There was a fine drizzle as the 4 of us met at Raw Nook Nature Reserve. Fortunately this did not last for long and by the time we had located our first group of scarlet elf cups, it had stopped. We had been informed by Martyn Priestley, who sadly was not able to join us, to look for these off the main path and they were there in abundance giving a wonderful splash of colour on a dull day. In fact our walk could be called the scarlet elf cup walk as they seemed to be everywhere! No sign of frogspawn as yet on the pond. Probably still too early but worth a look nonetheless. The catkins on the hazel looked glorious and there was evidence of female flowers as well. Birdsong followed us as we strolled with blue and great tits noted as well as blackbirds rooting in the undergrowth.
Toad Hole was our next port of call and on the rather large pond as we entered the site, mallard and coot were seen. It was very muddy underfoot so we were selective in our choice of path which fortuitously brought us past a rather splendid collection of what we hoped we correctly identified as jelly ear. A heron was seen flying overhead as well as a small skein of Canada geese and again there was plenty evidence of bird activity. A group of starlings was observed in the treetops in addition to some collared doves and wood pigeons. Our path then lead us towards Woodlands Cricket Club where we had our lunch courtesy of Stuart's hospitality. Mistle thrushes were seen on the pitch as we were eating our sandwiches and a large flock of gulls flew overhead.
Our lunch complete, Jean P and Marje left for home whilst Stuart and myself headed up to Low Moor Banks, entering from the Dealburn Road entrance. A circuit of the site was undertaken eventually exiting on the greenway. We noted the extensive number of young alder and remarked on how attractive the buds looked at this time of year with their gentle purple hue. A number of larch trees caught our eye and there was evidence in the leaf litter of some large oak leaves but we were unable to establish the whereabouts of the tree.
An interesting day, strolling through a variety of different habitats, in what is essentially still very much an industrial area. Thanks must go once again to Stuart for allowing us the use of the clubhouse.