Last Sunday, we managed to drag ourselves away from the garden and allotment to venture into the world outside. Our chosen destination was an RSBP reserve just North of Birmingham, bordering with Staffordshire: Middleton Lakes. As luck would have it, it turned out to be a fine day; the previous day was pretty stormy, but it bought a bit of warm air with it. By the time the stormy weather had blown itself out overnight, we were left with some much warmer weather than we’d been having previously. Hopefully we’ve seen the back of those cold nights!
Middleton Lakes consists of (to simplify it slightly) a strip of woodland, surrounded farmland and meadowland, that leads up to the Birmingham and Fazeley canal. Crossing over the canal brings you to a series of flooded gravel pits that make up the main area of the reserve. There is obviously plenty to see from an ornithological point of view, but here I’m just going to show a few botanical highlights that caught my eye.
There’s a damp meadow next to the carpark. It’s a bit early in the year for most of the plants there, but the Red Campion was doing well.
In the woodland area there were large patches of wild garlic, which made an awful smell, but a pretty picture!
The sides of the path in the woodland were prolifically lined with Greater Stitchwort. It’s a subtle sort of thing: the leaves look almost exactly like grass, but the flowers bring a splash of brightness to the understory.
At the opposite end of the subtlety scale is Gorse. There were some sizeable stands of this in more open areas by the flooded gravel pits.
Odds and Ends
Last years Teasel flowerheads were still standing, despite the exposed location:
Instructions to stay out of the field were ignored:
The best finds are always in the carpark:
All in all, a rather jolly day out!