6 Apr 2015

Late Spring

Colin Miles

Mar 24th and 31st. The mean temperature for the year so far has been less than 5C, with both February and March being cooler than January. So the grass isn’t growing, the Snowdrops are bidding us a reluctant farewell and the Daffodils are still a bit undecided as to whether they should open or not. But the Primroses are certainly splendid as always with their beautiful, Moth-attracting buttery-yellow.

Ahead of the bird weekend we decided to see what we could find. And we had scarcely move when we heard one of the first migrants – a Chiffchaff in the visitors car park. On towards the Bull – still the same amount of poo at the entrance to the hole. Are the Wrens still roosting there?

Down by the entrance to Waun Las and a pair of Grey Wagtails flitting around on the stream. And in Llyn Canol lots of Moorhens and Moorhens, together with pairs of Teal and Shoveler ducks and a Grey Heron flying overhead. But no Coots – why? They used to be quite common in these lakes a few years ago but there only seems to be about 1 pair around.

As always we monitored anything else that we could see for any signs of Spring. The odd Bumblebee, Dog’s Mercury just about in flower – the male variety – Lesser Celandine, Dandelion, Early Dog Violets along the road leading up to the Library. And a blue flower which caused some debate as it isn’t mentioned in most of the books or online – a double Periwinkle.

Then on to the library where we met the Science students who briefed us on their Pollinator project. And behind there Chris had a look at our Refugia and found a Common Shrew under no 5.

Anne’s Notes
Visitor Car Park on 22 March – Chiffchaff. Badger Sett 17/18th 1 Boar, 21/22nd 1 Female

24 March 2015 Cloudy, cold wind

Visitors’ Entrance – Chiffchaff, Blackbird (M)
Corporate Car Park – Robin
To Waun Las Bridge – Pheasant (M) calling, Jackdaw, Grey Heron flying overhead,
Pr Buzzard, Pr Carrion Crow, Nuthatch, Pr Grey Wagtails, Pr Great Tits, Blackbird, Robin, Wren
Llyn Canol – 14 Moorhen, Pr Teal, Pr Canada Geese, Pr Shoveler, Mallard (quite a few!), Chiffchaff, Magpie, Pr Robins, Chaffinch, Pr Woodpigeon, Coal Tit.
Llyn Uchaf – 1 Little Grebe, 3 Prs Teal, 2 Pr Canada Geese, Pr Robin, Wren,
Circle of Decision Wood – Wren, Robin, Nuthatch, Coal Tit, Blue Tit
Bee Garden Area/Field – Blackbird, Pr Goldfinch, Pr Woodpigeon
Spring Woods – Song Thrush, Robin, Wren

Refugia No 5 behind library – Common Shrew
Buff/White Tailed Bumblebee, Lesser Celandine-Ficaria verna, Dandelion-Taraxacum ?, Early Dog Violet-Viola reichenbachiana in flower. Dog’s Mercury-Mercurialis perennis, Pussy Willow-Salix caprea

On March 31st despite the sun there was a fierce wind, so we took Keith’s advice and headed down past Spring Woods. Several Bumblebees hunting for nest sites, Tenby Daffodils just in bloom and a little further on the rather scruffyt Derwydd Daffodils. But in the Spring Woods itself we had a splendid view of a Nuthatch foraging on the ground.

The beehives are now back, 6 colonies in all, not that active which was hardly surprising given the wind. Then further along by the Japanese Garden Keith spotted a furry Caterpillar scurrying across the path. After John took it’s photo it was placed back from whence it came, which may not have been a good idea as it probably wanted to get to the other side of the path.

On towards the gatehouse and the Skunk Cabbage was promising a very good show alongside the stream. No sign of any Otter poo, but maybe when the Toads come back so will they.

Elfcups in the woods but nothing in the dipping ponds. The usual assortment of Waterfowl in the lakes then back to the cafe for the usual chat and chips. Plus the added bonus, amongst the crisp packets, of a Moth, hastily placed on a plate and presented to John to photograph. Marigold later identified it as a Twin-spotted Quaker. They do have such lovely names, but then so many of them are so beautiful.

31/3/2015 Dry, cold, windy but generally sunny.

Library path and thereabouts: Primrose, Wood Anemone, Dog Violet, Coltsfoot, Double Periwinkle, Lesser Celandine, Ground Ivy. Gorse, Dandelion, Barren Strawberry, Dog’s Mercury (male flowers only), lots of Ivy berries.

In Spring Woods: Bumblebee aound Celandine and Primroses, Summer Snowflake on upper path – Fox poo. Solitary Bee on Celandine, Chiffchaff heard, possible Mistle Thrush seeing off Crow, Blackbird singing, pair of Nuthatches on ground.

Great Tit near beehives. Furry caterpillar on ground.

By Gatehouse stream: Marsh Marigold, Skunk Cabbage

Aqualab Woods: Golden Saxifrage, lots of Elfcups, Wood Anemomes. Goldcrest with nesting material at back of Nature Arch.

Pair Teal on lake, Coltsfoot near Woods of the World gate. Dandelions on bank past bridge. 3 pairs Teal on Llyn Canol

Many thanks as always to John and Peter for their splendid photos and Anne and Hazel for her notes. If any volunteer or member wants to join us please send an email to Jane Down– you DON’T have to be an expert in anything, just interested. If you find an injured bird, hedgehog or other wild animal and want help and advice then phone the Gower Bird hospital. on 01792 371630.