I arrived early at Farlington Marshes today to give me time to walk round the reserve before the volunteers arrived at 09:30. I wanted to check on the cattle and lapwing broods on the Main Marsh having not seen them since Saturday. I am pleased to say that I think all the lapwings that had young with them on Saturday still have at least some, although counting small chicks in rough grass is an unreliable business. I did less well with the cattle as they were scattered about so that I could not see them all from any one place, but they looked fine and I will have another go tomorrow.
The volunteer task today was repairing a fence north of the road in the most easterly field, a bit of the reserve that is rarely visited by anyone, it is not an area for birds but has got a very varied an interesting flora. The field is mostly old pasture with anthills and wet hollows, some of which sometimes have salt water backed up into them so they have a saltmarsh character, which adds to the variety.
I had always wondered if there was any adder’s-tongue in the field, it looked suitable but I had never seen it there. So on the way we all stopped to look at it growing in the Aerial Field to get our eye in and sure enough a search of the far field produced three patches.
In fact having got a search image going we found several more patches in the Aerial Field on our way back, despite having walked over the same ground on the way out without noticing a thing. I think the adder’s-tongue is having a very good year, not only do there seem to be lots of plants but they seem a very good size.
We had to replace a few fence posts as parts of the old fence were very poor, in fact so bad was the strainer that it was hollow in the middle and had a pair great tit nesting in it!
We also came across a couple of wasp beetle, these longhorn beetles are very brightly coloured black and yellow, hence the name and often sun themselves in the open on logs and leaves. The larvae tunnel in dead wood and I sometimes see the beetles as they emerge from my log basket at home, coaxed out by the indoor warmth.