Monday, 6 May 2013

Parisienne walkways

That rarest of creatures, a sunny Bank Holiday weekend, has been spotted in the UK. Unlike any Odonata in the vicinity of Yours Truly.

Looking back at my last seven years' records, the earliest date for damselfly emergence at the local nature reserve was the 24th April, with the latest being the 12th May. Well, we're 66% of the way through that range and my next likely opportunity to continue the search won't be until the 11th, I reckon.

And what really kicks the arse out of it, pardon my Klatchian, is that Our Lass spotted a Hobby this afternoon. Yeah, that's right, the bird of prey that eats dragonflies. I do not recall previously setting eyes on one of these sleek falcons before the odes (damsels and dragons) are on the wing. Oh, I do hope the poor thing doesn't die of starvation, he said, somewhat petulantly.

Still, we've had several pleasant nature walks this weekend, so I can't complain too much.

This morning, for instance, we drove out to Little Linford Wood, where the Wildlife Trust reserve manager had mentioned that there was a patch of Herb Paris in flower. Once we were able to distinguish it from the Dog's Mercury that was rushing to engulf it, we found several dozen plants. To my mind, it has the feeling of 'other' about it, and that was before I discovered it was poisonous (via Wikipedia, not through falling ill).

Amongst the many other woodland wildflowers that are hurrying to complete their life cycles before the tree canopy closes in, we also found Greater Stitchwort along the edges of the rides,

as well as Barren Strawberry,

which sounds like a very ennobled plant indeed.


holdingmoments said...

It seems a lot of nature is falling behind this year, due to the weather. Hopefully it will all catch up soon.

Imperfect and Tense said...

Apologies, I was in a particularly tetchy mood. In fact, I probably should've labelled the post as a 'Rant'!

In cheerier news, there's still a pair of Garganey at Hanson Environmental Study Centre. It's been almost 2 weeks now, which is much longer than the species' normal Spring visits to north MK.

Martin said...

Phenology, climatic cycles.. Will more cold winters and damp or hot summers mean fewer or more Odes? Will the lifecycle be carried out with greater urgency, more hunting and less time basking in the sunshine? Are there northern species which may cope in the south, or European species which make it across the channel because the summer weather is nicer in the UK?
Isn't nature great! Some species respond, some straggle behind and some don't live at all.
How do the Swift sightings compare in time to previous years? The early Hobby is interesting to me. Are birds earlier and insects later? What about the wild flowers?
Once again I seem to have posed a large handful of questions and no answers, Whooooops!

Imperfect and Tense said...

From what I understand, everything's headed north (at least in the northern hemisphere!). Some odo species are going to run out of road :o(

I don't have much in the way of Swift records, I'm afraid, other than that track by PBF!