Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Feckenham Update

The reserve is looking fabulous; after just a week or so of warm weather everything is growing fast. 

The area of new reed where we cleared the dead reed during the winter is progressing well and should be good and thick this year. There is already a sedge warbler dodging in and out of the old stand of last years reed so hopefully it is building a nest and will soon be bringing up a family; provided our resident cuckoo (who arrived on April 12th this year, a week earlier than usual) doesn't spot the nest. So far I have only heard the male cuckoo but that is not to say that there will be a mate somewhere around. 

I saw the first large red damselfly of the year on Monday and very splendid it was in it's fresh bright colours. 

I have also found good numbers of orange tip eggs on the lady's smock and there are plenty of females around alighting on the flower heads. Green veined whites are also abundant.

We have 3 new arrivals on the main pool which as far as I can recall have not been to FWM before. They are, of course, greylag geese, who have mixed in with the Canadas.  We've now got 13 of the latter in residence, which for me is 11 too many! 

I have noticed that the stonewort has started to fill the new dragonfly pond by the Mouch bridge. This is something which amazes me every time we dig a new pond. This plant lies dormant in the clay until the right water conditions prevail and then it colonises very quickly. It's good news as it provides excellent cover for inverts. 
The answer to last times quiz is still un-answered so I will give you all a little longer to have a guess. Go for it Roger if you have an idea. When this is solved I have another ready.

Paul, Feckenham Wylde Moor

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The place to visit...

If you only go to one Trust reserve this spring then visit Broadmoor Wood.  By Rubery leisure, the figure of eight path can be walked in around 30 minutes.

It's looking spectacular at the moment.  The pool is  covered in a blanket of golden kingcups, more than I’ve seen anywhere. The bluebells and hazel wood also look fantastic. Amongst the bluebells is yellow archangel, celandine, stitchwort and wood anemone. Opposite leaved saxifrage is growing in the dingles.  

Thanks to Ian and his team of volunteers for maintaining it and coppicing the hazel.  Kingcups are out in full and bluebells should be at their peak next week.  Made even more impressive as the tree leaves are barely out....

Andy, Broadmoor Wood

Monday, 11 April 2011

Helping butterflies at Trench Wood

We worked in Trench Wood last Sunday to to improve habitat for the white-letter hairstreak.

The elms are marked with tape (photographer: Andrew Curran)
A white-letter hairstreak was recorded in this area in 2009, the first for some years, and a subsequent elm survey found several trees.  The aim of the work last weekend was to clear the elms of surrounding trees, particularly on the south-facing side, to encourage egg-laying.

I am leading a guided walk on Sunday 10th July meeting at the reserve car park at 11.00 am and will be particularly looking for further white-letter hairstreak sightings.   

Mike, Trench Wood

Thursday, 7 April 2011

On the up...

Stormy skies gave way on Wednesday to bright blue skies and high temperatures. I recorded 24 degrees in a sheltered spot. The sun was out and so were the butterflies and in good numbers. Our first orange tips were about and the first ladies smock in flower (hence one or two eggs were found - butterflies don't hang about)!  There is plenty more to come so hopefully this year will be another record one for this attractive butterfly. 

There were also many brimstone, comma and peacock. 

There are signs of the ragged robin plants coming through and coverage looks encouraging. I found the first common spotted orchid leaves as well, which is excellent. Cowslips are starting to flower and, if the warm spell continues, these will be worth seeing en mass on the southern end of the reserve. 

I spotted this chiffchaff eating the sallow catkins; I suspect getting some energy from the nectar. 

I also watched a pair buzzards who looked like they were pairing up, the male spiralling and turning in display and the femal sitting on a fence post taking notice then flying off with him. A green woodpecker flew noisily across the main pool.

All in all there is a significant amount of activity and plenty of bird song now. I am looking forward to the next week or so when I hope to hear our cuckoo which usually arrives around the 18th - 22nd.

No suggestions for the last quiz so here is is answer.....orange tip wing pattern. Here is another to test your skills. Again, it's not here yet but it won't be too long. 

Paul, Feckenham Wylde Moor

Monday, 4 April 2011

Spring work party

Well that's it then, the last timetabled work party for this season and as Alan put it:  "No more cakes and ale then!"  Alan, like the rest of us, enjoys his refreshment at the end of each work party but, unlike the rest of us, knew the quote was from 'Twelfth Night'!

We've had a successful season with a great bunch of people who have all worked so well that all the planned work was finished ahead of schedule and this session was really tidying up the loose ends.

We've cleared the last of the paths, I hope the photo makes them enticing enough so that that people will choose to walk them and keep them open.

Amongst the new volunteers this season we have been delighted to welcome Chris Thomas who, ably assisted by Ian Williams, has repaired old nest boxes and made us some new ones. Chris was able to come along and help us put them up, a little late but I've already seen blue tits inspecting them.  Chris is our youngest volunteer (by quite a large margin - sorry the rest of you!) and is now keen to help the local group in all sorts of ways.

One of the delights of the wood at this time of year is the appearance, between snowdrop time and the bluebells, of the daffodils; introduced, of course, and not for the purist but if you don't think they should be there at least you can be assured they are up and gone in no time. And for the rest of us they look great!

Amongst all the introduced species, I've finally found, creeping under the fence at the bottom of the reserve, our first patch of wood sorrell; not a rarity for those of you with 'real' nature reserves but it shows we are moving in the right direction!

 Roger, Chance Wood