A small but keen group met on a chilly damp morning on May 1st to take part. 18 species of invertebrates were identified in moth traps and in the Flora Ponds and 25 bird species. Highlights were – a red kite ( from Grizedale?) over Flora Field, 5 stock dove, a swallow, probably collecting mud from the Flora Ponds for a nest in the boat house opposite, whitethroat in Pony Wood, a jay making a very strange call in The Orchard, and a great diving beetle larva gobbling up smaller creatures in the plastic tray. For those of us unfamiliar with moths, the names “Hebrew character moth ” and “shuttle shaped dart” were fascinating in themselves.
Red Kite circling above Flora Field before heading north this morning.
Sunday 6th Feb, 11am, 2 grey partridge by long hedge (below drumlin) in West Field. Corroborated by woman who puts out bird food on Tuesday’s for LDBWA. At feeding tables 30+ chaffinch, few bramblings, very few reed buntings.
Birdwatchers at the feeding tables in Fairfield have been enjoying the spectacle of large numbers of Chaffinches, whilst trying to spot the small number of their close relative the Brambling.
Probably about half the Chaffinches will be migrants, mostly from Norway and Sweden. They migrate mainly by day but rather than heading directly to Britain they fly south-west to cross the Channel from France, Belgium, and The Netherlands. This avoids the longer crossing of water over the North Sea.
The Bramblings we see in Britain are almost entirely migrants, mainly from Scandinavia and Finland. Unlike the Chaffinch they migrate mainly at night and head directly for Britain, crossing the North Sea on a broad front.
The Bramblings and migrant Chaffinches will probably begin returning to their breeding grounds in early March.
There were at least 300 pink-footed geese drinking from the ponds in West Field this afternoon. Quite a sight!
There were 7 teal in Cromwell Pond this afternoon.
Multiple skeins of geese (someone will have recognised them by their calls but not me, sorry) flew south over the reserve this morning, and at 12.15 four buzzards were circling and calling over the allotments and no doubt making sure the Wednesday Work Group left on time and locked the gates properly.
A large flock of goldfinches were feeding on the thistles by the Aldcliffe Road ponds. Photo attached.
There was a family of treecreepers in Pony Wood yesterday.
Five large skipper butterflies in SE corner of Arable Field.