Sunday 19 May 2024

Ballachurry Reserve: Thursday, 16th May, 2024.

A sunny May morning at Ballachurry Reserve

   I arrived at the Reserve at 9.15 on a bright and sunny morning. No rain was forecast until evening so I was surprised by a shower at 11 o'clock which lasted a full half hour! This I sat out in the bird hide, watching the 2 Moorhens on the water. When the rain stopped  I was able to do another circuit before lunch. Here is what I recorded:


SC209693 Willow Warbler; 2 x Sedge Warblers together; Great Tit heard not seen; Blue Tit; male Chaffinch.

SC209694 ( Hide) 2 x Moorhen; Woodpigeon; Willow Warbler heard not seen; Chaffinch heard not seen; Magpie.

SC209694 ( elsewhere) Blackcap heard not seen; male Blackbird; 2 x Goldfinch on path; Woodpigeon; Mallard drake flying over; 8 x Goldfinches flying over; Robin; Willow Warbler; Song Thrush heard not seen; Blue Tit.

SC208694  2 x Blackbird; Long-tailed Tit; Wren; Willow Warbler; male Chaffinch; Blackcap heard not seen; Robin; Great Tit; Sedge Warbler heard not seen; Magpie; Robin.

SC208695 female Chaffinch; Blackcap heard not seen; Woodpigeon flying over; Goldfinch.

SC209695 Blue Tit feeding fledgling; Chaffinch heard not seen; Pheasant heard not seen; Great Tit.

Butterflies & Moths:

SC209694 male Orange Tip butterfly seen near water from hide;  2 x Green Veined White in territorial dispute; Silver Y moth; Orange Tip eggs on Cuckoo Flowers.

SC208694 Speckled Wood; male and female Orange Tip. Small White.

SC209695 Green Veined White.

SC210694 male Orange Tip.


SC210694 Oulema species beetle and unidentified ants on Garlic Mustard.

SC209693  Bird Cherry Ermine Moth larval  webs on Bird Cherry trees.

SC209695 Hawthorn Shieldbug.

SC209694 Hairy Shieldbug in dandelion clock.

 SC209694 Hibernating snail still in bird hide.

SC210694 Yellow Dung Fly; Hairy Shieldbug.

SC209695 Carder Bee; Crane Fly.

SC209694 Carder Bee

SC209693 Yellow Dung Fly on Rowan blossom

SC209695 Rhingia species Hoverfly on gorse

 SC209694 Plum Pocket Galls forming on Blackthorn

SC209694 Herb Robert, Plantains and White Clover on hide roof.

 SC208695 galls forming on oak leaves

Goldfinch foraging on ground


Blackbird near hide

male Blackbird on reserve boundary

Blue Tit


Robin near the Boardwalk

the same Robin singing

Moorhen among the reeds

the 2 Moorhens briefly together

Willow Warbler

Willow Warbler warbling

female Orange Tip

underwings of Orange Tips look like Q-R Codes!

Green Veined White ( green veins are on underwings)

Small White

Orange Tip egg on Cuckoo Flower

 2 eggs on this one, close together

Unfortunately, probably only one of the caterpillars from the above plant will survive. Orange Tip larvae are cannibalistic and will eat each other if they meet! 


Yellow Dung Fly and Hairy Shieldbug

Hairy Shieldbug inside dandelion clock

I saw this Hawthorn Shieldbug land on a leaf high above my head

Carder Bee

Carder Bee

Crane Fly

Oulema Beetle

Rhingia Hoverfly

orange body just about visible here

Yellow Dung Fly on Rowan blossom

 Garden Snail still hibernating!

Bird Cherry Ermine Moth larval webs

This Bird Cherry has a lot of moth damage

Pocket Plum Galls distorting Blackthorn sloes

the sloes will elongate and form no stone

Galls forming on Oak saplings
Still some Marsh marigolds flowering
Red Campion on the bank

Cuckoo Flowers in the meadow

Water Forget-me-Nots  seen from the hide
the Three Cornered Leeks have been removed from the roof  - phew!

through binoculars I could see Herb Robert...


and White Clover

this is where I encountered 2 Sedge Warblers

Oak Sapling doing well

Ashes doing less well - Ash Die-Back disease
the old beehives area

the path leading to the old beehive loop

usual view of the boardwalk

view from the boardwalk

the bridge across to the willow wood

the compost area

the view of the hide almost obscured by Hemlock Water Dropwort

the shutters had been left open

and graffiti left on the board

I had to wipe it clean to add my own sightings
looking left through the shutters

and right

there is a sea of Water Dropwort too

view from the ramp

looking towards the Private entrance

the grass had been cut again recently

the meadow

emerging from the old beehive loop

reed bed from the willows

Willow seed near the hide - blows about like "snow"

usual view of the hide

a timely warning about the stream- no longer visible!

the "pond" under the willows persists

stream? what stream?

a pretty corner

I've never consciously tried to participate in Mindfulness, which is supposed to be so good for our health. However, it struck me that when I am at Ballachurry I am totally focused on most of my senses - watching the wildlife, listening to the birdsong or the patter of raindrops on the hide roof, smelling the Hawthorn blossom and freshly cut grass, feeling the sun on my back and the breeze on my face and sometimes touching the plants etc. etc.   Taste is the one sense that is missing, but given the toxicity of many of the plants and fungi on the reserve it is safer not to indulge in that one!| 

I certainly felt better in mind and body for my morning at the reserve and can certainly  recommend visiting the countryside as a hobby!

 please click on photos to enlarge them