I decided to head off in a different direction today. Walked through Hermitage Woods, across the fields to the A167 opposite the Oval. Along to just before the Chester Moor pub and turned left and along the woodland walk. I hadn't realised how far this landscaped area now stretches so I headed south adjacent to the main east coast railway line right the way along to behind Plawsworth. Then back along the A167 and along Beaney Lane and the new road to where I started. That was better than sitting in front of the telly.
Another Garden Warbler, this one in the Hermitage woods was the best bird of the day and butterflies in that cold wind and drizzle were non-existent. At the start of the walk there were a few small hoverflies, certainly one of the Platycheirus. Both males and females were present. They seemed to be closest to P. immarginatus but that species is now thought to only occur at the coast in brackish pools. These are inland by a small woodland edge marsh and that species is notorious for being misidentified. It may be they are just P. clypeatus but are quite different to the ones that appear in the garden and nearby dry hedgerows. No doubt it is best to just call them Platycheirus species.
|Unidentified Platycheirus hoverfly.|
The next thing of interest was some Red Campion, the little clump has some white flowers amongst the reds. These were pink in the bud but opened up white. With the short sepal teeth identical to the adjacent plants I reckon it is just a white Red Campion.
|White Red Campion|
|Yellowhammer along Beaney Lane|
The large field has been sown with spring cereal this year and so is too high to host the usual flock of Golden Plover that are often here in spring. Another garden escape was in flower here, Leopard's-bane.
White Clover, Sticky Mouse-ear, Creeping Buttercup and Sessile Oak. Last night I keyed out a few willows from the twigs I had gathered. I managed to identify Grey Willow, Goat Willow, Eared Willow and the hybrids between the latter two Salix x capreola