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What a difference a week makes. The weather is fantastic and yesterday we had a beautiful day at College Lake near Tring. This is an old quarry that is now managed by Beds, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust as a nature reserve. There are two lakes and a range of other habitats (woodland, grassland, open meadow, wildlife garden etc) in this lovely chalk downland.

For more information see BBOWT website http://www.bbowt.org.uk/

There are plenty of bird hides around the site with a charming one at ground level next to a shady pond with a frogs’ eye view of things. The new visitor centre has refreshments available at some times of day and great views over the reserve.

Yesterday we were looking at all aspects of wildlife, especially birds, and at the start of our walk we were treated to the sight of two hobbys in the cloudless sky. We also saw oystercatchers, redshanks, lapwings and a variety of gulls.

For me though, the real treat was the variety of wild flowers in the area providing nourishment for many beautiful butterflies. Unfortunately butterflies are not easy to identify or photograph but they included gatekeepers and marbled whites.

Here are some of the wild flowers we saw. I hope I have identified them correctly.

Greater Knapweed (Centaurea scabiosa)

Pyramidal orchids (Anacamptis pyramidalis)

Common Centaury (Centaurium minus)

Melilot (Melilotus officinalis)

Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)

Viper’s Bugloss (Echium vulgare)

Yellow-wort (Blackstonia perfoliata)