A fairly quiet morning, three passing Mute Swans on the fishing pond, the resident family are on the long pond and we checked, all the cygnets are still alive.
In the afternoon came across two Little Egrets on one of the Willow trees around one of the square ponds, not seen them on the trees before, see photo.
Lots of small birds are now hunting for food and there are plenty of the small green caterpillars, approximately 1 centimetre long, on the Willow trees, see photos. The leaves are only just starting to grow and these small creatures haven’t wasted any time getting stuck in.
Bob and Bri
The warmest day this year was yesterday and it certainly brought out the wildlife.
The swans on the fishing pond ventured from the reeds with their brood of seven cygnets and led them straight up the bank. This morning they decided to walk them along the path, 150 yards to the long pond, probably safer away from the fishing fraternity.
While watching the swans a Little Grebe crossed the pond on the surface, quite unusual they normally dive at any sign of human activity.
The Large Damselflies were out in force and during the taking of the shots I noticed a Dark Tussock moth caterpillar in the Willow tree.
Today the Cuckoos were back, we only heard one calling but Ian and Chris had seen both.
Bob and Bri
Bri the farmer has become a dad again!, with the birth of two calves, what weather to be born into. The calf in the photo has been keeping warm lying in long grass in a dip out of the wind.
Pond 35 which was mentioned yesterday, has been cleaned today by Steve the Natural England Manager, see photo, it is certainly looking better but will the natterjacks come back before the weed, that is the question.
Flowers are starting to appear, Germander Speedwell a delicate little blue flower and the pink Common Storksbill are in the shots today.
The apple trees are in full blossom and with the shortage of bees they were going to struggle but now a cold northerly wind is here to complete the task.
Both the Cuckoo were in hiding today, myself, Ian and Jenny spent quite some time on the reserve but with no luck.
Yesterday we spotted a Kestrel on one of the red warning lights fitted on the airfield, see photo.
Natterjack spawn has been very poor up to present with only three strings being found, the usual pond has not been used , probably because it is full of Blanket Weed a type of Algae. Sacks of Barley Straw have been deposited in the pond, this is supposed to kill it, but at the moment it is just doing the opposite see photo.
Ian and I had a good look around the area where the Coral Root Orchid grows but did not find any, they are only small and seem to grow in amongst the Ground Willow, which makes them very difficult to see so we may have missed the odd one, but we did spot a newly emerged Small Copper, see photo.
Ian and Bri
Last year on the 16th May, the male Cuckoo arrived and soon found his partner, who had already been on the reserve for about two weeks. In the afternoon, Ian and myself watched two Cuckoos carry out a mating ritual.
This year the male arrived on the 17th but no female, and this morning Ian text to say he had seen the pair and when Bob and myself arrived an hour later we witnessed a similar display to last year, it certainly looked like they had already spotted a Pipits nest. Photos attached were taken at some distance and therefore not very clear.
Bob, Ian and Bri
Another cool start to the day but at last the greenery is starting to grow. We came across three Roe deer this morning and as can be seen from the attached shot of a last years young, it’s in the middle of shedding the winter coat, at least it thinks things are warming up !
On the long pond there were the first clutch of Mallard ducklings, see photo, she will struggle to keep them all safe, from all the predators.
This afternoon there was a newly emerged Orange Tip butterfly in Gillies Field, the orange was really sharp and bright.
Bob and Bri
The weather has been kind to Walney today, we have missed the sleet, hail and rain, but the wind managed to hang around, and in the sheltered areas it was pleasantly warm with the aroma of coconuts from the flowering Gorse.
Flowers are starting to bloom, plenty of Wild Pansy and Common Vetch to be seen.
Came across my first Large Red Damselfly this year west of the fishing pond.
The Herring Gull population has decided to sit down on BAE runway, not a good place to rest.
We have not yet found any Natterjack strings in the usual pond, and the pond itself is looking very unhealthy, covered in Blanket Weed. Hopefully this warm spell will entice them out, but there survival will be is at risk due to the weed. As we checked this morning one of the cows casually stepped under the top line of barbed wire and over the lower line to have a drink.
Spotted our first Speckled Wood at the weekend, a definite sign things are warming up.
The Sparrow Hawk we found nesting last year has built a new nest only yards from the original, but is not sitting yet.
This morning we found two halves of an egg in the field, not sure what sort of bird,
looks very similar to a Red Legged Partridge or a Coot, see photo against eggs in book.
Bob and Bri