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Hungerford Marsh – 9th May 2010

Three Water Voles were the highlight of the walk at Hungerford Marsh on Sunday 9th May, led by Roger Frankum. There was a cold north-easterly wind and the temperature was a chilly 10C as 9 members set out across the meadow of the BBOWT reserve. Marsh-marigolds made bold splashes of yellow, and closer inspection revealed the tiny micromoth Micropterix calthella on some of the flower heads. Water Avens were in flower in good numbers. The bright orange speck of an Orange-tip butterfly egg was spotted on the flower head of a Cuckooflower plant. In the ditches of the former water meadow were big clumps of Greater Tussock-sedge and the white flowers of Marsh Valerian. A Kingfisher flashed electric blue across the meadow.

 There were at least 4 families of ducks on the River Dun as it flowed through the adjoining Freeman’s Marsh, with 9 tiny ducklings in the biggest family party. This was where Harry Matthews, out in front, spotted the first of the Water Voles, while his wife Lynn was able to identify a Grayling by its long, rippling upper fin. Also on the river were a Dabchick and a family of Moorhens, with a single youngster peeping out from beneath one of its parents on the nest. Swifts, Swallows, House Martins and Sand Martins swooped above the marsh and a single Cuckoo was heard. On the walk back to the cars, everyone had good views from the towpath of 2 more Water Voles as they swam along the far bank of the Kennet and Avon Canal.

Hungerford Marsh  SU333687

Meadow Foxtail  Alopecurus pratensis
Greater Tussock-sedge  Carex paniculata
Lesser Pond Sedge  Carex acutiformis
Lesser Celandine  Ranunculus ficaria
Marsh-marigold  Caltha palustris
Common Mouse-ear  Cerastium fontanum
Cuckooflower  Cardamine pratensis
Silverweed  Potentilla anserina
Water Avens  Geum rivale
Meadow Vetchling  Lathyrus pratensis
Great Willowherb  Epilobium hirsutum
Herb-Robert  Geranium robertianum
Cow Parsley  Anthriscus sylvestris
Hogweed  Heracleum sphondylium
Common Comfrey  Symphtytum officinale
Gypsywort  Lycopus europaeus
White Dead-nettle  Lamium album
Germander Speedwell  Veronica chamaedrys
Marsh Valerian  Valeriana dioica
Butterbur  Petasites hybridus
Lesser Burdock  Arctium minus
Ramsoms  Allium ursinum
Yellow Iris  Iris pseudacorus

Freeman’s Marsh  SU329686

Hard Rush  Juncus inflexus
Creeping Buttercup  Ranunculus repens
Meadow Buttercup  Ranunculus acris
Bulbous Buttercup  Ranunculus bulbosus
Water-crowfoot sp
Winter-cress  Barbarea vulgaris
Dove’s-foot Cranesbill  Geranium molle
Thyme-leaved Speedwell  Veronica serpyllifolia


Micropterix calthella (a micro moth) on Marsh-marigold flowers


3 Water Voles
1 Brown Rat


Mute Swan
Canada Geese + goslings
Mallard (4 families, one with 9 ducklings)
Red Kite
Moorhens (pair with 1 young under adult on nest)
Common Tern
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Sand Martin
House Martin
Garden Warbler
Sedge Warbler
Reed Warbler
Willow Warbler
Long-tailed Tit
Reed Bunting