SATURDAY MAY 19 – 2018
Brook Meadow Nature Walk
I met up with seven members of the Friends of Wildlife (formerly Havant Wildlife Group) in Bridge Road car park for their annual visit to Brook Meadow. Numbers may have been reduced by a clash with the royal wedding of Harry and Megan!
Arriving at Brook Meadow, we entered through the Seagull Lane gate and stopped for a moment to look along the recently cleared path though the dense vegetation to the new Oak trees which are all doing very well, including the one that I planted! We stopped for the traditional group photo before going across the north bridge onto the main meadow.
From left to right in the photo are Derek, Dave, Ros, Nicola, Heather, Fay and Neil.
The group was impressed with the good work done by the conservation volunteers in clearing the river banks and admired the avenue of Cow Parsley along the main path.
While in the north meadow we stopped for a while to examine several grasses, including Meadow Foxtail, Cocksfoot and Tall Fescue. I was particularly pleased to find the first Yorkshire Fog of the year and invited Nicola to stroke its velvety stem.
This reminded us all of Gwynne Johnson’s determined efforts get us to understand and identify grasses. Talking of Gwynne we stopped briefly by the group of Rowan trees which were planted in her memory in 2004 and carefully maintained by the conservation group.
I invited the group onto the main orchid area which is currently surrounded by a temporary barrier of branches to restrict access. This was a good move as Dave discovered the first of several Southern Marsh Orchids, just starting to flower and very late this year. We discovered another couple of Southern Marsh Orchids on the Lumley area.
While on the Lumley area I introduced Nicola to sedges, in particular comparing Distant Sedge with the similar structured Hairy Sedge.
Near the Lumley Stream we saw several damselflies, including a male Beautiful Demoiselle an Azure and a pair of Large Reds mating. We also came across several Froghoppers
Ros had a look at the Wintercress flowering on the centre meadow and decided it was probably B. vulgaris in view of its large basal leaves.
Walking along the causeway towards the seat for our break we stopped to admire the attractive pink and white blossom of a Hawthorn bush.
We stopped for a coffee break at the main seat overlooking Brook Meadow where I asked Heather to take a photo of the group with me in it for a change!
Ros puzzled over some Forget-me-nots with white and blue flowers and concluded they were probably Changing Forget-me-not, but not with complete certainty. Here she is looking them up in her flower guide.
Best of all for me was to confirm the presence of at least three male Whitethroats singing on the meadow for the first time this year, one from the west side of the north meadow, one from bushes around the causeway and another from trees on the edge of the south meadow. Clearly, they are here at least. Here is a nice shot of one perched at the top of a tree from Derek.
Finally, I took the group on a trek through the jungle which is the south meadow hoping for Celery-leaved Buttercup, but not a sign of anything of interest. So, I bid a fond farewell to the group at the south gate at about 11am. In fact, the group did find Celery-leaved Buttercup on the side of Peter Pond which I recorded on May 17th. But none on the meadow this year.
PS Thanks to Heather and Derek for the photos. Some were mine as well.