Running up to Easter

The children are off school, families are frazzled with what to do with them, so lots head for the coast & countryside to let them run off some energy.  After they've built a den in the woods, "cooked" something tasty (?) in the Mud Kitchen and tried not to fall in the pond whilst dipping for beasties, it's time for a more relaxed stroll around the wider reserve.  And there's a lot to see if you've got young, sharp eyes - things like this Beefly, resting briefly for a while

Hang over the boardwalk and stare long enough into the shallow water below and you might be rewarded with a Caddis Fly larvae trying to escape the protective home it has built from whatever scraps of vegetation it's found on the bottom

I've heard of an artist who keeps Caddis Fly larvae in a tank, the bottom of which is scattered with gold leaf and gemstones which the larvae picks up and spins into its home.  When the larvae eventually abandons the construction, the result is turned into jewelry. 

Sit quietly near any sunny spot and small rustling sounds eventually show themselves as Common Lizards, hurrying along in their never ending search for something tasty

Green Tiger Beetles also scurry around on the baked sand - this one being buzzed by a Nomad bee

If rarities are your thing however, this is the hottest thing on the reserve right now - a Yellow Shouldered Nomad Bee.  First ever sighting for Minsmere of this very rare bee was made this month by a visitor - showing you always need to keep your eyes peeled

It's not always easy keeping children interested in things small and buzzy however, but help is at hand only a few yards away - who can resist a baby Easter bunny?

and Jackdaws, ever helpful, will put on a bit of a dance to keep everyone entertained

Musical accompaniment is provided by the versatile Blackcap

But unfortunately the Marsh Tit couldn't join in, escape from the prospective nest hole was proving problematic!

Although eventually success was achieved

Back out over the reedbeds, a lonely Heron drifted past, immune to all the woodland goings-on

And the ever watchful Marsh Harrier, searching for gifts of food for his multiple ladies, hunted close to the hide as a prelude of the days to come

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