I love the fact that as soon as I walk into the park everything changes. I am literally stepping into another world. Even with the sound of the traffic still loud in my ears because I am just a couple of feet away from the busy high street traffic lights, in front of me is a Holly Blue butterfly fluttering gently in its erratic flight path. A Brimstone’s stronger flight takes diagonally it across my path and into the nettle patch near the entrance to the allotments.
A few more steps into the park and I’m bathed in soft shadow, and if I look up I am soothed by the green light of sun falling through the canopy of the horse chestnut trees just inside the park’s entrance. The traffic sounds fade away in a few more steps and I’m surrounded instead by bird song. It’s beautiful, and I constantly remind myself how lucky I am to have this on my doorstep.
The most beloved of beetles, the Ladybird, is flying through the air over the cut grass. The most common I’ve seen so far this year is the Ten-Spot, how about you? The UK Ladybird Survey is always keen to hear about what people have spotted, where and when, so do keep an eye out. Looking for these common but beautiful beetles is a really easy way that anyone can get into nature-watching, as the different species are easily identifiable and many can even be found in the middle of a concrete jungle.
As I walked on, I saw a Green Woodpecker flying low, skimming across the open grass and going to hide in some Cow Parsley surrounding the bottom of a tree. A Small White butterfly followed its path.
Midges danced in the air over Henbury Pond, particularly over the developing lily pads. They caught the sunlight, scintillating and attracting the attention of hungry birds. There are no dragonflies or damselflies as yet at the pond, but I eagerly check every day now as the time is ripe for their first appearance.
And there, at the far end of Henbury Pond, was our early morning visitor the Grey Heron. Patient as a statue it stood in the water, waiting for its food to come within striking distance. Though I watched it for a good half hour I did not see it going for anything though.
Further on, a Crow delicately dabbling in a puddle of mud that sat in the sunshine. It was making the most of the easy worm pickings there. As I looked on, a male Orange Tip flew right past me, unusually across the open grassland rather than following the stream or appearing in a damper part of the park. It did not seem to notice that there was a female just minutes behind it, but hopefully they caught up with one another later.