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Elinor took her Art exam over two days at the beginning of May and on the Friday of that week she and I decided we’d go to the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) reserve at Minsmere for a relaxing walk.  Richard was away in Manchester visiting his mother and brother and helping his brother clear his Mum’s house before putting it on the market.

We go to Minsmere very often and know all the walks.  Elinor decided she wanted to walk through the woods instead of going to the shore.  I was hoping to hear a Cuckoo and a Nightingale.  We had a drink and a cake in the café before we set off.

IMG_2203Something on Birch tree Minsmere (640x427)

The first thing we saw was this and I have no idea what it is. Is it a canker, a fungus or is it a nest of some sort? It is on a Birch tree.

IMG_2204Crabapple perhaps (640x427)

We saw this very pretty Crabapple blossom.

IMG_2205Common vetch (640x427)

This is Common Vetch (Vicia sativa)

IMG_2212Red Campion (640x427)

Red Campion (Silene dioica). The wind was blowing quite hard and I found it difficult to get anything in focus.

IMG_2206Pond (640x427)

And this is one of the many ponds at Minsmere.

IMG_2207Pond (640x427)

Another pond.

The weather, which had been quite pleasant in the morning, quickly deteriorated  once we began our walk.  It got quite cold and then a drizzly rain started as you can see by the raindrops on the pond above.  Any hopes of hearing a Cuckoo or a Nightingale evaporated away.

There are Adders (Vipera berus) living on the reserve and we had been hoping to see them.  We were told by another visitor that they were sleeping out in the open but unfortunately, by the time we arrived at the area where they are to be found, the rain had started and very sensibly they had gone under cover.  The area is fenced off for their and our protection.  They are Britain’s only venomous snake.

IMG_2208Reeds and water (640x427)

Reeds and water. We could hear Bitterns (Botaurus stellaris) booming in the reeds but we didn’t see any water fowl at all.

IMG_2209Oak moss (640x427)

There was plenty of Oak Moss (Evernia prunastri) to be seen.

IMG_2211Oak moss (640x427)

It is very attractive with its flat, curled branches. It isn’t moss at all but is in fact a lichenised fungus.

Air quality in the East of England isn’t as good as in the West of the country because the prevailing wind blows across the country, including London, before it gets to us.  We are pleased when we find any kind of lichen as they are often indicators of clean air.

IMG_2210Slugs on dandelion (640x427)

This dandelion plant had a couple of slug visitors.

IMG_2218White bluebell (640x427)

We saw very many white bluebells in the wood

IMG_2223Oak tree (640x427)

An Oak tree (Quercus robur) with new leaves and flowers.

IMG_2221Building for the BBC (640x427)

This is the building that was constructed last year for the BBC Spring Watch team. This is as near as us members of the hoi polloi can get to it. The BBC are currently filming at Minsmere though they weren’t when Elinor and I visited.

The next six photographs are of a male Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) that I found singing next to the path.  The photos are not cropped.  This warbler didn’t appear to be at all nervous and at each pause in his song he seemed to look at me to judge my reaction!  He filled his throat with air and used it like the bag on a bag-pipe to sing.

IMG_2224Blackcap (640x427)

IMG_2225Blackcap (640x427)

IMG_2226Blackcap (640x427)

IMG_2227Blackcap (640x427)

IMG_2228Blackcap (640x427)

IMG_2229Blackcap (640x427)

I was very pleased to get these pictures.

Thank-you for visiting!