Flutterings & Flowers

Posted by Ian

August 15th—can’t believe we are suddenly in the late stages of summer already.Inspite of the very mixed bag of weather we have had the reserve has been full of interest this year,my own prize would go to the cuckoos that were around for some time and rewarded us with some fascinating sightings,which still continue as we have observed a young cuckoo for the last five days on the path alongside the long pond.As noted before on the blog,there are teasels in flower on the old tip,something I have never seen before.They are a biennial plant which grows year one flowers year two and then dies.Nearby the teasels there is a great example of the common mullein,about three feet in height but can reach eight feet!.Along the shore line there are some nice examples of the yellow horned poppy,along with the white flowering sea rocket.As the weather warmed up the butterfly sightings have increased and this seems a good year for graylings,common blues and meadow browns.Jenny asked about small coppers—there have been many in the dunes this year,in yesterdays heat they were everywhere.Two or three weeks ago there were many sightings of the dark green fritillary,their colours were stunning but they seem to have a short cycle and have now vanished.I have only seen one painted lady this year,unlike two years ago when we were over run with them. The swifts seem to have left us and started their journey south as I have not seen one for over two weeks now,pity as they kept Brian amused for hours as he tried to get them to pose for him.No sand martins on the reserve this year,but a walk on the south of the island last week found them nesting and raising young in the red clay cliffs. The sedge warbler family on the corner of the long pond seem to have moved on and the grasshopper warblers that have been very vocal over the last week or so now have gone quiet.Just when it looks like the wildlife year is coming to a close we have others to look forward to ,short eared owls, merlins,harriers etc. along with the autumn/migrants—its never dull.