We made a brief visit yesterday afternoon to Ladywalk Nature Reserve - a West Midland Bird Club Reserve. The reserve is located in the Middle Tame Valley and consists of a series of lagoons of flooded gravel extraction works, reedbeds and Birch and Alder Woodland.
Hawthorn in leaf - in fact, I am sure a hawthorn bush we drove past on the way home was starting to flower - very early! Unfortunately, it wasn't possible to park on the road so I wasn't able to check to be 100% certain.
Not the best of photos - I do struggle with the Canon bridge and close up photography. Its quite a few months since I last used the camera and it brought home to me yet again how little I know about the controls and features. So a belated New Year's Resolution to start going through the manual as I struggled even changing the aperture!The camera also kept telling me I had set the self-timer button and I hadn't a clue how to reset it :( I would say the video recording button is in a rather silly place though as I lost count of the times I started to record without even realising it.
The public footpath leading to the reserve entrance goes alongside the
If you carry straight on here you eventually come out at St John the Baptist Church at Lea Marston which I visited last summer.
It looks as though there will be increased security once this work is finished. Entrance to the reserve is by permit only.
Full steam ahead for B and E - every time I stopped to take a photo or check a bird sighting through bins they had walked another 100 yards ahead of me.
There are many small pools as you walk through the woodland - containing a few Mallard and Coot yesterday.
There are plenty of nestboxes on trees around the woods.
One of the reasons for visiting was to try and see a Bittern as we have seen them at this reserve in the past and 3 have been reported in recent weeks - you can just see some of the reedbeds in the distance on this photo.
It was rather muddy - thank goodness for wellies!
This is the view from "B" hide - which seems to be the most reliable place at present for bittern sightings. One was last seen yesterday afternoon disappearing into the reedbeds in the distance. It failed to re-appear while we were there but it was good to sit and watch more common species such as Tufted Duck, Coot, Moorhen, Wigeon, Teal, Shelduck, Great Crested Grebe, Mallard and Common Snipe.
No bees around today - it was a lovely sunny day but very cold!
We spent a quarter of an hour in Sainsbury's Hide which overlooks the feeding station. Didn't have much luck with photos except for this record shot of a pheasant.
Species feeding included Greenfinches, a Bullfinch (missed by me :( ), Chaffinches, Blue Great and Coal Tits, Reed Buntings, Robins and Blackbirds.
Walking back to the car this nest was visible in the bare branches - Long-tailed Tit or Wren? Probably the former as it didn't look small enough for a wren.
I'm re-reading a rather lovely book at the moment called "The Frampton Flora" by Richard Mabey which contains hundreds of wild flower paintings from the early 19th century. The watercolours, the work of a group of sisters and their aunts, were discovered in the attic of Frampton Court in Gloucestershire. Its a charming and delightful book and, although I think it is now out of print, its well worth looking out for a second hand copy.
The latest West Midland Bird Club Report has arrived in the post in the last couple of days. The Club has recently made available online all the old Reports which is rather a relief as I have dozens of past Reports in a pile which I was reluctant to get rid off. But if I can now access them online the decision has been made for me and I shall just keep the latest one! :)
I did persuade myself to part with some more fiction paperbacks recently but as always managed to make a purchase from Books Revisited - the excellent second hand charity bookshop in Coleshill. I was contemplating buying a book on Cotswold Villages when I spotted this book on a table and it just cried out to me to buy it.
It is written by a local author and is a charming story about a family living on a Warwickshire farm based on her own childhood experiences of her parents' farms in the nearby Shustoke/Maxstoke/Whitacre areas. She has also written a book about Warwickshire Villages which I will be looking out for in future visits to the shop!
And another purchase I couldn't resist! :)
Finally, sorry am wittering on in this post - some Cherry, Cinnamon and White Chocolate Cookies I made from a recipe in the Sainsbury's "Bake" magazine I bought late last year. I hadn't got any sour cherries or white chocolate so used dried cranberries and milk chocolate and they were delicious :)
The National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU)was set up in 2006 to investigate and prosecute wildlife criminals who commit crimes or cruelty against wild animals. The Unit does vitally important work investigating crimes such as badger baiting, hare coursing, illegal persecution of birds of prey, deer poaching, rare bird egg theft and trade in endangered species.
In 2014 the Government announced funding for just 2 years to support the NWCU. Sadly, this Unit may be forced to close in six weeks as the Government has, so far, not confirmed that it will continue to fund this crucial Unit. The Government has always seemed exceedingly proud of its commitment to end international wildlife crime and illegal trade in wildlife products setting aside £10 million pounds for this purpose. Surely, it can, therefore, find just £427,000 per annum to fund the NWCU?
If you would like to sign petitions to ask the Government to continue funding there are two available:
Welcome to my blog. I have been interested in natural history from an early age and we have tried to create a garden attractive to wildlife. I also enjoy reading, photography, collecting fossils, visiting historic buildings and gardens and supporting Aston Villa. Please feel free to leave a comment and, if you would like to email me, my email address is ciraggedrobinsATgmail.com - remember to replace AT with @. Thank you for visiting.