Our volunteer wardens, Carole and Martin were out on the nature reserve this morning and Martin sent me an email about their encounters. Here’s what he had to say.
What a difference a day makes. After the rain all day yesterday the sun appeared today so we ventured out for our walk around Milton Locks.
There were a few butterflies flitting around, Large White, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper and I think the picture I took is a Common Blue but I’ve no idea what the flower is. There was a very large flock of noisy starlings in the bushes and a smaller flock of house sparrows tweeting in a bramble bush which was covered in ripe blackberries. A number of swallows were swooping round in circles just over our head. Out on Eastney Lake were a lot of Black Headed Gulls, a few Oyster Catchers, a Curlew and a Little Egret. There were a number of Crows foraging in the seaweed on the shoreline and one was demonstrating their classic way of eating shell fish, carry it up high then drop on a hard surface, repeat until it breaks open, eat contents before gulls arrive then go and find another one. You have to admire their persistence. Not bad for a 30 minute stroll around the reserve whilst we were picking up litter.
I have just got back to my occasional perch at Portsmouth City Museum this afternoon and, as promised, here is quick summary of this morning’s adventures. The weather was kind to us for our Go Wild family event this morning and over 70 people signed in to get involved in family activities. Also many other passers-by stopped for a chat. We had a wide variety of activities on offer including bug hunting, beach art, scavenger hunting and making mini dens for fluffy cuddly toys. Here are some of the best mini dens and nests.
We did also come across lots of wildlife in the midst of our busyness. Goldfinches, Blackbirds, a Robin, a Wren and a lovely Chiff Chaff were all singing and chirruping away for most of the morning. A pair of swans flew over at about 11am and Black-Headed and Mediterranean Gulls were ever present in the sky above us.
Among our beach finds were the usual Shore crabs, Sandhoppers, Periwinkles and tiny Hydrobia snails. We also found a little Ragworm, pictured below, which is seldom seen during events, although relatively common in these parts. This caused some excitement and I first suspected that we had found a Ragworm when I overheard someone shout ‘The worm has legs!’. In fact, the leg-like structures on the worm are called parapodia and as well as helping the Ragworm to get around, they are used for respiration.