Its been a while since I published anything here, we’ve spent most of the sunny days either at the allotment or in the garden rather than out walking. However, for a change yesterday we went for a gentle stroll in Attenborough Nature Reserve. It was bright and sunny and the birds and beasts seemed to be out in force. Being a Friday it wasn’t too busy so we were able to spend our time looking at things rather than keeping out of other people’s way.
They’ve made a special area which is designed to encourage various sorts of wading birds and other things and there were Small Egrets and Herons wandering around looking for food. Slightly further over were Lapwings with their easily recognisable wing shapes and tumbling flight. There were of course also lots of ducks, geese and swans about mainly attracted by the children scattering bread.
A healthy sign though was the number of butterflies and caterpillars. I know that last year was terrible and the late cold spring played havoc but there seems to be a good supply of caterpillars on the stinging nettles so maybe this is a sign of improvement in the months to come. We’ve been fishing Peacock butterflies out of the potting shed at home (for some reason they seem to like to fly in and then keep batting themselves against the windows rather than flying out of the door) but yesterday we saw our first Comma of the year.
There were also lots of caterpillars on the young stinging nettles (both at the allotment and at Attenborough). At Attenborough there was a mixture of different types and my knowledge isn’t good enough to be able to distinguish between Peacock, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell and Comma at the caterpillar stage. Even when I look up in reference books or on the internet, they’re too similar for me!
So, maybe the hot and sunny weather of the last few weeks will give a little boost to wildlife and make things better.
Finally, as we were finishing our walk and going to the cafe for a drink and cake, my six year old grandson came running back to say he had seen a “brown animal run across the path”, “it wasn’t a squirrel because it was long and thin”. When we got home we showed him a picture of a weasel and he was convinced that that was what he had seen.