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Wednesday 24 April 2024

Nature Alive Again - 12th April, 2024

Spring is sprung, and nature has certainly come to life once more after a very wet and windy winter. However, the title of this post refers to a return visit to the small nature reserve, Nature Alive, in the neighbouring town of Coalville - a town which once had a coal mine winding wheel near the centre of the town.

My first visit to Nature Alive, on 17th March, featured in my last blog post. On that day it was partly flooded, but showed great promise, so I was keen to return. A spell of relatively dry weather prompted me to go back for another look on this day - 12th April.

On arrival, I was delighted to find that a dry path was available where, on my previous visit, I had to wade along a torrent of water. It was soon apparent that, in spite of a stiff breeze, there was enough shelter from the surrounding trees, and insects were enjoying the multitude of wildflowers on the reserve. 

I stopped to photograph a hoverfly which I subsequently identified as a Chequered Hoverfly. This was a male, as witnessed by the eyes almost touching in the middle - female hoverflies have eyes that are clearly separated.

Chequered Hoverfly (Melanostomer scalare) (male) - Nature Alive

Wood Anemone is a very common but, in my opinion, very beautiful flower.

Wood Anemone (Anemonoides nemorosa) - Nature Alive

At the first small pond, which has a currently closed viewing platform, a pair of Coot wre present. This is one of them.

Coot (Fulica atra) - Nature Alive
Moving on to the largest of the lakes, a heron was on the far side of the lake.

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) - Nature Alive

A Moorhen was somewhat closer, looking rather splendid with that red and yellow bill.

Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) - Nature Alive

On my previous visit, I only covered about half of the reserve. This time, I was determined to cover as much as possible. I set off for the previously unvisited north-west corner of the reserve, finding the path a little difficult with water and a fallen tree. Nothing of real interest was seen at this end, but I did go up onto the footbridge that crosses the railway, just to see what was on the other side. The short answer was 'very little' other than an industrial estate, so I did not bother descending the far side. I found myself surprised that the rails below the bridge were very rusty. This line passes within earshot of our house in Ashby de la Zouch, and it had not dawned on me that I had not heard a train for a long while. This next shot shows you some evidence of the industrial past of this location.

Rail tracks bordering Nature Alive, Coalville

I re-entered the reserve and continued my perambulations in a clockwise direction, seeing nothing of note before I got back to where I started from.  I felt inspired to head back to the large lake, taking some shots of flowers and insects as I did so.

I am not sure if this primula is a cultivar or a natural deviant from the usual yellowish cream of the true Primula. I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.

Primrose (Primula vulgaris) - Nature Alive
There were a few Dog Violets around.

Common Dog Violet (Viola riviniana) - Nature Alive

What really surprised me was the huge number of Cowslips there - I believe the most I have ever seen in any location. Foolishly, I only took a shot of a single flower head and omitted to take a photo of the hundreds of blooms in the area.

Cowslip (Primula veris) - Nature Alive
There was one large Gorse bush which was covered in flowers and attracting a few bees and hoverflies.

Common Gorse (Ulex europaeus) - Nature Alive
This hoverfly was rather obliging.

Tapered Drone Fly (Eristalis tenax) (female) - Nature Alive
I then returned to the largest lake, and found a Buzzard circling around in the distance. It appeared to be in a state of moult.

Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) - Nature Alive
I was pleased to see two female Mallards, each with three chicks in tow.


Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) (female + chicks) - Nature Alive

Beyond the viewing platform on the large lake, there is a boardwalk which crosses the north-west corner of the lake. I headed back there to assess the potential for dragonfly photography when the season starts, and came to the conclusion that it was good. There were plenty of rushes near to the boardwalk. However, at this time, a large patch of Marsh Marigold looked most attractive. The flowers are beautiful!
 
Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris) - Nature Alive

As I headed back and approached the viewing platform, a drake Mallard was on the fencing of the platform.

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) (male) - Nature Alive

Before reaching my car, I photographed a couple of butterflies. The Comma was rather tatty, and probably one of last year's.

Comma (Polygonia c-album) - Nature Alive

Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines) (male) - Nature Alive
I am looking forward to returning to Nature Alive when the dragonfly season gets started.
 
 
PLEASE NOTE:- I have a rather difficult week or two ahead of me, so please forgive me if I am tardy in publishing or replying to your comments, and in visiting your blogs. It might be a while before my next blog post. In the meantime, please take good care of yourselves and Nature - thank you for dropping by - - - Richard
 

32 comments:

  1. Good morning, Richard: I don’t recall a post where you have covered botany in such detail, and very pleasing it is too. Nature Alive seems like a very apt name for this gem of a place. When I see the Mallards with three young I always wonder how many they started with. There are so many predators both from above and below. Knowing why you will be away for a while, let me wish you good luck and I will look forward to “seeing” you again in due course. Best wishes to you and Lindsay - David

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    Replies
    1. My botanical knowledge is abysmally poor, David, but I suspect that my interest is increasing - a rather late time in life to become interested in the world of plants!

      I agree, broods of just three Mallard chicks did suggest predation to me also.

      Thank you for your kind wishes - it all kicks off tomorrow!

      Best wishes to you and Miriam - - - Richard

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  2. Hello Richard :=)
    Wonderful wildlife in every frame. The Tapered Drone Fly which I thought was a Hover fly is a superb shot, and you covered such a wide range of wildlife in this post. All the beautiful wild flowers you encountered are a joy to see, and the water birds, including cute Mallard ducklings are a pleasing sight. Signs of Spring are everywhere, and your Nature Alive post proves it with excellence
    Best wishes that all goes well, and I look forward to your next post in due course..
    Sonjia.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Sonjia. The Tapered Drone Fly is a species of hoverfly, and is quite common here.

      Thank you so much for your visit and kind words.

      Best wishes - stay safe - - - Richard

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  3. Ah spring at last! here in the south-east of France, the weather is a little upset by the Mistral but many birds and insects are finally here! Thank you for your testimony, be well, see you soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No Mistral for us, Philff, but it would be easy to think that the Mistral is what we have been experiencing!

      Thank you for visiting. Best wishes - - - Richard

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  4. Yet another of your comprehensive accounts and illustrations, this one about your visit to Nature Alive and its excellent variety of botany.

    I must echo everyone's good wishes through the coming weeks Richard.

    With Kind Regards to Lindsey also....Pete.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your supportive wishes, Pete.

      I'm hoping that Nature Alive has more to offer through the seasons, especially when the dragons start appearing.

      Best wishes to you both - - - Richard

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  5. Beautiful photos and sunny weather. We have rain the last weeks. Have a nice weekend !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We do not see sunny weather very often, Caroline, so it is very much appreciated when we do!

      Thank you for visiting.

      Best wishes - - - - Richard

      Delete
  6. Wishing you all the best for the month ahead Richard and that you get out a few times to enjoy the nature around you. A lovely comprehensive report there covering all the angles I believe. Take care.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Marc. I'm hoping to be back on my feet soon. Best wishes - - - Richard

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  7. What a great post. I love the pictures of the flowers and how good to see a coma. As always wonderful bird photos. I will be thinking of you tomorrow, fingers crossed that all goes as planned.
    My very best wishes to you both, Diane

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    Replies
    1. Hi Diane. I got back from hospital late last night, and am already feeling much better than I have done for the last couple of months! I still have to take it easy for a while, so probably no more outings for a couple of weeks or so.

      My best wishes to you and Nigel - - - Richard

      Delete
  8. Hello Richard,
    all the best for what lies ahead,
    You brought nice pictures again, the heron on the post looks great..
    Greetings Frank

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Frank. I had my hospital operation yesterday afternoon and am feeling much better than I have done for a long while.

      Best wishes - - - Richard

      Delete
  9. Hello Richard :=)
    Thank you for your visit, I'm so pleased it gave you a boost.Get well soon
    Um Abraço.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sonjia. I am feeling much better than expected after my operation yesterday, and so I will probably be able to keep up to date with Blogger, although I will probably not be going out with my camera for a couple of weeks.

      Best wishes - - - Richard

      Delete
  10. Well, NOW it really feels like springtime has arrived in the United Kingdom blogosphere!

    Birds, flowers, insects. We feel right at home.

    Outstanding collection of diverse images. Going over them all once more.

    Gini and I have you and Lindsay in our thoughts. Rest. Heal. Return.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Wally. We seem to have headed back into winter again, with sub-zero temperatures on some nights! Fortunately some warmer weather is forecast for later next week.

      I had my operation yesterday, and all went well. I'm back home again and feeling better than I have done for months. I shall, however be taking it easy for a while.

      Thank you for your kind words. Best wishes to you and Gini - - - Richard

      Delete
    2. That is excellent news! Take time to recover. We shall be here when you feel up to returning. Gini says "be a good patient for Nurse Lindsay"!

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    3. Tell Gini not to worry - I will do exactly what I'm told to do but, more importantly, refrain from doing what I'm told not to do!

      Delete
  11. Stunning pictures Richard, lovely setting for nature.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Bob. I am looking forward to returning there - maybe in a couple of weeks time. Best wishes - - - Richard

      Delete
  12. Hi Richard!!!...Lovely and diverse captures... Happy week ahead.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Ana - the future looks bright, and I hope it is for you too.

      Delete
  13. Me ha encantado tu reportaje, tiene todo lo que me gusta. Te deseo que todo te vaya bien, te estaré esperando. Suerte. Abrazos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gracias Teresa. Estoy sufriendo un pequeño revés en este momento, pero espero estar recuperado en una semana o dos.

      Mis mejores deseos - - - Richard

      Delete
  14. Precioso reportaje primaveral, me ha encantado. Espero te recuperes pronto Richard, te mando mucha energía desde el norte de España. Un fuerte abrazo!!!

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    Replies
    1. Gracias GermĂĄn. Lamento no poder visitar tu blog porque estoy muy enfermo - Mis mejores deseos - - - Richard

      Delete

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