Promoting observation, free range exploration, sense of place and citizen science, through the field notes of a naturalist.

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Medicinal botany

I'm very much a morning person and a bit anti-social to boot, so I enjoy getting out and about as early as I can for the best of nature and to avoid people. It was before 6am when I swung into to upper car park at Garn Lakes Local Nature Reserve (LNR) for a short walk around the margins of Waunafon Bog. I was pleased to note no other cars, this meant no people (and dogs), but in the corner of the car park were around half a dozen part opened discarded black bin bags that on closer inspection contained the remains of someone's cannabis growing business.

A stand of crosswort that I've known for a few years is thriving and is now in flower. A few swallow passed over as I prepared to take some photographs and a willow warbler sang from the top of a nearby tree. I had hoped for a singing grasshopper warbler or two but nothing emerged. 

Through the railway cutting that skirts the bog there were at least three pair of stonechat. Here too the sound of calling Canada goose echoed through the cutting. A patch of creeping willow was only now coming into leaf, a sign perhaps of the late spring. Turning for the return journey back to Garn Lakes my first people came into sight. Two young men with terriers and lurchers paused to ask if there was anything about. I responded positively without being too keen to enter into a protracted conversation.

There's a small copse of mature trees that is all that remains of a small farmstead or maybe a building associated with the nearby railway cutting. Either way it's always worth a quick look around. It was surprising for the last week of May to find several stands of daffodil still in flower - most have flowered and died back weeks ago. Peeling back some bark on a fallen ash tree tree I found what appears to be a female rhinoceros beetle taking advantage of the decaying timber. A nearby cherry laurel in full sunlight supported a very confiding barred ant-hill hoverfly.

The rest of the walk produced a pair of reed bunting and a common lizard basking on the recycled plastic boardwalk of this part of the national cycleway route.

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