After a day off on Friday when I visited the Wildlife Trust’s reserve Noar Hill for the first time in years I was back at Farlington on Saturday. Incidentally Noar Hill had a magnificent display of cowslip, a good few early purple orchid and even one Duke of Burgundy fritillary, the last a bit of a surprise as it was cloudy. I also saw my first tree pipit of the year.
At Farlington on Saturday it was quiet for both birds and visitors, but warm enough for a god range of insects to be flying. Near the Deeps on the seawall there is a patch of crosswort, this plant incorporates crosses through out, with four-petalled cross-shaped flowers.
Even more striking is the arrangement of the leaves, which are in the form of across, most obvious when viewed from above.
On the same part of the wall is a patch of white dead nettle, a very good nectar source for bumble-bees especially.
The warmth had brought out a lot of insects, most conspicuously St. Mark’s flies, the jet black males sit on vegetation or hang in the air, legs dangling.
The are seeking females and have huge eyes that cover almost the whole of their head to aid their search.
Just south of the Deeps I found a reed warbler singing out in the open for a change.
The fly in the top of the picture is a male St. Mark’s fly.
In the Point Field a pair of meadow pipit were feeding young and I got a quick picture of one of the adults. Meadow pipits mostly breed in the uplands of Britain, but will use damp grassland and heath in the lowlands too.
The main reason for going round the wall was to see how the lapwing are getting on, the answer was pretty well so far. There have been losses of clutches to predators certainly, but there are now at least four hatched broods around the reserve and a number of others should be getting close to hatching. I also think there are at least four pairs of redshank with territories on the reserve.
There have been good numbers of the larger hoverflies around for a while now, but the smaller species have been very thin on the ground, so it was good to see lots of one of the smallest. There are four species of Neoascia and they are very similar, all are very small indeed.
Apart from the regular breeding species birds of note were rather few, a pair of raven on Main Marsh were a mixed blessing considering the lapwing hatchlings that are now out and about. Out in the Harbour the nesting gulls and terns provide a constant backdrop.
All the flowering plants are not as obvious as the buttercups, although not popular with hay-fever sufferers, the grasses and sedges are starting to flower and they are rather attractive when viewed close up.