Signs of Spring: Part Two

This afternoon I decided to take a well earned break from my revision and go to the RSPB reserve, Middleton Lakes.

The sun was shining, it was turning out to be a brilliant afternoon and Spring was definitely in the air! At the first pond we came to there was about ten different toads. They were all swimming about and enjoying the sunshine. This was the first time I’ve seen a toad this year and it got better as we then saw a common and a great crested newt!

Common newts, also known as smooth newts, are the most common newt of the three species which we get in the UK. Whereas the Great Crested newt is far more rare and localised. During the breeding season males develop a large, jagged crest, giving the species its name. All of the UK newts are protected but the crested newt is heavily protected as they are categorised as ‘lower risk’. In all three species declines have been observed, the reason for this is most likely to do the loss of many ponds across the UK.

Whilst walking round I also heard some woodpeckers drumming, plenty of butterflies including brimstone and peacock, and I saw some more Spring flowers, including crocuses and my first bluebell of the year!

Here are some photos that I took.

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heronryA Heronry

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IMG_5390King Alfred’s Cake Fungus – perhaps not a typical sign of Spring!

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Garden beauty galore!

Yesterday I visited Elford Hall Garden with my local Wildlife Trust Group (The Lichfield Wildlife Trust). Firstly we were given an introduction about the place then we went on a walk round. I managed to get lots of lovely photos of the beautiful flowers, sights and wildlife here. The sight was nothing less then a wildlife haven, with ancient trees, bug hotels, a wide variety of plants, the River Tame which goes past and some woodland areas. It was a wonderful place to walk around and I’m looking forward to going again. For more information about Elford Hall Garden here’s the website – http://www.elfordhallgarden.org.uk/

Here are some photos that I took.

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Spring flowers.

Following yesterdays first Thursday wildlife quiz here’s a post with the answers on and some information about each flower species I quizzed about.

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So then the answer to the first one was of course a daffodil which has the Latin name of Narcissus. Daffodils are a well known European flower and can be spotted from the beginning of Spring. Snowdrops belong to the same family as daffodils which makes them both a member of the Amaryllidaceae. 

The Latin name for daffodil is thought to have been inspired by Narcissus who was a figure in Greek mythology said to have fallen in love with his reflection in a pool of water. The nodding head of the daffodil is said to represent Narcissus bending down and gazing at his reflection.

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The answer to this photo was snowdrop which have the Latin name of Galanthus nivalis. They are mostly found in deciduous woodland but occasionally coniferous woodlands. They can also be found in meadows and near rivers. It was given the name nivallis as this means snowy. It is very popular in the British Isles even though it isn’t native here.

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The answer for this photo was crocus which has the Latin name of crocus too.You can find them in three different colours which are purple, white and yellow.

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This was a very difficult one, it is in fact a southern marsh orchid which is commonly known as a ‘spotted orchid’. They are widespread and commonly found across the UK. These flowers appear in the late Spring to Summer, dependent on the weather, but typically from June to July.

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This one is off course a primrose and has the latin name of primula vulgaris, it also belongs to the Primulaceae family. They are native to the UK and you can usually expect to see the pale yellow flower in the Spring time.

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The sixth photo was a wood sorrel which has the Latin name of oxalis acetosella. You can expect to find them in distinctive clumps in woodlands and shady hedgerows, often growing from moss on fallen logs. They are widespread and you can expect to see them in April and May.

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This is a common dog-violet which has the Latin name of viola riviniana. They are very common and they grow almost everywhere in the UK and you can expect to see them in many different habitats including woodland, grassland, heaths, hedgerows and old pasture. It flowers from around April to June but it’s flowers are not scented.

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The last one was of course bluebells which have the Latin name of Hyacinthoides non-scripta. They can be found throughout the UK and can be expected be seen in flower throughout April and June. They are mainly found in woodlands, especially coppiced woodland.

Next weeks quiz will be all about British fungi!

 

Thursday quiz: Spring wildflowers.

Today marks the first time I will publish the Thursday quiz on to my blog, from now on every Thursday I will do a blog post with a new quiz on. Every week will be about different UK wildlife and the question type will be different each week too. To answer the quiz you can comment below or tweet me on twitter @GeorgiaLocock

This weeks quiz is a bit easier then most will be and it’s all about Spring wildflowers! You have to name each flower I have displayed a photo of. Also an extra challenge would be to give the Latin name. Tomorrow I will do a blog post about the Spring flowers that I have quizzed about, give the correct answer and some information about them all.

Good luck and next weeks quiz is another picture quiz about fungi!

All photos are taken by myself.

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