On Saturday I took a slow amble around the flowery grassland of the west side of the reserve.
From the Mill Road approach via the chalk pit, I investigated the areas off the worn grass paths that are now about a foot high with grasses, Birds-foot trefoil, Ribwort plantain, Speedwell, Stitch-wort, Sheep’s sorrel, Buttercups, Yellow rattle, Bramble, Dogwood, Wild clematis, being the main ones I can recognise.
Leaves of later flower plants such as the Ragworts, Thistles and Knapweeds are showing but a little way from flowering.
There is a lot of ‘cuckoo spit’ or ‘witches spit’ as its also sometimes known.
In fact it is produced by the immature Froghopper, or ‘spittle-bug’, which secretes the foam to protect itself from predators.
A ragged looking Small Copper butterfly was apparently resting among the dry thatch near the flowering clumps of speedwells and buttercups.
Another trip today was similar but with more sunshine, Common Blue butterflies were more active and three or four Small Copper butterflies lifted out of cover as I walked through the lower meadow.
Painted Ladies are incoming from the continent and several flew past me, heading north in the time I was on the meadow.
On the Dewpond, four Broad-bodied Chaser dragonflies darted over the water, there was a least one female and mating with one or more males.
On a less positive note, a large Coi carp is swimming around in the pond. This is really not welcome as it is likely to voraciously feed on any insect larva or any small aquatic animals and thus upset the ecological balance of the pond. I’m just hoping that it is only one and not a breeding population.