Wildlife 2018

Edited by Brian Fellows, this page gives wildlife news from Brook Meadow.
For more general wildlife news from around the local area go to the Emsworth wildlife blog updated daily with reports and photos of local wildlife
at . . . http://familyfellows.com/0-0-0-wildlife-diary.htm


SUNDAY AUGUST 19 – 2018
Not a lot to report from my stroll around Brook Meadow this afternoon.
What looks like a Conyza species Fleabane (probably Guernsey Fleabane) is growing on the north meadow where the volunteers have cleared what they call a ‘play area’. I will keep an eye on it. The leaves appear to have the required small hooks along their edges.
While on the orchid area I spotted a female Common Darter which perched conveniently for a photo an old Yellow Rattle plant with spent seed capsules.
Lots of other insects were feeding on the meadow flowers, including several Honey Bees on the Common Fleabane with bulging orange coloured pollen sacs and hoverflies – the one on the right below is a Myothropa florea hoverfly with a distinctively marked thorax.

The Lumley area is a glorious mixture of flowers in various stages of development and decay. Of the newer ones, Water Mint is flowering well along with a very good crop of over 20 plants of Pepper-saxifrage.
Sadly, the Strawberry Clover plants along the edge of the eastern path around the Lumley area have been victims yet again of inadvertent mowing before they reached maturity. That’s a pity, but they always seem to come bouncing back.
Down onto the south meadow I was pleased to see the pretty flower spikes of Marsh Woundwort still looking good and attracting insects near the Weeping Willow.
Something seems to have got at the Horse Chestnut near the Weeping Willow – more than leaf miner damage I think. The vegetation in the south meadow is dominated as usual by a large crop of Wild Angelica.


Sunday 5 August – 2018
My wildlife observations during work session
Lots of insects were feeding on the late flowering plants, particularly on Hogweed. Here are a couple of hoverflies I managed to snap which I think are Volucella inanis and Myathropa florea.

I was surprised to see this Speckled Wood butterfly feeding on the flowers of Hoary Ragwort which I do not recall having seen before.
Finally, my first male Common Darter of the year on Brook Meadow resting on vegetation near the Lumley Stream, the first of many no doubt.


SATURDAY JULY 28 – 2018
I had a stroll over to the meadow where the Crack Willows were waving around in the strong wind, branches heavy with leaves and threatening to crack as is their wont. However, temperature wise it was a pleasant change from the hot days of recent weeks.
Walking along the path through the Seagull Lane patch I was pleased to see my first Field Bindweed flower of the year, a favourite of mine, immediately beneath the Red Oak dedicated to the memory of ex-volunteer, Tony Wilkinson. The flower was occupied by a fly and a red Soldier Beetle.
There is a particularly fine Wild Angelica flowering all alone on the southern edge of the cut area on the north meadow.
Whose idea was the leaflet boxes on the gates? Excellent.
The Gwynne Johnson Rowan plantation on the east side of the north meadow hosts a large crop of bright red berries – good for the local Blackbirds.
Hoary Ragwort flowers are now opening on the orchid area and on the Lumley area.
The Strawberry Clover fruits are now ripening nicely on the path on the east side of the Lumley area.

I had my first flowering Amphibious Bistort of the year climbing through the bank of Michaelmas Daisies on the east side of the Lumley area. This plant is widespread on the meadow, but rarely flowers. While looking the Amphibious Bistort, I spotted several small flowers of Michaelmas Daisies – also the first of the year on Brook Meadow. Soon, this bank will be a mass of flowers attracting late flying butterflies and bees.

The red berries of Lords and Ladies attract attention near the path through the south meadow.
Less obvious are the burrs on the Branched Bur-reed plants in the river north of the
S-bend

Branched Bur-reeds are very extensive in the river and really need to be cleared in the autumn to avoid blockages. See video clip . . . https://youtu.be/WS5HaSfeI-Q


SATURDAY JULY 21 – 2018
I went for a walk through the meadow this afternoon before dinner. The meadow was looking great after the cut, with large areas of stubble interspersed with uncut wild areas which act as refuges. My attention was attracted by a Wild Angelica flower head on which a Bumblebee was busily feeding while ignoring several pairs of Red Soldier Beetles indulging in their customary activity! The white tail plus the two yellow bands round the body indicates it is a worker Bombus terrestris, one of the most common Bumblebees.
Here is a video clip I took of the show . . .


THURSDAY JULY 19 – 2018
Wildlife observations during work session
A family of 4 Carrion Crows, probably from a nest in Palmer’s Road Copse, were feeding on the stubble of the mown centre meadow.
Quite a few Cinnabar caterpillars were feeding on the Hoary Ragwort on the orchid area, though none are yet in flower. This is the reason why most of these plants were avoided in the general clearance today. Interestingly, I could not find any Cinnabars on the Hoary Ragwort plants on the Lumley area.
I found the first Marsh Woundwort flower spikes in the usual spot in the north-east corner of the south meadow close to the Weeping Willow tree. These attractive flowers always arrive late and have to force their way through a jungle of other vegetation. I counted 21 flowering spikes, though more are likely.
I was pleased to find a few fruits on the Strawberry Clover plants on the path east of the Lumley area. So, we still have some despite their being inadvertently mown in early summer.


TUESDAY JULY 17 – 2018
I had a walk around the meadow this afternoon, much cooler than the past few weeks.
Lesser Burdock flowers are opening up on the Seagull Lane patch and attracting Bumblebees. I think this one might be a Bombus lapidarius worker, all black with a red tail and no sign of yellow.
I watched two male Demoiselle damselflies (probably Beautiful Demoiselles) chasing each other for at least 5 minutes at the north bend of the river. They were still at it when I left. Was this a territorial dispute?
The first Cinnabar caterpillar of the year on the Hoary Ragwort on the orchid area.
A patch of Bent-grass with 15cm long panicles on the east edge of the Lumley area. The fact that the panicles were closed up suggests they were Creeping Bent with exceptionally long panicles, rather than Black Bent-grass which has open panicles in flower.
There is a very good show of Square-stalked St John’s-wort in the same area. The path to the east of the Lumley area is a glorious display of wild flowers.
I spotted a Nursery-web spider (Pisaura mirabilis) with its nursery web. I am not sure what it is doing as I can’t see any eggs and the spider does not have an egg sac.

A Honey Bee was feeding on Common Fleabane with deep orange pollen sacs, presumably from the Fleabane?
Just a few Strawberry Clover plants appear to have survived the inadvertent cutting of this path in early summer.
I had a strange call which I did not recognise coming from the direction of the Lumley copse – a rich trill repeated three times. Not any bird call I am familiar with. I check on the Kookaburra but its call is quite different. Maybe it was a dog whistle?


Wildlife observations during annual cut – 13 July 2018
Plants in flower for the first time: Bristly Ox-tongue, Selfheal, Hemp Agrimony, Square-stalked St John’s-wort.

The bright red flowers of Great Burnet are still showing well on the south end of the orchid area.There is a fine display of Meadowsweet this year.
I also saw a Brimstone – summer brood.


SUNDAY JULY 8 – 2018
Jean and I had a walk through Brook Meadow this morning mainly to have a look at the view of the river from the south bridge following the removal of the fallen Goat Willow tree by Brook Meadow volunteers yesterday. Previously the tree had been blocking the view from the bridge, but its removal has opened up the view of our lovely river, snaking through the copse. Well done to Maurice Lillie and his team of volunteers.


Blue Water-speedwell
During the morning walk I noted two very good clumps of what I assume is Blue Water-speedwell (Veronica anagallis-aquatica) in the river. One clump is just before the bend in the north river by the railway embankment. The other clump, a much larger one than the first, is on the river bank in front of where the old gasholder used to be. Both can easily be seen from the main path, though not easily reached.

I have recorded this interesting plant both on the Lumley Stream and on the River Ems over many years. In fact, I found a small sample near the Lumley Stream earlier this year. However, care needs to be taken to establish its correct identification.
Basically, I need to determine if these plants are of the pure strain of Blue Water-speedwell (Veronica anagallis-aquatica) or a hybrid with Pink Water Speedwell (Veronica catenata) called Veronica x Lackschewitzii. The only sure way I know how to determine this is by counting the flowers in the spike. Basically, the hybrid form has a longer flower spike containing many more flowers than the pure form. I shall have to get one of the more agile volunteers to clamber down the river bank to collect a sample for me to examine.
Pete Selby (the late BSBI South Hants Recorder) told me during a visit to Brook Meadow in 2001, that if the flower spike had more than 20 flowers then it was the hybrid and not the pure form of Blue Water-speedwell. At the time, Pete found the plants were mostly hybrids, though since then I have had many examples from the meadow with less than 20 flowers in the spikes which I have recorded as the pure form of Blue Water-speedwell (Veronica anagallis-aquatica). Looking at the flower spikes on the larger clump in my zoomed photo they seem to have fewer than 20 flowers, though I really need to see a sample to be sure.
Zoomed close-up of the Blue Water-speedwell flowers
Interestingly, the Plant Crib (1998 p. 263) gives a mean of 25 flowers (range 15-40) for the pure form and a mean of 60 (range 30-90 for the hybrid, so maybe the 20 limit is probably not quite as precise as Pete implied.


SATURDAY JULY 7 – 2018
While I was on the bridge watching the tree removal I kept my eyes open for anything of interest. Male and female Beautiful Demoiselles were constantly fluttering around and occasionally perching on the leaves of Fool’s Water-cress on the river They were joined by a cracking Comma butterfly. Lots of Whites were fluttering around, though none of them stopped.

 

Fool’s Water-cress is now in flower below the bridge.

Coming back through the meadow I saw several Large and Small Skippers. So far this year I have recorded 16 species of butterfly on Brook Meadow. Surprisingly I have yet to see Ringlet, Small Tortoiseshell and only one Common Blue. Has anything happened to them? Also, I am sure there are Ringlets among all the Meadow Browns, but I have not managed to get one to settle long enough for a photo.

Peter’s early morning
Peter Milinets-Raby found it too hot to sleep, so he came over to Brook Meadow at 5:11am (just after sunrise) until 6:20am. It was a beautiful morning, but alas no sight or sound of Ring-necked Parakeet or the Kookaburra.
Birds of note were 3+ singing Blackcap, Green Woodpecker (heard) Great Spotted Woodpecker seen, 5 Swallow over, 2 Med Gulls over, 2 Common Tern over and a Swift.


WEDNESDAY JULY 4 – 2018
I spent a couple of pleasant hours on the meadow this afternoon. The weather was slightly cooler than of recent with a cooling breeze.
Reptile mats are now out across the meadow for the reptile survey with a view to the relocation of Slow-worms and Common Lizards onto the meadow from a building development in Warsash.
I spent some time mooching around the Lumley area where I found several newly flowering plants for this year; Red Bartsia, Common Fleabane, Common Knapweed, Perforate St John’s-Perforate and Square-stalked St John’s-wort
Red Bartsia . . . Common Fleabane . . .

Common Knapweed . . . Perforate St John’s-wort


The single Pyramidal Orchid is still showing very well in the centre of the orchid area – marked by a tall stick if you want to see it before it goes.
I had a rest in the shade on the main seat from where I saw 5 Carrion Crows fly over towards Palmer’s Road Copse, presumably a family of three youngsters from this year. The berries are gradually turning red on the Alder Buckthorns on the causeway.
Interesting to see how False Fox Sedge is now coming up in various parts of the meadow, not just on the Lumley area.
I struggled down the narrowing path by the old Bramble hedgerow on the east side of the south meadow where I found the first Black Bent-grass (Agrostis gigantea) of the year – regular in this location. As indicated by its scientific name this is a large grass, the tallest of the Bents up to 150cm with panicles about 20cm. Its large size probably allows it to survive among the tall vegetation along this path.
Nearby are some buttercups with reflexed sepals which I am fairly sure is Hairy Buttercup (Ranunculus sardous) – which has been more evident in the this area in previous years.
Finally, a Large Skipper was flying in the south east corner of the south meadow. This used to be a good spot for Essex Skipper, but this was definitely not one as shown by the heavy markings on the wings.


THURSDAY JUNE 28 – 2018
I popped over to the meadow this afternoon mainly to check on the Great Burnet which Colin Brotherston had photographed earlier this month and which I had missed. I can’t understand how I missed such a good crop of about 20 plants all covered with multiple flower heads at Grid Ref: SU 75071 06132 which is roughly where they have been for the past 5 years – first discovered and confirmed by Martin Rand in 2013.
Close by I was also pleased to find the first of the Timothy grasses, always a relatively late grass to flower, but so elegant with extraordinarily long vertical and cylindrical inflorescences – up to and sometimes over 15cm long.
Here is a link to a video clip of the Great Burnet flowers and the Timothy . . . .

The single Pyramidal Orchid is still showing very well in the centre of the orchid area – marked by a tall stick if you want to see it before it goes.
I had a rest in the shade on the main seat from where I saw 5 Carrion Crows fly over towards Palmer’s Road Copse, presumably a family of three youngsters from this year. The berries are gradually turning red on the Alder Buckthorns on the causeway.
Interesting to see how False Fox Sedge is now coming up in various parts of the meadow, not just on the Lumley area.
I struggled down the narrowing path by the old Bramble hedgerow on the east side of the south meadow where I found the first Black Bent-grass (Agrostis gigantea) of the year – regular in this location. As indicated by its scientific name this is a large grass, the tallest of the Bents up to 150cm with panicles about 20cm. Its large size probably allows it to survive among the tall vegetation along this path.
Nearby are some buttercups with reflexed sepals which I am fairly sure is Hairy Buttercup (Ranunculus sardous) – which has been more evident in the this area in previous years.
Finally, a Large Skipper was flying in the south east corner of the south meadow. This used to be a good spot for Essex Skipper, but this was definitely not one as shown by the heavy markings on the wings.

MONDAY JUNE 18 – 2018
The first thing I noticed on this morning’s stroll through the meadow was the pink flowers of Great Willowherb just starting to open – about the same time as last year. I have a soft spot for Great Willowherb as it was the first and main invasive plant the Brook Meadow Conservation Group had to grapple with when we took over management of Brook Meadow in Year 2000. The meadow was literally covered with it, but annual mowing gradually reduced its hold. There is still plenty of it to enjoy and for the insects to feed on.
While mooching around the orchid area without any particular purpose in mind, I was very surprised to come across a single Pyramidal Orchid its bright pink flower spike standing out quite prominently from among the mass of vegetation that has recently engulfed this area. You can’t miss it. I have marked it with a tall stick just in case. Grid Ref: SU 75070 06153.
This was the first sighting of a Pyramidal Orchid on Brook Meadow since Richard Somers Cocks discovered one in the same general area on June 23 2010. I believe a Pyramidal Orchid was planted on the orchid area by Jennifer Rye in 2008, but there has been no sign of any since then (apart from Richard’s) until today. I suppose the seeds could have been lying dormant waiting from the right conditions. I had a good look around but could find no others.
Most of the other orchids are now well past their best, though I did find one Bee Orchid with three flowers still going strong.
Some of the Yellow Rattle plants are now forming seed pods with the rattling seeds which gives the plant its common name.

I got a photo of this Meadow Grasshopper as it paused briefly on a leaf
There is an impressive bank of well nibbled Butterbur leaves near the Lumley gate.
They are well loved by children for making umbrellas.


TUESDAY JUNE 12 – 2018
I had a wander through the meadow this afternoon, mainly looking for grasses missing from this year’s list, such as Meadow Barley and Smooth Brome. I pushed my way through the head high vegetation on the centre meadow but could see no sign of them. Everything is so rampant on the meadow that finding scarce grasses is well nigh impossible.
However, I was pleased to located another patch of Smooth Tare that has somehow managed to survive in the jungle. Smooth Tare can be distinguished from Hairy Tare by the following features: it is hairless with fewer flowers (1-2) and fewer leaflets (3-6); sepal teeth are unequal and pods contain four seeds (Hairy Tare has only two). Here is today’s plant showing two flowers.
I did find the first flower of Common Knapweed on the Lumley area along with lots of Sharp-flowered Rush.

I found another one of those wolf spiders that I found yesterday called Pardosa amentata and from today’s photo one can clearly see that this one is carrying its egg sac at the rear.
I arrived just as a couple of chaps from Norse were finishing cutting and clearing the main paths. The paths have been cut much wider than in previous years and look a bit like mini-motorways! The cuttings had been blown off the gravel path. But no lasting harm has been done and everything will grow again.


MONDAY JUNE 11 – 2018
I had a short walk around the northern section of Brook Meadow this morning. I started at the Seagull Lane patch where I found a very nice display of the delicate hanging spikelets of Barren Brome grass – the best on the meadow. What a lovely grass.
Also on this patch the white trumpets of Large Bindweed are starting to open, displaying their distinctive overlapping bracts beneath the white flowers.

I had a look around the orchid area where the orchids are in sharp decline and are being progressively engulfed by tall grasses and bindweed. The 3 Bee Orchids are still visible, just, and Jennifer’s original by the tall stick now has three flowers.
I am always pleased to discover Meadow Fescue (Festuca pratensis) which can bee seen very well on the edge of the path near Beryl’s seat, both to the south of the seat and opposite the seat.
Meadow Fescue is fairly easy to pick out from the more abundant Tall Fescue by its well spaced spikelets on the inflorescence. The best feature to look for is the fact that the panicle branches mostly arise singly or, if paired, have only one spikelet on the shorter branch of each pair – as shown in this photo below taken today. I have yet to find the Hybrid Fescue xFestulolium loliaceum which is a hybrid of Meadow Fescue and Perennial Ryegrass which usually occurs with the two parents.
Just after checking out the Meadow Fescue, I met Maurice Lillie who had the power scythe out cutting the western path through the north meadow. I warned him to look out for the Meadow Fescue near Beryl’s seat which, by chance, he had just avoided!
As for insects, I noticed many grasshoppers jumping around in the long grasses, but this was the only one that stopped long enough for a photo. From the long antennae it is clearly a Bush-cricket and the hint of a green stripe around the pronotal flap suggests a Roesel’s Bush-cricket, though I welcome other views.
Maurice was with me when we spotted this Nursery-web spider (Pisaura mirabilis) nursery nest of spiderlings deep in the long grasses. The adult mother spider was lurking behind the nest and her legs are just visible at the top of the photo. I am not sure what the white object is. Part of the web construction or a prey?
Another spider that I am not entirely sure about, but will hazard a guess at Pardosa amentata which I previously saw on the meadow at this time last year. This is a wolf spider that carries its egg-sac at the rear.


FRIDAY JUNE 8 – 2018
I had an e-mail from Jennifer Rye last night to say she had discovered a second Bee Orchid in the orchid area of the north meadow about 10 yards to the south of the first one (marked with a tall stick). Jennifer’s new one was easy to find as she had marked it with a forked stick. The first one now has two flowers on the spike with another couple still to come, as shown in this photo taken on site.
While taking this photo I noticed yet another Bee Orchid right next to the original one, which makes a total of 3 so far this year for Brook Meadow. There must be others which are just invisible beneath the welter of grasses and Bindweed.
The Southern Marsh and Common Orchids are still prominent but are becoming progressively engulfed by Bindweed which now dominates the orchid area. However, this super Common Spotted Orchid defied all comers.
Less spectacular, but equally important in the big scheme of things is the Hard Rush
Almost as fine as an orchid is Hedge Woundwort which is now is in flower near the Lumley area.
The first white trumpets of Hedge Bindweed are now out on the Lumley area.
You can see a gap in the bracts covering the sepals which would not be there in Large Bindweed.
Leaves of Gipsywort are fairly prominent below the south bridge (south side).
I usually find plenty on the west bank in Palmer’s Road Copse.
I still have not found any Meadow Barley or Smooth Brome that I found on Fishbourne Meadows yesterday.


MONDAY JUNE 4 – 2018
I had a little mooch around the south east corner of the south meadow of Brook Meadow which was remarkably dry considering the flooding of the River Ems. Flooding in this area is affected by the tides and not by the river. I was pleased I stopped as I discovered very nice patches of Celery-leaved Buttercup and and what I am fairly sure is Hairy Buttercup – both of which have disappeared from the nearby area by the Gooseberry Cottage bund where they were so abundant in 2016.
I also noted Divided Sedge and Sea Club-rush which are regular in this area. Here is a close-up of a flowering spike of Sea Club-rush with a typical extending bract.
So far this year we have recorded 14 out of the 15 sedges on the Brook Meadow plant list.

There are some magnificent stands of Yellow Iris (or Flag). Here is one of the flowers showing the three spreading flag-like petals.


SUNDAY JUNE 3 – 2018
Wildlife observations during work session
A pair of Speckled Wood butterflies was chasing around in Palmer’s Road Copse. This is the best place on the Brook Meadow site to see these attractive insects. Several Beautiful Demoiselles were flying over the river beneath the south bridge.

I was pleased to find two tufts of Remote Sedge thankfully missed during the clearance – one on the path through Palmer’s Road Copse near the bridge, and the other on the main path through the south meadow just north of the signcase.
Remote Sedge is an attractive sedge with long sweeping bracts, fairly common in woodland, but rare on Brook Meadow where I have recorded it only in these two locations. That takes the total number of sedges recorded on Brook Meadow so far this year to 14. Just one more to find for the complete list!
I also found some Plicate Sweet-grass along the cleared path on the east side of the south meadow adjacent to the Gooseberry Cottage bund. This is the only place that this attractive and distinctive grass grows on Brook Meadow and I was pleased to see it had largely survived the cutting. That takes the total number of different grasses recorded on the Brook Meadow site so far this year to 15. More to come!

I had a little mooch around the south east corner of the south meadow of Brook Meadow which was remarkably dry considering the flooding of Palmer’s Road Copse by the high river. Flooding in this area is affected by the tides and not by the river. I was pleased I stopped as I discovered very nice patches of Celery-leaved Buttercup and and what I am fairly sure is Hairy Buttercup – both of which have disappeared from the nearby area by the Gooseberry Cottage bund where they were so abundant in 2016.

I also noted Divided Sedge and Sea Club-rush which are regular in this area. Here is a close-up of a flowering spike of Sea Club-rush with a typical extending bract. There are some magnificent stands of Yellow Iris (or Flag). Here is one of the flowers showing the three spreading flag-like petals.

 

At the end of the work session Jennifer led several volunteers (including me) to a location in the centre of the main orchid area where, yesterday, she discovered the first Bee Orchid of the year on Brook Meadow. This was a remarkable find. deep in the long grass, so well hidden that it was not at all easy to see the plant even when pointed out to us! Where there is one there must be others, but can we find them? We all had a look around while we were there with no success, but keep looking!

Here is the revised chart for Bee Orchids.  Shall we find any more?
While we were looking for Bee Orchids, Jennifer spotted a tiny colourful moth fluttering around. I managed to get a quick photo and it turned out to be a Mint Moth (Pyrausta aurata). It is small but distinctive moth having deep orange markings on brown-purple forewings. It is referred to as the ‘mint moth’ because of its liking for minty plants. They are regular on Brook Meadow and I also see them in my garden.


SATURDAY JUNE 2 – 2018
I went over to the meadow this afternoon mainly to do a recount of the orchids. Counting is now difficult as the flower spikes are getting very hard to see as the grasses and other vegetation burgeons over and around them. Today’s count was much the same as the last one on May 30th, so I think that will have to stand as the final count this year: Southern Marsh Orchids = 102 and Common Spotted Orchids = 23.
Both these orchids have seen a significant increase this year as shown in the following charts


I looked for Bee Orchids on the orchid area and the Lumley area, but did not see any. There may well be some there, but the grasses are so high and dense they would be well nigh impossible to find.

I also searched for Great Burnet which has been an interesting feature on the orchid area since 2013. It should be easily visible as it stands high well above most of the grasses, but there was no sign of it at all. This is not entirely surprising as numbers have been falling in reecent years. In 2016 I counted 62 flowering Great Burnet plants, but last year I could only find 10. This year there are none! This is what it looked like in its prime a couple of years ago.
I found two nice patches of Lesser Stitchwort in the usual spot on the centre meadow just north of the causeway.
I had another three new plants for this year alongside the casual doggie path down to the Lumley Stream from the Lumley area: Celery-leaved Buttercup, Brooklime and Blue Water-speedwell. They were all rather small and puny, but living!

 

There has been no sign of Celery-leaved Buttercup in the south meadow near the Gooseberry Cottage bund – where we had a glut in 2016. I expect we shall have more Blue Water-speedwell over on the River Ems later in the summer.
Following my first Common Blue of the year on a local wayside yesterday, today I had my first one on Brook Meadow

While resting on the main seat overlooking the meadow, I spotted my first Green-veined White of the year fluttering around low in the grasses.

This takes the total number of butterfly species recorded on Brook Meadow this year to 11. Somewhat surprisingly, I have yet to record Small Tortoiseshell. The Skippers and the Browns will be out towards the end of this month.


THURSDAY MAY 31 – 2018
I stayed on the raised path by the river as the grassland was very wet after heavy showers, but there was plenty to see and admire as always. The avenue of Cow Parsley along the main river path has been replaced by a cascade of grasses which you brush against as you walk along.
The massive leaves of Butterbur are like giants rising from the ground, impressive and eerie.
It was a joy to hear the scratchy song of a Whitethroat singing from a bramble bush near the path.
Here is a short video clip I made of the Whitethroat . . . https://youtu.be/_QDW_qIH198


 Sunday 4th February 2018
Volunteer Terry pointed out to me the first Butterbur flower spike beside the main path near the sluice gate.   I found several more just emerging on the large Butterbur area below the main seat.   This is not especially early. In some years I have found them out in January.
I had a little mooch around in the Lumley copse. It is not easily accessible, but OK if you go carefully. I found plenty of fresh growth of Lords and Ladies (Arum) leaves.
There was also, lots of a light green feather moss growing on trees and twigs. I will tentatively identify this as Brachythecium rutabulum, which is one of the mosses that Rod Stern identified during his survey of the site in 2001.   The photo shows fruiting of inclined capsules which are produced on rough reddish stalks in autumn, winter and spring.
I also noticed a few fronds of what I assume is Male Fern.


For previous wildlife news go to . . . https://www.brookmeadow.org.uk/wildlife-news/wildlife-news-2017-jan-jun/

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