Thursday, 29 March 2012

First, Early Spring Visit to Some of our Ponds.

I had a look round some of the ponds today. It was a bit cooler than
the last few days have been, but very pleasant nevertheless
The bridle-path off Valentines Lane is
beginning to green up.
Several of the ponds have their resident Waterhens present,
like this one east of Valentine's Lane, near the canal.

The flowers on the Ash trees are in abundance this year, but not on every tree.
Once the leaves start to appear I'll be paying particular attention -
"ASH before OAK, we're in for a soak,
OAK before ASH, nowt but a splash"

The newly created pond just east of Valentine's Lane is still surrounded by
bare soil. I do hope that in addition to the grass seed that's been put down,
there will be plenty of wildflower meadow seeds among it.

Marsh Marigolds always create a splash of early spring colour.

 A smaller group of marigold flowers.
The Marsh Marigold is also known as KING CUP.
Here's a single flower head.

 The Reedmace is now going to seed, and the fluffy seeds can
be seen all over the grass downwind from where they commenced.
You can almost see the seeds struggling to escape.

Some little boy isn't going to be Mr. Happy at the moment!
If anyone reading knows who's it is, it was hanging on the railing in
Greenside, not far from the big pond by the roundabout.

Men's afternoon off!

A pair of Coot are nesting on the Haydock Lane pond.
They're awfully close to the viewing platform, so approach it with care.
It is part of a local study being conducted by a group of local bird-ringers,
who are carrying out an in-depth study of the species.
Posted by: Steve Halliwell

Saturday, 24 March 2012

BACK IN THE FIELD: Saturday 24th March

The project that brought a temporary halt to my efforts on this
site is now under control, (See Post titled 'A Diversification !)
Today I managed to get out and see how spring is progressing,
on the day the clocks go forward; and what a fantastic day it was.
I had a walk around the perimeter of Maxy House Farm, and 
found it to be particularly quiet as far as bird life is concerned.
I was hoping that the Lapwings may have returned, but unlike
the ones down at Brockholes Wetland, where I saw them back on
territory yesterday, there was no sign of them.
A Common Buzzard was over the farm fields being harried
by a lone Carrion Crow, while several Rooks were feeding in 
 neighbouring fields, which are still very soft, and just the way
they like them!
In fact there were more butterflies than birds today - bit of an
exaggeration, but it seemed that way.
A few Peacock butterflies (above) were seen today,
but only one Small Tortoiseshell (below)
Niether photo was taken today.
Lesser Celandines can be quite spectacular, particularly when 
they are massed in woodland, or as they were today, on the
banks of several of the ditches.
Flowers don't come much whiter than those of the Blackthorn, 
and there were many, just cominginto bloom in some of the 
hedges on the farm. They really make it feel like spring is here.
I'll get round the Cottam ponds in a day or two, and track
 their progress throughout the spring and summer.
Posted by: Steve Halliwell