May already!

It’s been a mixed week, weather-wise on the reserve this week. It started with a glorious Monday but went it downhill after that. However, before it turned cool, our colleague Helen, from the ranger service, was out and spotted this beautiful and rare Kentish Glory moth. No longer found in Kent, they are dependant on young birch trees to provide soft enough leaves for their caterpillars. Once the trees get much more than 3 m in height, they can’t eat the leaves any more, they are too tough and in high in toxins. Deeside is one of the strongholds of this lovely but rare moth.

Male kentish glory moth

Male Kentish glory moth

Helen was also lucky enough to literally trip over this woodcock nest, with three eggs on the verge of hatching. Woodcock have fantastic camouflage and they will sit tight, even if they aren’t on a nest, until the very last second before erupting skywards. They can land you on your backside with sheer shock and there’s no describing the breath-stopping, heart-pounding second of terror before you realise what it is! Many thanks to Helen for letting us use these pictures- thanks.

Woodcock eggs, close to hatching

Woodcock eggs, close to hatching

We’ve had a fair bit of coastal fog, the dreaded haar, this week, and it comes far enough inland to make it hazy and cool at Dinnet. It has generally burnt off by the afternoon, but has made for some damp mornings. It’s been weather for looking at beauty close-up, in the dew on a thistle or a spider’s web, rather than admiring non-existent views. The do say if you wash your face in the first dew of May, it’ll make you beautiful – well, plenty of chance for that this year!

The fine drizzle has coated all the thistles in fine dew

The fine drizzle has coated all the thistles in fine dew

All the cobwebs are grey with dew

All the cobwebs are grey with dew

If you don’t fancy venturing out,  we have been privileged to host an exhibition of photographs from a schools’ photography competition which ran earlier this year. Readers of the blog may remember we had the winners visiting the reserve for a photography workshop as their prize? It’s their pictures which are on display and there are some absolute crackers.

Photography completion winners- cracking photos

Photography completion winners- cracking photos

The wild flowers are looking a little sad in the rain. The wood anemones look especially sorry, with their closed flowers and nodding heads. You occasionally see pinky- purple versions of anemones like these.

Purple wood anemones looking very bedraggled in the rain

Purple wood anemones looking very bedraggled in the rain

The greater stitchwort have also come out this week. They’re usually one of the last spring  wildflowers to come out, and seem a bit earlier than normal this year. Maybe the mild winter?

Greater Stichwort

Greater Stichwort

While we don’t condone littering, the things we find can occasionally make us smile, even if we do wonder quite how they got here….

Some unusual litter in one of the lay-bys......

Some unusual litter in one of the lay-bys……

To our great surprise, we also saw two adders on Wednesday, in the rain. It was so cool and damp, we thought they’d be curled up somewhere in a nice dry burrow or crevice in the dyke. But a couple of big, brown females were out, trying and failing miserably to bask in the drizzle. They were very sluggish and I can’t say I blamed them – it wasn’t a nice day to be out! Maybe next week will be nicer, and there’s the May Day holiday to enjoy. We’ll maybe see you here!

Large female adder in the rain on Wednesday

Adder in the rain on Wednesday

 

Another adder in the rain. You won't often see them in grass this wet.

Another adder in the rain. You won’t often see them in grass this wet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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