Sunday, 19 April 2015

More from Cranford Park

Firstly a correction on yesterdays blog post. My photo was not of the Common Blue, but of a Holly Blue. Thanks to everyone who contacted me to advise that.
Both Common and Holly Blues emerge at similar times, but their underwings are very different.
male Holly Blue
I seem to have lost my Butterfly ID book so have been looking at online guides, and came across the UK Butterflies website. It's easy to follow and full of interesting facts.
After yesterday with the sunshine and all of the butterflies, today it was colder, cloudier and not a butterfly in sight. I was at Cranford Park for my volunteer slot at the Cranford Park Public Consultation Proposals display along with Mark Price and Alisha Ladd from the London Borough of Hillingdon. It wasn't as busy as yesterday with less people visiting the display, but as I was leaving the park representatives from the London Wildlife Trust had just arrived.
After my slot I had a wander around the park.
Away from the main pathways I found my first Cuckoo Pint plant of the year. Also known as the Arum Lily or Lords and Ladies, this plant bears berries in autumn which are poisonous. In fact most of the plant can cause irritation to the skin, so if it has to be handled it should be done with care. This is the first plant this year that I have found intact. All of the others had the purple 'spadix' and most of the green sheath eaten away by mice. For some reason mice find this plant very attractive and suffer no harm from it.
At the wood circle there were several Jays flying around calling and eventually one settled long enough to have its photograph taken...
There have been a pair of Magpies hanging around the wood circle for a couple of weeks now. They are probably building a nest nearby. This one wasn't that shy of me, and was hopping around the other logs in the circle looking for anything tasty to eat...
Now the Bluebells are almost all fully opened, the Red Campion is starting to bloom too....
Yesterday at the Headland area I caught a quick glimpse of my first Common Whitethroat of the year, but couldn't get a photo as it dived in to a big bramble patch. Today I was a bit luckier and managed two photos before the bird again dived for cover in to the bramble patch, closely followed by another Common Whitethroat which flew in above my head....
male Common Whitethroat
Like the Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps, the Whitethroat is a migratory bird that spends the winter in countries like Africa and Pakistan, and arrives back in the UK each spring to breed.
In Cranford Woods, one of my favourite logs is fast becoming surrounded by Bluebells. I spent a lot of time sitting on this log last spring watching a Green Woodpecker excavating a nest hole....
At the other end of the woods I almost disturbed a courting pair of Stock Doves. I spotted them just in time and stood back under cover. I was really hoping to get some photos of the pair mating, but as you can see they didn't quite get 'it' right with the male eventually falling off the branch and flying off....

All in all it's been an enjoyable weekend at Cranford Park.
There could be some interesting plans for the parks future judging by some of the proposals, and I'm looking forward to the next phase already. It's not too late to fill in the light questionnaire or look over the proposals. Click on the link below if you haven't already done so.....
Some other upcoming events at the park include:-
May 10th - 10am-12noon, the Secret Garden will be open for volunteers to do some light gardening or to just come along and have a look around.
The Secret Garden is always open the second Sunday of each month.
May 16th - 11am meet at the Information Centre for the regular 'Knights, Earls & Ghosts' guided tour.
June 20th - 11am meet at the Information Centre for a guided Butterfly Walk around the park.

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