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Maiden Erlegh Reserve – 14 April 2018

Following a week of unremitting cold and rain, the warm sunshine on the afternoon of Saturday 14 April, when Renée Grayer led a walk at Maiden Erlegh local nature reserve, was a welcome change. While the group were gathering at Instow Road, Brimstone, Comma and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies were seen and Peacock was soon added to the tally. A number of native species have been planted around the reserve, and specimens seen in the garden of the Interpretation Centre included the leaves of Shining Cranesbill and flowering Cuckooflower. The walk started out through Old Pond Copse, the strip of woodland in the valley of the stream which flows out below Maiden Erlegh Lake. The rich ground flora indicates that this is ancient woodland and flowers included Primrose, Common Dog-violet, Wood Anemone, Wood-sorrel and Wood Spurge. The first Bluebells were just coming into flower. Leaves of Wood Speedwell, Three-nerved Sandwort and Ramsons were also noted. The small yellow flowers of Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage were found in the wetter parts of the wood, together with Marsh-marigold. The leaves of Hemlock Water-dropwort, Fringecups and Wild Angelica were seen by the stream. In a pond in the valley bottom were several clumps of Summer Snowflake. It was suggested that these might be the wild Loddon Lily, but closer inspection of the stem edges revealed that they were smooth, as in the garden plant, rather than with the minute teeth of the wild plant. Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, Nuthatches and a Green Woodpecker called and two Buzzards soared overhead. After walking through Old Pond Copse and Moor Copse, the route led back to Maiden Erlegh Lake and through Oak Wood on the south shore. Moorhen, Coot and Great Crested Grebe were amongst the sightings on the lake, while a Grey Heron perched in a tree above the water. A bank of sunny Blackthorn blossom at the end of the lake proved a magnet for butterflies, with several more Peacocks and Commas and a newly-emerged Holly Blue. Finally, in a nettle patch by the road, a tiny 24-spot Ladybird was seen on a sunny nettle leaf, with a much larger 7-spot Ladybird nearby for comparison.

Pictures by Rob Stallard and Jenny Greenham

RDNHS trip to Maiden Erlegh Reserve on Saturday 14th April 2018 led by Renee Grayer
16 people attending
English name Scientific name Comments
Plant species Instow Road:
Common Field-speedwell Veronica persica Flowering
Sticky Mouse-ear Cerastium glomeratum Flowering
Daisy Bellis perennis Flowering
Wild Teasel Dipsacus fullonum Leaves
Sun Spurge Euphorbia helioscopia Flowering
White Dead-nettle Lamium album Flowering
Cowslip Primula veris Planted; Flowering
Green Alkanet Pentaglottis sempervirens Flowering
Ground-ivy Glechoma hederacea Flowering
Annual Meadow-grass Poa annua Flowering
Plant species in garden of the Interpretation Centre:
Field Forget-me-not Myosotis arvensis Flowering
Cleavers Galium aparine Leaves
Cow Parsley Anthriscus sylvestris Leaves
Germander Speedwell Veronica chamaedrys Leaves
Chickweed Stellaria media Flowering
Blackthorn Prunus spinosa Flowering
Primrose Primula vulgaris Flowering
Dandelion Taraxacum officinale agg. Flowering
Garlick Mustard Alliaria petiolata Leaves
Cuckoo Flower Cardamine pratensis Flowering
Shining Crane’s-bill Geranium lucidum Flowering
Plant species Old Pond Copse and Moor Copse:
Sweet Violet Viola odorata White flowers
Lords-and-Ladies Arum maculatum Leaves
Dog’s Mercury Mercurialis perennis Flowering
Ivy-leaved Speedwell Veronica hederifolia Flowering
Wood Avens Geum urbanum Leaves
Wood Anemone Anemone nemorosa Flowering
Red Dead-nettle Lamium purpureum Flowering
Spear Thistle Cirsium vulgare Leaf rosette
Lesser Celandine Ficaria verna Flowering
Hazel Corylus avellana Male Catkins fallen off
Hornbeam Carpinus betulus Male Catkins flowering
Red Currant Ribes rubrum Leaves
Ramsons Allium ursinum Leaves
Wood-sorrel Oxalis acetosella Flowering
Bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta Just coming into flower
Fringe Cups Tellima grandiflora Leaves
Opposite-leaved Golden-saxifrage Chrysosplenium oppositifolium Flowering
Hemlock Water-dropwort Oenanthe crocata Leaves
Three-nerved Sandwort Moehringia trinervia Leaves
Wild Angelica Angelica sylvestris Leaves
Marsh-marigold Caltha palustris Flowering
Loddon Lily or Summer Snowflake Leucojum aestivum ssp. pulchellum Flowering; Garden subspecies
Yellow Iris Iris pseudacorus Leaves
Honeysuckle Lonicera periclymenum Leaves
Common Dog-violet Viola riviniana Flowering
Wood Spurge Euphorbia amygdaloides Flowering
Butterfly species:
Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni
Comma Polygonia c-album
Peacock Inachis io
Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae
Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus
Species of birds:
Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla Singing
Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita Singing
Wren Troglodytes troglodytes Singing
Buzzard Buteo buteo Flying over
Song Thrush Turdus philomelos Singing
Red Kite Milvus milvus Flying over
Nuthatch Sitta europaea Calling
Green Woodpecker Picus viridis Calling
Jay Garrulus glandarius On a tree

List by Renée Grayer