BEN RHYDDING AGAIN. 26th MAY 2020
Inspired by Margaret's blog Joan and I met there at 10.15am. It was chillier than we had anticipated but good timing as we almost had the reserve to ourselves. We did not see any major damage after the recent winds although there was plenty of twig litter and on the very dry meadow last years' teasel stems were regimented at 45 degrees to perpendicular.
Weld outside the gate triggered our spotting followed soon by Thyme leaved Sandwort. On the meadow, species number and plant coverage in protected and non protected areas clearly indicated the rabbit damage.
In spite of this the Southern Marsh Orchids, although as yet short, are opening . A single small patch of Scarlet Pimpernel, (a new plant on the BEES list for the reserve), with its widely opened flowers told us it was lunch time.( The petals are fully open only around midday) While we ate, both saw a kingfisher flash along the river.
On the damper banks of the river and lagoons, Dame's Violet and Russian Comfrey showed tall growth. Growing in the mud were diminutive Marsh ferns and, within feet of these, the magnificent Ostrich Ferns alone would have made the visit worthwhile. No spore fronds were found.
Yellow water lilies continue to flower and large patches of yellow Flag Iris were opening. A solo walk by Alice along the south side of the West Lagoon was cut short by the presence of a Mute Swan nesting nearby. I found it compelling to watch the removal and discarding of nest material then selection of fresh pieces for replacement - all of course watched from more than two metres distance! Botanical interest here was Spike Rush.
Confidently we recorded Hairy Sedge and Wood Sedge then Pond Sedge provoked the usual "Is it Greater or Lesser?". Lesser was decided but only Greater is on our record sheet. Another visit brewing? The patch is only a few yards round along the path to the right; let us know your opinion if you visit. With a further five plants to add to our record for the reserve it shows the importance of regular visits.
Mallard and Coot swam around and a Black headed Gull flew up and down the river. Robins and Blackbirds sang - so did others. A few of the smaller white butterflies were on the wing as was a Common Heath Moth (I think) . Blue Damsel Flies were seen too as were many more flowers.
On leaving the roadside parking area was full.
We cannot promise the kingfisher but the recce is now done for next year!
Alice and Joan