Monday 21st May

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.

Harts tongue fern

Hart’s-tongue fern

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.

Buttercups in ashley meadow

Buttercups in Ashley Meadow

Red clover

Red clover

Common comfrey white

White common comfrey

Common Comfrey purple

Pink/purple common comfrey

cut-leaved cranesbill

Cut-leaved cranesbill

Southern marsh orchid Ashley Meadow1

Southern marsh orchid coming in to flower

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.

Hawthorn blossom

Hawthorn in flower

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.

Common vetch

Common vetch

Tufted vetch

Tufted vetch

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.

Buttercup with male swollen-thighed beetler

Male swollen-thighed beetle

Chickweed spp with beetle

Beetle on chickweed flower, possibly 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.

water forget-me-not

Water forget-me-not

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.

Female mallard and duckling from screen

Female mallard and duckling

yellow flag iris from the screen

Yellow flag iris

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.

Yellow flag iris on pool near permissive gate

Yellow flag iris around pool near the permissive path gate.



1 thought on “Monday 21st May

  1. Beautiful Orchid photo and Ive never seen the Tufted Vetch..will look out for that one. Fishlake definitely needs another visit from me when I have the time, its looking splendid 🙂

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