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.

G-Cnewt

bluebell

heronryA Heronry

8583

IMG_5351

IMG_5367

IMG_5384

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

IMG_5436

toad

Save Hopwas Wood, Staffordshire!

Yesterday morning I found out about proposed plans to turn one of my local patches into a quarry. I regularly visit the ancient woodland as it isn’t far from where I live. I’ve visited it for as long as I can remember, for example walking through the woods on a number of occasions and taking photos of the wonderful wildlife. I was very upset when I found out this news and decided that I wanted to do something about it.

After hours of research I decided to create an online petition as I hadn’t found any others. My petition is targeted at the local Council as they are currently discussing the plans and a verdict will be released on the 5th of December.

Along with many others Hopwas Wood, also known as Hopwas Hayes Wood, is one of my favorite outdoor spaces. It consists of approximately 385 acres of ancient woodland which date back to the doomsday book.

The area is listed by the SPNR as a large ‘primeval forest’ and ‘a good place for plants which frequent woody places’ as well as birds and insects. It is also important for a number of protected species such as otter and grass snake.

Here’s a link to the petition I have set up. I would be extremely grateful if you could sign and share – https://www.change.org/p/staffordshire-county-council-save-hopwas-wood-staffordshire

9