Today the sunshine had brought out the butterflies and also Bees members. 10 of us arrived at Rodley nature reserve for an exploration of the reserve, some were completely unfamiliar with the reserve, some had visited for practical willow coppicing work in the winter months and some were old friends. The reserve, primarily developed to promote bird life, has several habitats - lakes, ponds, arable fields (a crop grown for bird seed), hedgerows and meadows. Today our main focus was on one of the most recent projects - the development of the duck marsh into an area attractive for waders through the reduction of the water levels and creation of exposed mud banks. We departed slowly in the direction of the hides taking in the ponds and field crop. From the hides we viewed around five heron in the lagoon in the company of little egret and cormorant. There were good numbers of lapwing present also mallard and little grebe. It will be interesting to see how this project develops.
The group moved on to explore the other areas of the reserve whether together or individually. The dragonfly ponds and surrounding areas are magnificent at this time of year with their unique wetland flowers such as fringed water lily, water soldier, lesser spearwort to name but a few. I was particularly pleased to see the regrowth of species such as common hemp nettle , fiddleneck, marsh woundwort in an area that had been cleared for the planting of willow trees, benefical for dragonflies.
One of the highlights of the day for myself was the butterfly population seen around the picnic tables near the visitor centre .They had been attracted by the buddlia bushes. Brimstone male and female, comma, tortoiseshell, meadow brown, gatekeeper and red admiral were spotted.
Sue had kept an owl watch. She noticed activity in the nest box but wasn't fortunate enough to see a barn owl returning with food for the youngsters. Other birds seen during the day were red kite, two buzzards circling in the sky, also a sparrowhawk and jay.
One of the main benefits of the day was a social one. We were able meet up with old friends and welcome new ones. Please note the flora species were too numerous to mention on this occasion however they were noted in last years two blogs. No new species for the reserve were recorded by Alice. To conclude we had a lovely day out with thanks to Graham for his usual courtesy and assistance.
There are lots of lovely photos in the Gallery provided by our expert photographers.