Monday, 4 May 2015

Sunshine critters and spring flowers at Cranford Park

Now that spring has truly sprung, the leaves on the trees and the fast growing shrubs are providing great cover for the birds, therefore most were heard and not seen today. I managed to grab a shot of one of the many Common Whitethroat today......

but most of my sightings of birds were through twigs and foliage, so photos were almost impossible. Birds seen today but not photographed include Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Blackcap, Kingfisher, Kestrel, Chiffchaff, Wren, Long-tailed Tit, Goldcrest and Coal Tit.
 To add to my list I also heard a Little Owl calling four times. I narrowed the area down to a group of three trees, but despite a lot of searching I could not spot it. Next month the juveniles should be out and about and they are often easier to see than the adults.

With the nice warm temperature and sunshine, came the nice little critters.
As to be expected the usual butterflies were out and about.....

Holly Blue (male)
Speckled Wood
Orange-tip (male)
Green-veined White (female)
And on the fast growing nettle, dock and bramble patches I found some more critters.....
Green Shield Bug
Green Shield Bug
Dock Bugs

Scorpion Fly
My favourite, the Bee-fly, wasn't as abundant as on my last visit but I found a couple around. The one below is picking up bits of soil with it's back end. Bee-flies lay their eggs in flight, usually aiming the eggs at the hole of a ground nesting bee species. Having the soil attached to the eggs gives them a bit more weighty 'aim' power.......

When I wasn't watching critters or listening to birds I couldn't see, I was admiring the carpets of Bluebells.....
and also the many Red Campions that have shot up over the last couple of weeks......
Red Campion
Red Campion and Bluebells
The early spring flowers like the Lesser Celandine, wild violets and snowdrops have all gone over now, so it's now time for the later spring flowers........

Greater Celandine
Greater Stitchwort
Garlic Mustard
Cow Parsley
White dead-nettle
 And dont forget the trees, the Horse Chestnuts are in flower too.........
Horse Chestnut
On the subject of trees, there have been signs up in the park for over a year now, asking people to be vigilant for the Oak Processionary Moth Caterpillar.....
The caterpillars not only destroy Oak tree foliage, but their hairs are toxic and can be shed at will. This is a  link to bbc news report in 2010. Since 2010 every main park in west London is monitored at this time of year, and any nests found are destroyed before the caterpillars hatch. So you may see some trees marked like the one below.......
But as the nests are destroyed early, there is no great concern at Cranford Park.

And lastly St Dunstans church was open again today. I was chatting to todays two volunteers who advised the church will be open every Saturday and Bank Holiday from 10am to 4pm until September. If you've never visited the church before, I can highly recommend it. The little church is steeped in history.
The proposals for the future of Cranford Park are also on display here, but next Saturday is the LAST day. If you haven't had a look at the plans yet, either at the open weekend a couple of weeks ago or on-line, then why not come down to the park next Saturday and enjoy your own Bluebell and wild flower walk around the woods and park afterwards......?


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