‘My Patch’

Saturday, February 27th 2016

Foxglove Covert is special and is 'My Patch' to many visitors and volunteers.  The winter has been wet but mild although this cold spell is making its presence felt and we are not used to it!  But no matter what the weather people take ownership of their patch and can watch the end of winter approaching.

On Wednesday, the Flower Walk volunteers were not blown about, drowned by rain or frozen by snow.  The sun was actually warm.  Looking carefully in places where early spring, well late winter, flowers appear, we found a single female Hazel flower.  We were really chuffed!  A visitor returned to the Field Centere and said they had found several on a tree near the wetland gate, an improvement on our one flower.  Whilst looking and being excited by this single flower, we marvelled that it would soon disappear and then nothing until the small developing Hazel nuts can be seen in mid summer.

Female Hazel flower

Whilst the sun was warm, one or two bees ventured out for a short filght.  The ice did not melt but the 3 Spined Sticklebacks were beginning to move and made it onto the observation board for the first time this year.  This brilliant photograph, through the ice, shows a little brown splodge, honestly it was a fish!  There were none to be seen today!

A brown splodge - a 3 Spined Stickleback

Knowing Foxglove and watching it change as the seasons progress, it is interesting to make comparisons from one year to another.  Last winter the Holly tree near the lake was covered in red berries and made a splash of colour.  Within a couple of weeks there was not a single berry to be seen.  Blackbirds and thrushes had had a feast.  The mild winter has meant that there has been plenty of food for the birds and so there are still some berries on this Holly.

Berries on the Holly

There is one small willow that grows in the Scrapes and it usually bursts its buds before any others and sure enough it has done so.

Willow buds bursting

From now on, keeping a watching brief on 'My Patch'  signs of spring will be obvious.  Primroses are in flower, Gorse is glowing yellow and now we await the return of Common Frogs to their spawning ponds.

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