pity the Coot brood is down to 2! Last Wednesday 5th there were 4, but a group of us watched, in suspense, from the hide, as one youngster plunged into the water & swam to the shore under the hide, becoming lost from view by the vegetation. The parent on duty, probably the femail, was obviously worried & swam over to try & find it, but soon realised that, in so doing, she was leaving the other 3 open to predation, so quickly swam back to the nest, leaving the errant youngster to it’s fate. It was seen briefly to the right of the hide, under the vegetation, but no doubt succumbed to one of the resident pike, or similar, as has one of it’s siblings.

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