Thursday, 8 May 2014

Spring migrants and flowers galore at Ynys-hir

This blog post is a bit tardy, I've been working like mad over the past few days on two Open University assignments that I'm hoping to have finished by the time we go on holiday next Monday - then when we get back, I will be concentrating solely on the dreaded REVISION for my exam in June. On Sunday I was off once again with the West Midland Bird Club, this time to RSPB Ynys-hir in Wales. I'll warn you now, this is going to be a very plant-heavy post - I saw so many new flowers to try and ID! I spotted this one in the car park of the conveniences we stopped at in Welshpool en route!

Looks like Hedgerow Crane's-bill, Geranium pyrenaicum.
It was a great day for birds too of course :o) alas my thumb isn't really much better so I'm still not doing any drawings though :o(

Due to the difficulties of trying to manoeuvre a large coach up into the car park, we walked up the drive towards the reserve entrance when we arrived and before we even got there were enjoying super views of Pied Flycatcher and Goldcrest in the trees by the roadside. I saw these two plants growing along the grass verge:

Erm, I think this might be Navelwort (Umbilicus rupestris) but I'm not sure!

After my Ground Ivy indecision recently in the Malverns, I feel fairly confident that this is definitely it (Glechoma hederacea)!
On the feeders outside the visitor centre were finches aplenty, including lots of Siskin. We set off through the woodland and were soon surrounded by glorious springtime scenes!

View from the car park.

Walking through the woodland.
Pied Flycatchers turned out to be a recurring theme of the day, they were everywhere! Redstarts were plentiful too, alas Wood Warblers were very scarce - we just heard a couple of distant songs. Maybe they hadn't quite arrived in full force yet. Garden Warblers were also hard to come by, compared to our last visit to this reserve when they seemed much easier to find. We heard a few and I had a brief glimpse of one. Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler were all about. I seem to be on a vole roll lately too, I heard a rustling in the dead leaves on a bank we were passing so stopped and watched, and a Bank Vole shortly emerged! We watched it shuffle around for a bit on the bank, in and out of the dead leaves. From the hide in the treetops I also had a great if brief view of a Red Kite flying right overhead.

Here are some more plants for me to try and identify:

There was loads of this around, I thought it might be Sorrel (Rumex acetosa).
More Speedwell, thought I'd take some photos as I know there are a few different ones that I have yet to see, but I think it's just Germander Speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys) again. Not that that is a bad thing!
Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis)!
This one looks like Bog Stitchwort (Stellaria alsine).
Could this be Climbing Corydalis (Ceratocapnos claviculata)? I don't remember seeing any tendrils but they could just have been small and unnoticeable, and I was in a bit of a rush!
On the walk down to the hide overlooking the estuary we had super-close views of a Reed Warbler singing away in the reeds. Alongside the path there was tons of this stuff growing, some kind of brassica I think, but I wasn't able to identify it:

Do let me know if you know what this is! :o)
There were white and yellow flowers too, maybe some closely related species.
After that we walked along the boardwalk through this scrubby wet grassland, we thought it might be good for Grasshopper Warblers but we didn't hear any, it was chocka with Sedge Warblers though, lovely!

Sedge Warblers love it!
On an exposed bank leading up to another hide I spotted some more plants!

Looks like Bird's-foot (Ornithopus perpusillus). Cute!
Yay I think I finally found a different Speedwell! Hopefully it's Thyme-leaved Speedwell (Veronica serpyllifolia).
Biting Stonecrop (Sedum acre).
Time was getting on, it's a big site with so much to see! We hot-footed it up to the top end to try and get a look at the distant Osprey nest platform, and managed to spy an Osprey sitting on the bare tree next to the platform! On the way up there I saw this Green-veined White butterfly resting on some Brambles:

Green-veined White butterfly (Pieris napi).
After that we were pretty much out of time and it was back to the coach for a good snooze on the journey home. Good times!