With the increase in temperature, most of the regular migrants have been accounted for over the past month, including pied flycatcher, redstart, whitethroat, cuckoo, sedge warbler, grasshopper warbler, garden warbler, and swallow among others. The reserve (and the woodlands in particular) resounds with birdsong, and having a good ear for songs and calls (something I'm still practising) is more useful than ever at this time of year. Nesting is also well underway, and lots of species can be seen with nest material, or carrying food items to a box or a hidden nest site.
Cuckoo, Cuculus canorus (Keith Roberts)
Our main woodland looks spectacular in April/May, the ground flora dominated by bluebells and greater stitchwort, and the keen-eyed will also spot wood sorrel and red campion in flower, as well as the last of the celandine and wood anemone, all together making up quite the late spring palette. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the second part of greater stitchwort's scientific name Stellaria holostea is related to 'All-bones', an old common name for the plant, from the ancient Greek 'holo-' meaning 'whole, entire', and 'osteo', relating to bones. This supposedly because the plant snaps easily. You learn something new everyday here.
Greater stitchwort, Stellaria holostea (Chris Goding)
Last but not least, we have recently been renovating our pond dipping area, installing some lovely new benches and a woven willow fence, as well as starting the construction of a willow arch. Perfect for some aquatic investigations on a warm summers day!