Last Friday Bob had some dead trees at Blashford Lakes that needed felling, so I headed over to be his first aid cover. It was so great to venture further afield and get to have a look around the reserve again. The wildflower seed matting next to the welcome hut and around the new pond was packed with ragged robin.
On Monday I checked the Ashley Meadow fence line to make sure it was all in tact ahead of the cattle coming on sometime in June. On the last stretch I found the remains of what I think was a rat, given the size of the tail, on one of the fenceposts. As there are many birds of prey at Fishlake Meadows I wouldn’t like to say for certain what type of bird took it, but I imagine it much be quite a big one.
I then walked the rest of the paths, seeing lots of damselflies and what I’m fairly sure was a downy emerald dragonfly, but it flew away before I could get a good look. All around the reserve lots of common comfrey is in flower with its variable flower colours, it’s a great nectar source for many insects and a food plant of the scarlet tiger moth caterpillar.
Bittersweet is also coming in to flower along the permissive path, its flowers are so striking with the contrasting deep purple and bright yellow, they are great to see. As it’s a member of the nightshade family, the berries that develop later are poisonous. Still, it’s bright coloured flowers are great to look at.
More and more insects are around at the moment, this hoverfly, which I’m fairly sure is helophilus pendulus, common name sun fly, was nectaring on a rose. Its latin name translates to “dangling marsh lover” and is typically found around boggy areas. There is a massive diversity in hoverflies and they can be difficult to identify, a group I’m keen to try and learn more about.