Another new family was swimming around in Reffley Pond when I visited this afternoon. I was pleased to see a female mallard with eight new ducklings, since I believe they are the first ducklings to have arrived here this spring.
The proud mother led the youngsters out of the water and over the grass as I stood at the fence. As they wandered over the grass, the mother vocalised to them all the time. Then she took them back into the water, I saw some of the babies leap into the pond from the wooden surround. That’s the thing about mallards, they are so used to humans you can usually be confident of good views of them and their young.
I noticed two of the baby moorhens in the pond with their family, along with three juveniles. Two adults came out on to the grass outside the pond and one seemed to offer titbits to the other, so I took them to be the parents having some time out together.
Round the nearby woodland edge I saw that the brambles were starting to flower and were proving a real draw for various bees, a female swollen thigh beetle (she does not have the large thighs), and hoverflies. The sun had come out at this point, too, so there was a real buzz in the air. I also saw about four small moths resting on bramble flowers.
I made my way to the pond via the Reffley Spring Wood, which is now very green and the canopy has closed over in some parts. There were quite a lot of bird sounds. I picked out blackbirds, wrens, chaffinches, possibly a blackcap, a song thrush, members of the tit family and corvids such as rooks and jackdaws. I came across a couple of muntjac deer, too, one of which stood and looked back at me for a few moments.
As I left the wood, I realised some of the grass under the trees on the common was being strimmed and that the grass close to the pond had been mown. How this will affect the wildflowers we’ve been surveying remains to be seen.