June 19, 2016

Buttercups, Daisies and Jackdaws

Now is the time to start meadow watching as they slowly fill up with wildflowers.  Meadows never look the same year on year as many plants only appear every two years and depend on how well the seed germinates within each season.

It is from the top of a double-decker  bus that you get the  beautiful  vista  of  fields filled with  rippled  lakes of vibrant yelow and white  of buttercups, (Ranunculus)  dandelions and daisies  (Asteraceae)

It also appears to be a bumper year for insects which is great for the birds feeding their young but not so great for being bitten oneself when out and about.  This damp humid weather is just perfect  for them all.

 A young family of Jackdaws living in the neighbour-hood  have joined forces with another young family  and are entertaining us all with their very noisy antics.  They also never stop talking about what they are up too.  Currently apprentice young Jackdaws are being taught the delights of clearing gutters to which they seem to take with considerable  gusto going by the amount of rubbish on the side path every morning. This group have lived in the same area for some years now as I can now  recognise  individual  birds by odd feathers and their unique calls.

The only other place I know where you can get this personal relationship with a large group of Jackdaws is in the village of Grasmere  in the Lake District where generations of corvids  live  in and around the old Parish Church.  It is a delight to listen to their chatter as they settle in their roost for the night.  It is also a wonderful place to hear Thrushes in the old trees using the acoustics of the valley to project their voices long distances.

Strangely  June is  a quiet period for butterfly spotting as last years butterflies have laid their eggs and died and the new caterpillars have yet to morph into this years new ones.

I recently had the opportunity to visit and work on the WhiteMoss Wetland Reclamation project site which is being turned into a nature reserve.  Nature with some encouragement is happily moving back into the area.  What is so amazing is the number of Skylarks nesting in one place and somewhere were you would not expect them to favour.  As we worked planting seed, probably much to their subsequent delight, the singing from the surrounding shrubbery was deafening so much so it drowned out the massive machinery operating in and around the site.         http://www.whitemoss.co.uk/wetland-restoration/

Shelduck, Cormorants, Canada Geese, Oyster Catchers and Skylarks are all resident at the moment on the slowly filling lakes.