Later in the day, I dusted off my reference book to find that my two options were Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) and a Small Red Damselfly (Ceriagrion tenellum). Large Red: Black legs (check), black pterostigma (check), broad antehumeral stripes, black markings on abdomen (check), yellow antehumeral region belongs to a female (check). For comparison the Small Red Damselfly has red legs (nope), lacks black markings on abdomen (nope), red pterostigma (nope), its antehumeral stripes narrow or absent. To top it off the Large Red is often first to be seen in spring. So I'm pretty confident that its a female Large Red Damselfly. It was seen near here on a path edge with lush vegetation between Piper Marsh and West Scrape.
Throughout the reserve, lots of warblers, with the trees in leaf it was difficult to get a good look, plus I find them so tricksy to identify.
Walking down towards Willow Marsh we could hear birds, well hidden in the reedbeds. The hide offered a clearer view and we enjoyed two first sightings of Willow Tit and Sedge Warbler on the edge of the clearing to the side of the right hand channel. Reed Buntings and a Blue Tit accompanied them, darting acrobatically around the reeds. Unfortunately the pics I ended up with weren't great so here's a view from the hide instead.
Butterfly time! My first pic this year of a Green Veined White, one of 5 on the wing.
Speckled Wood, one of 6 on the wing, at rest amongst a luch clump of nettles.
The only time this year that Ive observed an Orange Tip settle for more than a second.
A tattered looking Peacock with damage to the right forewing and the eyespot region of the hindwing.
Walking back towards Loversall Field, I imagine that these ponds will be a haven for dragonflies and damselflies in the coming months.
Positively glowing in a pond margin, a colourful clump of Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris).
Red Campion (Silene dioica) a perennial with flowers of five delicate pink petals, the leaves and stems are slightly hairy and the male and female flowers are borned on seperate plants. UK Safari: "You can distinguish them by looking at the base of the flowers. The females have a swelling which will later form a seed cup. The male flowers have a slimmer base." I must remember to look out for this next time come across the plant.