News for April 2012
26th April, Thursday, quite a bit of rain this week, the pond has gained another inch or so, St Georges day has passed, and some Cuckoo flower (Lady's Smock, below left) have appeared in the reserve, but has the cuckoo arrived, we dont know yet.

Picture of cockoo flowerPicture of silverweed

Around the pond the Silverweed (above right) planted last year is thriving.

Picture of adders tongue

There are Adders Tongue, in all three fields, they are especially numerous in Old Churchfurlong alongside the hedge between it and the Rec, where in places there is also standing water (above).

21st April, Saturday, A hosepipe ban has been imposed, so this being April, we have had showers of rain most of this week, and the pond has gained an inch or two of water.
This week has seen the arrival of a few swallows, which I could hear twittering in their flight around the village hall area of the village. In the reserve, there was a Blackbird perched on a high branch singing, nearby a pair of chaffinches were mating,  and skylarks were singing in the sky over nearby fields. As I neared the pond I distirbed a Buzzard which had been perched in a tree there, it circled around over the reserve, gradually gaining height, until it flew away.
Notice the white area on the underside of the wings, and the shape of the fanned out tail.

Picture of buzzardPicture of Grass

An odd grass seed head is visible, as in the photo above right, but most of the grass is still short enough to see the Adders Tongue fern, which is  not very big, but occurs in all three fields in patches. In fact if you havn't seen this plant now is the best time before it is swamped by the grass. There is a picture of the Adders Tongue lower down this page. One flower that is very obvious is the Dandelion, its yellow flowers are all over.

As the logs with holes drilled in them, put up by the Brownies a year or so ago, have seen high use by solitary nesting bees, some more have been put up near the spinney.

14th April, Saturday, After a warmer period, it's turned colder, the blackthorn is in blossom, a period known as the Blackthorn Winter, and the blackthorn in the hedgerows around the village are covered in white blossom. Soon the blossom will fall and the green leaves will appear.
Despite the cold, some Cowslips (below left) are just coming into flower, as is the Field Woodrush (below right), although you will need a magnifying glass to see the woodrush. This is a plant that is also found in lawns.

Picture of cowslipPicture of Field Woodrush

The rain this week, has made the soil around the pond damper, if it has done little to fill the pond, and some plants are thriving, the Marsh Marigold (left below) which we saw last year, and the Bogbean (below right) an introduction later last year,  which is just starting to flower.

Picture of Marsh ButtercupPicture of Bogbean

Back in the fields, several Bugle are visible, but have not been thriving, they should be sending out runners like the one on the left below, and forming a mat of roots to become well established.  We are used to seeing spiders webs in hedges, but there are also spiders living in the grass at the reserve, we are not normally aware of them, in fact I dont have a photograph of one, just its web covered in dew, with a hole in the centre, where I expect the spider is hiding and waiting for lunch to fall into its web.

Picture of BuglePicture of spiders web

2nd April, Monday,
Another warm sunny day, althought the forecast is cooler in the next few days, and maybe some rain. In the Reserve many of the plants have started into growth, as shown by the photograph below.
Picture of plants

A couple of the early plants growing in close proximiity are shown below, with the focus on one and then the other. Neither are large,  you will need to look closely to find them being only about one or two inches high. On the left is Field Woodrush, and on the right Adders Tongue. 
Picture of Field WoodrushPicture of Adders Tongue

The Pond water level is stil rather low, but there are signs of growth of some Flag Iris, (below left)and some of the other plants, but I fear it will be too dry for most of the pond plants.
Picture of Flag IrisPicture of Water Spider
While around the pond I noticed what I initially thought was a pond skater, but it turned out to be a Water Spider, walking on the water, I tried to get a photograph, but it climbed a few inches up the bank and hid in a small hole. Then a few minutes later I noticed another, and was able to get a photograph, this spider was just underwater, sitting on the bottom of the pond. These look to be the same type of spider seen last year in the same area.

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