Sunday, 20 April 2014

Easter Malvern magic!

It's the Easter holidays, wahey! For me that means a full 6 days off work as Birmingham University closes til the Thursday after Easter, good times. It's a good chance to get loads of studying done but also when the weather is good (which seems to have finished now) to get out and about, so on Friday Chris and I headed to one of our favourite destinations, the Malvern Hills. After my previous visit to the southern end of the hills, we decided to return there to explore a bit more of the area. It was a brilliant day! As I've previously mentioned, one of the great things about the Malverns is the range of habitats you can see in a very compact area. Here are some of the different landscapes we experienced on our walk!

Looking north up the Malvern range, the tallest one in the distance is the Worcestershire Beacon.
The terraced hillsides of the Herefordshire Beacon/British Camp.

Blue water at Gullet Quarry.
Awesome geology at Gullet Quarry! Unfortunately it's too dangerous to get close up to the rocks for a proper look :o(
View from Castlemorton Common.
Castlemorton Common (with a Buzzard).
Castlemorton Common. I heard a distant Grasshopper Warbler in this area but did not see it!
The obligatory cute lambs photo.
Walking back up towards the British Camp Reservoir.
Highlights of the day included seeing my first Redstarts and Whitethroats of the year, a super-cool Peregrine and friendly Raven both perching and flying around Gullet Quarry, and a rustling among dead leaves on a bank to one side of the path which revealed itself to be a Bank Vole. We also saw 6 butterfly species (Comma, Orange Tip, Green-veined White, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Speckled Wood).

Raven (and Jackdaw!) at Gullet Quarry.

Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) butterfly on Nettles (Urtica dioica).
I was as usual on the lookout for plants to attempt to ID as well:

I'm not too sure, but I think this might be Hairy Sedge (Carex hirta). Edit: no it's Field Wood-rush (Luzula campestris)! Laughing and learning....(mainly learning).
Here is some very small and cute Germander Speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys)!
Hmmm this is most probably Common Dog-violet (Viola riviniana) but I should've had a closer look at it to check it isn't Early Dog-violet (V. reichenbachiana).
Erm. At first I thought this was Bugle (Ajuga reptans) but the more I look at it the more I think it might be Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea). If anyone is more certain do let me know!
Greater Stitchwort (Stellaria holostea).
We finished off our day by stuffing our faces with delicious food in The Nag's Head in Great Malvern, before heading home to watch The Muppets film. What a superb day!

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