Walks, wildflowers, weather and much more

Reserves Officer Jo rounds up a busy few weeks packed full of events and walks at Fishlake Meadows Nature Reserve.

The last week and a half has been very busy with guided walks at Fishlake Meadows. This has been a great way to spend lots of time seeing the different wildlife that’s starting to show this time of year.

Those that came along to the different guided walks were not disappointed, the wildlife of Fishlake Meadows put on a good show each time. There are 3 hobbies seen regularly, enjoying feeding on damselflies and dragonflies, we were also treated to a male cuckoo calling away each time, and even saw him once or twice. On the last guided walk on Monday we didn’t make it back in quite enough time to avoid the downpour, the storm did make for some fantastic looking skies.

Stormy clouds at Fishlake Meadows nature reserve

© Jo Armson

At Blashford Lakes and Fishlake Meadows more and more flowers are coming out, it’s lovely to see all the different colours. At Blashford lots of oxeye daisies and vetches have come in to flower.

Fishlake is full of colour thanks to yellow flag iris’ flowering along the ditches and around the pools of water. Ashley Meadow to the north of the site has lots of comfrey, buttercup and some southern marsh orchids in flower.

On a quick walk along the Barge Canal path at Fishlake Meadows yesterday I had the chance to get more of a look at the insects that were flying around.

There are now many dragonflies, damselflies and demoiselles enjoying the sunny sections of the canal where most of the in channel vegetation is. I was able to get a good look at a broad bodied chaser through binoculars, and a very brief glance of another dragonfly, but not enough to identify it. Luckily the damselflies were being much more cooperative, I was able to get a photo of a large red damselfly and a pair of mating azure damselfly.

I also saw a speckled wood butterfly,  they are often overlooked, but I think they are very attractive. You can typically spot them in woodland or where there is some tree cover, where they will settle in a small sunny spot where there is a gap in the canopy. The yellow markings on their wings mimic dappled sunlight breaking through.

My final sighting of note, was my first cinnabar moth of the year, hard to miss their striking bright pink and black colours. This one came out of the moth trap at Blashford Lakes this morning, so they are clearly beginning to emerge everywhere.

Cinnabar and sharp-angled peacock moth in trap at Blashford Lakes

© Jo Armson