A Beautiful Cold Day

Monday, April 16th 2012

A beautiful clear blue sky greeted the bird ringers this morning.

Blue sky and Blackthorn

Wearing coats, hats, scarves and gloves they hurried around the frosty reserve putting up the mist nets.

Frosted Nettle

During the day over 100 birds were processed including Chaffinches that were over 4 years old and a Bullfinch that was at least 6 years old.  Willow Warblers had been heard on the reserve for a week and the first ones were caught and ringed today, along with 8 birds returning to Foxglove from Africa which were ringed here in previous years.

The bird ringers also worked on some of the net rides in preparation for the beginning of CES. 

Thankfully the flowers and the trees have not been damaged too much by the frost.  Primroses, Wood Anemones, Blackthorn and the cherry blossom provide nectar and pollen for insects on the wing. Some flowers, like this Dog Violet, have honey guides to direct the insect to the nectary, and in doing so ensure the insect becomes covered in pollen.  When the insect visits another flower of the same species pollination is brought about and in time a seed will form.

Dog Violet showing honey guides

Many trees rely on wind pollination and have separate male and female flowers.  These catkins on the Silver Birch will soon be releasing their pollen.

Male catkins on Birch

You can see the sticky stigmas of the female flower (of the Birch) in the photograph below.  These catch the pollen and so by the end of the summer the seeds will be dispersed all over the reserve!

Female Silver Birch flower

The reserve was very busy with many new families and visitors, and it was nice to see the Woodcock still sitting tight while people passed by, oblivious, only a few metres from the nest.


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