Sunday, 28 April 2013

Sandwell Valley - April

I did my monthly volunteering stint at RSPB Sandwell Valley today. Spring had well and truly arrived compared to my last visit when I failed to even track down a Chiffchaff. Today I had my first Swift and House Martin (finally!) of the year. Also around were several Little Ringed Plover, 2 of which we saw mating - hopefully their breeding attempts will be successful this year. Unusually there was also a Ringed Plover present, probably just passing through. The Shelducks had finally moved on though, oh well!

There were 3 Common Sandpipers making their presence known, being very vocal and chasing one another around - normally just a passage visitor at the reserve, I wonder if they'll stick around?

Common Sandpiper, RSPB Sandwell Valley 28/04/13.
I got some more practice on White Wagtail too, feel fairly confident distinguishing these from Pied now....

White Wagtail, RSPB Sandwell Valley 28/04/13.
My drawings are once again very variable, but I was quite pleased with the Lapwing.

Sketches of Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Lapwing and Coot, RSPB Sandwell Valley 28/04/13.
I also decided to try and learn a new plant or two every time I go out as I'd really like to improve my plant ID skills, plus I've also just bought myself a copy of The Wild Flower Key: How to identify wild flowers, trees and shrubs in Britain and Ireland to assist with my studies, so I figured I may as well get using it straight away. This plant seemed vaguely familiar and I think I used to know it but have forgotten, I thought it might be a member of the nettle family?

Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon), RSPB Sandwell Valley 28/04/13.
I think it is probably Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon), hope I am right. The next one has been intriguing me for a while as there's some also growing in my front garden:

Wood Avens (Geum urbanum) (probably), RSPB Sandwell Valley 28/04/13.
I think it might be Wood Avens (Geum urbanum) but am not 100% sure, am going to wait for it to flower to verify!

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