Rodley was at its very best today and we were free to enjoy it as we choose. 6 of us met in the car park having taken a variety of forms of transport- car, bicycle or bus/foot. We met up with Graham who gave us a brief introduction to developments on the reserve (he had kindly opened the disabled toilet for our use).The plan was to look at the plants in the ponds and surrounds including the two education ponds (used by children for pond dipping) and several dragonfly ponds.The ponds were noticeably overgrown which was much to our liking (Water soldier had taken over one or two of the ponds). It was good to have Joan with us to assist with identification, no need to trawl through the books! It was surprisingly warm if not very hot at times. We completed a circular tour of the ponds returning via the Butterfly bank to enjoy lunch at the picnic tables.
The plants included:-
Ponds - Water soldier, Fringed water-lily, White water-lily, Pondweed, Bulrush, Marsh cinquefoil, Bogbean, Water mint,Common Water-plantain, Narrow- leaved Water- plantain, Lesser spearwort, Flowering-rush, Arrowhead.
Tim's Field-(planted as a crop for wintering birds)-Mayweed, Redleg, Barley, Garden radish, Hemp agrimony
Surrounding wetland vegetation- Loosestrife, Figwort, Common Hemp-nettle, Canadian Fleabane, Mugwort
Butterfly bank and meadow- Bellflower, Field Scabious, St John's wort, Musk mallow, Marjoram, Meadow Crane's-bill, Crown Vetch, Vipers Bugloss, Mullein and Agrimony.
The insect life was plentiful with dragonflies and butterflies being most active (too active for my liking as they failed to settle for identification purposes). However we were able to identify a brown hawker dragonfly and dragonflies were seen oviposting on a White water-lily leaf. Barbara commented on their aggressive territorial personalties. On checking with my guide I discovered was that these were males and were fighting off any other male rivals in the hope of mating with a female. Interestingly I was informed by Graham that a red eyed damselfly has been seen at Rodley this year.
Butterfly species included Meadow brown in good numbers, Peacock, Small copper, Gatekeeper and numerous white butterflies possibly Small white.
Birds seen included 2 buzzards circling in the sky above us, also 2 egrets flying past ( Rodley has attracted 4 egrets this year), a pheasant (possibly with chicks).
Following lunch at the picnic tables our group of 6 split up, 3 returning home while 3 completed a tour of the newly created meadow (Poppy, Wild carrot, Yarrow and Honey suckle as well as Black poplar could be added to our list).
We certainly were appreciative of the efforts of Rodley's volunteers in extending the reserve for visitors. We were able to enjoy the fruits of their labours.
Note to Graham Thanks. Joan has not done a list. The main flower species seen are included in the text of the Blog
See photos here