Sunday, 12 May 2013

A sluggish spring in Somerset

The Somerset Levels, particularly Shapwick Heath, was packed with swifts, swallows and house martins yesterday.  Amongst them was a healthy population of hobbies, swooping through the skies and skimming the tree lines.  Young humbug grebes pottered around with their rather grumpy parents and in-spite of the wind and cool weather reed and willow warblers and chiff-chaffs made their presence felt with their summer songs.

One surprise was a gannet fly-by - very unusual so far in land.

Slow worms were sheltering in the usual places, but no other reptiles were present.  No cuckoos were heard either and no other local exotics seen this time.

Reddy brown female below tawny male slow-worm
Its very easy to get distracted by the wonderful summer visitors and the emerging colours, but the fresh spring green is still worth a special look.  The ferns are unfurling - this is action is called circinate venation and can be seen in this royal fern below:

and bracken...

This moss was particularly attractive with its fresh colours

Cuckoo-flowers are some of our first meadow species to blossom:

Oak leaf
 The hirundines were quite a challenge to photograph:


House martin
Glastonbury Tor with a swallow in the foreground

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