Saturday, 21 May 2011

May Flowers

An early morning walk across the reserve today was undertaken in superb weather with clear blue skies, very warm sunshine and no wind. Bird numbers continue to drop as the breeding season for some comes to an end and the dry weather starts to take a hold but alongside the normal species there were a few that stood out. These were mainly around the The Flood, or Puddle as it will soon become known. In there there were 4 Avocet, 7 Blackwit, 2 Little Egret, 2 Heron, 2 Med. Gull and to my great surprise, two really uncommon reserve birds, a pair of House Sparrows - perhaps on their summer holidays.
I also had my first Cuckoo of the year and watched the Barn Owls still hunting until well into the morning, obviously they must have young to feed, which we will have to ring before long.
Not immediately obvious but on the tail of the right-hand swan are its cygnets, trying to keep up. These were on a pond on the new RSPB reserve alongside The Swale NNR.

Back on the reserve and I continued to record the wildflowers as they appear. This is one of the Mallow family, Common I believe.

Looking like a purple version of the yellow Goatsbeard is this Salsify.

Quite featureless is Weld, but they can't all be colourful and eye-catching.

Unlike the Milk Thistle with its variagated foliage and nasty spines.

These next two wild flowers were photographed in my garden, the first being what probably looks like common Daisy. But anybody that holidays in Cornwall regularly will recognise it as a flower that can be found growing out of every crack and crevice, especially in the disturbed pointing of old walls - it is Mexican Fleabane.

And lastly, one I mentioned in a posting a few weeks ago, Dragon's Teeth. This flower of dry and shingly places makes a lovely rockery flower.

Another feature of my reserve visits at this time of the year is the daily collection of a variety of seeding grasses and Sow Thistle flower heads to take home for my breeding canaries. These three young Gloster canaries left the nest a couple of weeks ago and are now happily flying around the aviary flight. (If you double click on the photo and enlarge it you will see that there are two with Beatle type head feathers, these are known as coronas and the plain head ones are consorts)


  1. Nice photos Derek. I like the Mexican Fleabane but don't think I have heard of Dragon's Teeth before.

    Yes, the two little Canaries look like they are wearing wigs!

  2. Jan,

    The Dragon's Teeth grows on the shingle bank next to the beach here on Sheppey and on part of the dry cliffs. I don't think its a common wildflower throughout England but here it forms huge clumps.
    The wind here today is quite awful and combined with a very warm sun is sucking every last drop of moisture out of the soil.