Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Blagdons Meadow, River Plym, Friday 20th May 2011

Today I decided to check out Blagdons Meadow, a small Plymouth City Council nature reserve by the side of the River Plym. I had read about bee orchids being present there but forgot to go and have a look around last year and despite being a little early for bee orchids I thought I would go and have a look around ready for a visit later in the year. I had finished night shifts on the Thursday morning and needed to get out in the sunshine to get rid of the post night grogginess I always experience.

The reserve is a small area of reclaimed land by the side of the Plym and consists of unimproved grassland. It is popular with dog walkers who want somewhere to empty their dog but the information boards ask people to clear up after their dogs in order to keep the soil impoverished for the specialist plants that grow there and there was no dogs mess around.

Common blues were flitting about over the grass and a pair were seen joined together mating. Also seen were quite a few small heath butterflys which were a nice find. Also seen were burnet companion moths, initially I dismissed them as fast flying small heath but when I had a proper look I realised they were something else and on checking my guide book on returning home I had found myself a new species of moth for my moth list.
Common blues mating
Burnet Companion

Early purple orchids were in flower but were very limp and floppy with the total lack of rain we have had in the last few weeks. The guide books state that the flowers smell like tom cats but I didn't get to sniff them. Also seen were yellow rattle, a semi-parasitic plant that I saw on my recent trip to Berry Head.
Early Purple Orchid
Yellow Rattle

Bird wise a little egret and a grey heron were seen on the river as the tide receded along with an oystercatcher, some shelduck, a cormorant and gulls. 2 swallows and a goldfinch flew over and a chiffchaff was heard singing in a nearby hedgerow.

After wandering around for about 90 minutes I headed home and plan to return in June to hunt for bee orchids, having had a pleasent time in the sunshine.

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