On Monday 20th May I took a walk around Fishlake Meadows after 2 and a half weeks off. I couldn’t believe how much had changed in such a short time. The thing that struck me the most were how many more flowers were out in bloom. There really is a wonderful array of flowers at Fishlake Meadows at the moment.
Walking along the canal I couldn’t believe how much greener the canal bank looked, and spotted this wonderful hart’s-tongue fern. Just across the canal from it, is where the culvert from the new houses flows in to the canal. I often see a pair of grey wagtails feeding along the flow of water there, but the vegetation has grown up quickly and covers the view now, I’m sure the grey wagtails appreciate the privacy though.
Either side of the canal path there were lots of insects buzzing around the plants and flowers. Plenty of butterflies were in view, mainly whites, with some peacocks and commas. From the canal path I could see dense patches of yellow flag iris around the pools near the permissive path and I couldn’t wait to get a closer look.
Getting towards Ashley Meadow I could see that there was a huge spread of buttercups in flower, looking beautiful. I went in to Ashley Meadow to see what else was coming in to flower. I was rewarded with seeing red clover, common comfrey, cut-leaved cranesbill and 2 southern marsh orchids, although I’m sure there were more.
Walking along the east/west path there were lots of warblers singing away, including a grasshopper warbler, sounding just as you’d imagine with its rapid fire clicks. At the corner near the gate in to the permissive path a hawthorn is in full flower. This one is quite pink and stands out beautifully.
Heading on down the permissive path, being shouted at by lots of cetti’s warblers I noticed even more flowers, this time 2 different vetches. Common vetch with its larger deep pink/purple flowers and tufted vetch with its smaller multitude of flowers tightly packed together.
There were then more buttercups, one with a lovely, shiny, male swollen-thighed beetle on it. Insects were clearly enjoying the warm weather as there was another beetle enjoying this chickweed flower, on closer inspection I think this may be a female swollen-thighed beetle.
Near to the screens in the ditch I always enjoy seeing the sublime blue of the water forget-me-not, its such a rich, beautiful blue. Photos never quite seem to do it justice.
From the screens themselves, the yellow flag iris were truly impressive, and looks like more will be coming in to flower soon. A female mallard was very close to the screen with one duckling that had been resting in one of the vegetation tussocks.
The wildlife delights weren’t quite over for me, as I walked back along the permissive path a cuckoo began calling from very close by. Fishlake Meadows seems to be a very good site for cuckoo, with up to 5 being recorded again this year.
It was great to spend time just exploring Fishlake Meadows and really taking time to study the flowers and insects when I often end up just focusing on birds. The reserve is wonderful for a whole host of wildlife.