It’s been a lovely week on the reserve. Blue skies, sun, frosty mornings and green trees – what more could you want? Green is definitely the most dominant colour in the woods now.
It’s not just the trees that are coming out. Down on Parkin’s moss, a couple of the insectivorous plants have appeared. The small, red sundew is quite familiar but bladderwort is less well-known. It’s an aquatic insect eater, sucking small swimming things into the “bladders” on its leaves and then digesting them.
In the morning, the woods ring with birdsong. Bird listening is even better than bird watching for knowing what’s about! This tree pipit was giving it lalldy from the top of a pine.
And the willow warblers are one of the birds you’re most likely to hear here.
Other birds try to impress in other ways. This osprey had caught a huge great fish, and was flying slowly round and round with it. “Look at me”, he’s saying, “look what a good fisher and provider I’d be, if I was your mate”. Right enough, that’s an impressive catch.
We also heard our first cuckoo this week, on Wednesday.
While other birds are still nest-building. Someone’s been stuffing the swallow box full of moss….but who?
Tchisik! Ah, it’s the pied wagtails. We’ve had these nest here as often as not, either above the door or in one of the never-used-by-swallows swallow boxes.
But some birds have already found mates and have bred. We saw these graylag babies on Wednesday, the same day we heard the newly-returned cuckoo. The geese must have sat tight through all the snow and cold we had in the last fortnight.
And this song thrush has a family to raise too. He, or she, has an absolute gobful of worms. If they see a smaller worm, they’ll drop the big one, pick up the smaller one and eat it, then pick up the big worm again, confident they’ll spot it on the ground. A bit of a shame for the worm, only getting temporary freedom before being fed to the baby thrushes!
And finally- if you visit us or anywhere in the countryside this weekend- please, please don’t light fires. The countryside is awfully dry- we’ve only had a couple of inches of rain in the last month and everything is dust-dry. So please- take sandwiches fro your lunch, not sausages for the BBQ, and help us keep the countryside safe.