Arrangements for getting there worked liked clockwork and half a dozen of us gathered in the car park where Orange tips greeted us. Next to the car park was a small area of attractive looking grassland. It was on a slope and was dry at the top and very wet at the bottom with a generous sprinkling of spring flowers and other emergent vegetation. We were in invertebrate heaven.
Little did this Tipula submarmorata know that we would make her a star.
It took a great deal of will-power to leave this area and explore the rest of the site. But we managed it just. We took the flight of steps to what was, according to the information board, advertised as the view point on the south west corner of the site. It was a fair climb so we paused after a while to draw breath. I took the opportunity to discuss drains and sewers with our expert following an unfortunate and very smelly incident with mine at home.
At this point my stick decided to extract revenge for continually being forgotten by inserting a large splinter into my thumb. Tantalisingly a small tail remained protruding from the skin. I now regretted cutting my nails as I was unable to get sufficient grip on this tail to pull it out. The others were also well manicured; then our “sewer” expert (I will not name him in case complications set in) produced a knife and to my horror started sticking it into my thumb and within a few seconds which seemed like minutes had removed enough skin to grip and extract the splinter. He then produced a plaster to cover the evidence. Thank you Dr. Kildare.
We gained the viewing point which seemed a lot further than the information board suggested only to find most of the view obstructed by Birch scrub. Clearly some work needs to be done by the Trusts’ volunteers in the near future.
Some of us had late “elevenses” others had early lunch and our minds drifted back to thoughts of what may have happened to my thumb had the hand of Dr. Kildare not been steady.
On the one hand we had those who were concerned: -
On the other we had those who were not quite so concerned:-
Whilst the third thought, shown by this Noon-day fly, was total indifference:-
Lunch over, we explored the area around the viewpoint. I was attacked again. Not by my stick but by a long-horn beetle that flew into my hair. It was a Rhagium bifasciatum which was our first long-horn of the season and will provide another record for the atlas that is currently in production.
We now walked to the other end of the reserve which took us through areas that were covered in flowering Bluebells, Lesser celandine, Wood-sorrel, Greater stitchwort and more that I could not identify. Some areas were dry but the path was crossed at several places with run-offs from the neighbouring fields that created small streams and wet areas. It was a delightful stroll.
So back to the car park where we could not resist one last “go” at the grassland before we returned home contented.