I finally built up the courage to visit Tice’s Meadow Nature Reserve on Saturday. Surrey BTO membership secretary, Penny, had told me that there was disabled access so I nervously set off to meet up with the team managing the reserve at their woodland birdhide. After a bit of time figuring out the RADAR key padlocks to allow access for my wheelchair I was quickly surrounded by wildlife. Speckled wood, meadow brown and green-veined white butterflies danced all around me! I was so captivated that I nearly missed this little fledgling pop up into the cut branches it had been foraging around. I thought my eyes where deceiving me, the speckled head of a young robin and the tail feathers of a…of a….no….can’t be…..(takes photos then checks BTO online and does a little wheelchair dance)….that’s the tail feathers of a redstart! Whoop! Just so thrilled that this wonderful little bird stuck around long enough for me to get a few shots. The female adult was already calling to it from nearby shrubs. She’s quite drab, a glance had made me think female or juvenile blackbird, but smaller. They didn’t visit the woodland birdhide but we were delighted to see lots of juveniles there too, including greenfinch, sparrow, chaffinch, nuthatch, robin, goldfinch and bullfinch! It was lovely to meet the team managing the reserve. Warm, welcoming and passionate about sharing the joy of nature and wildlife with everyone. They already have local schools visiting and events for young people with learning disabilities. Several RADAR key access points have been installed and plans are afoot to have the main pathways made properly wheelchair accessible. At the moment the ground is hard and that allows the wheelchair to get around without too much difficulty but there are deep ruts to be avoided. I really hope that the team manage to get all the funding needed to develop the pathways and progress with other projects they have planned, including providing more learning activities for the children who regularly visit. I had a very successful Big Butterfly Count around the meadow areas by Horton’s Mount! So many blues on the wing. I think I might have finally fallen down that rabbit hole into Wonderland!
There’s nothing quite so wonderful as chasing Spring butterflies around on a warm, sunny day! Brimestone butterflies were definitely in full bloom in the woodland last Friday. Seeing them dancing around the pink blooms of azalea was glorious and a perfect encounter to add into this week’s ShareMondays challenge.
On Saturday we went to visit family in Somerset to celebrate Easter together. After lunch the grandchildren enjoyed an Easter Egg hunt around the house, with the last egg having been cunningly hidded under Simon’s hat, on his head. When they finally figured it out he was uncrermoniously mobbed for the chocolate treat! After finding all those eggs, we then went off in search of nests. Fortunately they weren’t far off, at RSPB Swell Wood Nature Reserve and Heronry. The heron pairs are busily putting the finishing touches to their nests, high in the tree canopy. They’re well hidden in the dense branches but I managed to get this pair in focus, on the Fujinon XF 100-400mm lens on a sturdy tripod, so that all the children could watch them a bit more closely. It was a dark and dull day so I was pleased to actually manage to get a shot of them! With so many nests, I’m sure there will be plenty of baby herons in the near future. I’m posting this image for today’s Fotospeed challenge. Good luck to everyone taking part!