Sunday, 17 April 2011

Spoiled

We really are being spoiled with the weather at the moment.  Once again, we set out for our walk in the warm sunshine and were surrounded by birdsong and blossom.
The Canada Geese of Straw's Bridge were having a good time as the 'Friends of Straw's Bridge' (a local conservation group) were in evidence, handing out bags of grain with which to feed the waterfowl.  Indeed, word must have been spreading among the goose community as more were flying in from miles away.  I just managed to snap these before they prepared for 'final approach' and dropped out of the sky, flaps down and undercarriage deployed.
Smaller flying things were in evidence around the lakeside.  Small Tortoiseshell butterflies (Aglais urticae) were sitting on the newly emerging nettle leaves looking for somewhere to lay their eggs.
Bright and colourful, these common insects are well known to us all despite an alarming decline in numbers in recent years.  There seem to be very few sections of our wildlife which have not suffered a decline in numbers in recent years.  The name 'urticae' is derived from the butterfly's habit of laying eggs on Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica).
More colour is in evidence in the undergrowth along the paths of Straw's Bridge.  These small, blue flowers are of Common Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea).  A member of the family which includes such things as Mint, Rosemary, Sage and Lavender, these are used as an ingredient of salads in many countries as well as many medicinal uses including as an astringent, diuretic, anti-inflammatory and expectorant.  It's also rather beautiful.
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