Friday, April 8, 2011

Day of Contrast

We joined a large party of volunteers and staff at Brockholes to finalise lots of little jobs before the opening at Easter. A skylark welcomed us and as some of us searched the sky to find him, two swallows zoomed over our heads.We were part of the litter pick team and we decided to walk round the reserve on the west side of the Ribble Way in an anticlockwise direction. All the usual castoffs -  crisp packets McDonalds bags, plastic bottles - were being collected as well as odd pieces of wire and posts, but it gave us the opportunuty to continue our check on the progress of spring. Blackthorn and blackbird were both abundant, as were colt's foot and dandelion. On arrival by the motorway I spotted a host of moschatel but another of our team saw a kestrel catch and start its breakfast. Brockholes' other regular raptor, buzzard was also present.
 I am never surprised at the stuff folk abandon these days, but a moped frame was unusual. On entering the wood we heard blackcap, nuthatch, chiffchaff and my first willow warbler. The celandine, wood anemone, wood sorrel and golden saxifrage had been enhanced by the addition today of bluebells. As we were removing more lager cans we had to be careful to avoid several frogs in the long wet grass. At the eastern edge of the wood we were reminded of another avian summer visitor. Cuckoo flower and cuckoo pint were both observed but the bird itself was not present. We did however hear tree sparrow.  The open water had swallows and sand martins in addition to cormorants, great crested grebe, coot, tufted duck, lapwing, heron and the inevitable black headed gull. In the afternoon we continued as before with little wildlife to add except I was able to photograph the cuckoo pint. Even more exciting was the sight of the Visitor Village - floating

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