Had a fantastic morning at Parc Slip nature reserve yesterday. Actually found it this time, thanks to my fabby friend driving instead of me. The weather was ideal – dry, warm, with hazy sunshine. No need for coats, but a definite need for wellies. Despite the sun, the ground was boggy – perfect habitat for Devil’s bit Scabious, water mint, and sneezewort (Had to tweet for an ID on that one). Other plants had already finished flowering, and I’m not much cop at identifying seed heads, so will have to go back next spring to see what other beauties might be hidden there.
Wildlife officer Rose led the ramble. She was not only extremely knowledgeable, but also great company.
The first reptile we spotted was an adder. By the time my fumbling fingers had opened my camera, it had long gone, of course. Still, I was childishly excited – as in squeaking and waving arms about – aargh! Embarrassing when you notice no one else is doing it – not even the children. Next were some common lizards. Now, they may well be common, but I’d never seen one before. Managed to stifle the squeak, and actually got a shot or two. This one’s a female, apparently. Her belly is flattened in order to absorb as much of the sunshine as possible.
We spotted several more lizards. Some scooted away, but several were happy to pose and have their picture taken. Grass snakes were too fast for my camera, but oh what superb, elegant creatures they are.
The slow worm below had its head covered by a leaf, so don’t think it realised we could see it. Like a child covering their eyes. So sweet!
Someone noticed a a tiny toad (absolutely gorgeous), but my camera would not focus on it). Got a dark blurry blob on a background of perfectly in-focus grass. Hmm . . .
Along with the snakes, lizards and toads, we saw common blue butterflies, dragonflies, bees, spiders – soundtrack provided by a large group of chattering swallows. Altogether, it was my idea of heaven, but the absolute highlight had to be the Great crested newts.
Feel so privileged to have seen these wonderful, endangered amphibians, something I’ll never forget.
Huge thanks to WildlifeTrustSWWales and especially Rose, for a memorable day.