Little egrets, Pendeford Mill

Little egrets, Pendeford Mill

I recently visited Pendeford Mill LNR to look for any signs of springtime woodland flowers and see how the heronry was. As I got to the largest pool, where the heronry is high in the trees on the island, I saw what seemed in the distance to be very pale herons. When I got closer, it became clear they were a couple of little egrets. All three egret species seem to be getting to be regulars at sites in the west midlands.

On a return visit a few days later there was no sign of these birds.

Emerging: bluebell flowers

Emerging: bluebell flower

Bluebells seemed to take a long time this year for the flowers emerging to being fully open. These pictures were taken on the first of the month, by the canal and (the only shot with a fully-open flower) in the woodland at the Pendeford Mill Reserve.

Roadside scurvy grass

Roadside scurvy grass

Scurvy grass seen in close-up. The flowers are tiny – the plants are perhaps an inch high. Look for them right by the side of main roads, no more than an inch or two from the tarmac. The plants are halophiles, growing in environments high in salt.

They have spread in Britiain in the last fifty or sixty years, living in the zone splashed by the run-off from the winter gritting of roads. Their spead has also been aided by the draughts from passing traffic.

Misty morning swans, boating lake

Misty morning swans, boating lake

Misty late March morning. The resident swans all on the same small part of West Park’s boating lake, facing the bandstand. At least one pair have made their nest on this shore of the island. Perhaps that’s why some of them seem to spend all their time swimming round in the threat posture, wings raised to make themselves look larger.

Pictures taken the same time as the footage here.

Doxey Marshes

Brief and rather shaky footage of the Wildlife Trust reserve at Doxey Marshes just outside Stafford city centre.

Along with several duck species, there are glimpses of two of the three egret species reported on the site in recent times – a little egret and a great white egret.

Swans in the Mist

Swans on West Park’s boating lake on a misty late March morning.

There is a brief appearance from a pair of mallards, by an egg on the lakeside path. The egg was too small to have been a duck’s. More likely one of the numerous pigeons was responsible.