Thursday, 13 May 2010

New kids

With a new government in place and working well together (at least for the time being), there were several signs of newness around the countryside this morning. In the sunshine at the 'Bogwash', it was wonderful to see the Great Crested Grebes (Podiceps cristatus) tending their new family of chicks. It was difficult to get a picture of the chicks as they rode around on their mother's back, as she was keen to keep them well away from us, out in the middle of the lake. But, what a wonderful sight.
On the same lake, a very proud mother Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) was ushering her brood of five little darlings in and out of the reeds, keeping them out of the way of the belligerent Coots. Further round and on to Straw's Bridge, another mother Mallard was taking the greatest care of her family of four.
There can be very few things in this world, as beautiful, innocent and heart-meltingly cute as a newly hatched duckling picking around the water surface. All together now....aaaaahhhhhhh!
As we reached about the half-way point of our walk, there were a few clumps of white flowers growing along the footpath. I thought they were white Bluebells as seen a few days ago, but closer inspection revealed them not to be Bluebells, but Three-Cornered Leeks (Allium triquetrum). These plants are native to the Mediterranean and not usually found in the wild in Britain, so I think these must have been 'escapees' from nearby gardens.
The plants are edible and taste - as the name suggests - of garlic or onions. The flowers are remarkably like the Bluebells, but the smell is rather different!
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