The Coronavirus outbreak has affected every aspect of our lives, and the reserve has been no exception. Parking vehicles on the access track to visit the reserve was prohibited for a period of time 8as the country went into lockdown, and I did not visit the reserve for 7 weeks. During that time it is reasonable to assume that all the wildlife, especially the birds, thrived in the absence of human disturbance. The track is now available again for parking, but only as far as the gates in order to ensure that large vehicles and lorries, including the emergency services, can access the two properties at the end of the track at all times. There have been instances when vehicles have been parked in places making access to the properties difficult or impossible. During the lockdown there was some fly-tipping on the reserve, and if anyone has any information about this I would be grateful if they would contact the Police – it is a serious criminal offence and anyone guilty faces a substantial fine.
Restrictions to keep us all safe mean that there will be no further Volunteer Work Parties or Guided Walks for the foreseeable future. Everyone who visits the reserve is advised to maintain social distancing apart from with members of their household.
During the second half of May I started the weekly butterfly count, which normally starts in the first week in April. As well as reasonable numbers of butterflies, what has been evident has been the huge amount of birdsong, particularly Skylarks, Willow Warblers and Common Whitethroats. Another feature has been the fact that the reserve has not seen any rain as far as I am aware, or any significant rain, for at least two months. It all looks very parched, and we are only in May and with no appreciable rain in the forecast. Given the above average temperatures I would expect an earlier than usual emergence of Silver-studded Blues.
The pond continues to hold a high level of water. When we built the pond in 2009 we feared it may dry out during the summers, but this has never proved to be the case, so far. The first species of dragonfly to emerge has been the Four-spotted Chaser and now species of Hawker dragonflies have emerged earlier than usual. These two photos were taken on 29th May.
Butterfly Conservation Volunteer Warden