Fraser reported seeing 2 hare in West Field today and friends had seen two going away from West Field over the Drumlin a few days ago. Also we spotted a large and smaller hare ( a young one?) in the maize field by the cycle track this morning. I don’t know the extent of their territory.
This morning (approx 6am) two roe deer emerged from the bottom of Pony Wood, crossed the farm track and ran up through the field towards Aldcliffe. Haven’t seen deer there for months. Also 8 shelducks in West Field and a hare in Flora Field
Over the past few days we have seen meadow pipits, mistle thrush and one hare in Flora Field and 5 or 6 oyster catchers in West Field.
Seeing a song thrush in Big Meadow this afternoon reminded me that on Tuesday morning we saw a song thrush in Carr House Meadow and a shell duck on West Field water
During a walk around Fairfield yesterday afternoon we saw two curlews, first in Big Meadow and then in Lower Sowerholme.
We saw a group of about 8 redwing on the trees behind the Fauna stones today. A heron was stalking in Big Meadow and there were a couple of fly-overs by a peregrine.
While walking around the Reserve today we spotted this stonechat in Flora Field. West Field scrape was extensively flooded with the rain we have had and there were many Black-headed, Herring and Lesser Black-backed gulls present. Further round there were a couple of mistle thrush in Big Meadow.
Yesterday’s flush count was most satisfying: the second highest monthly number of snipe since the counts started in January 2013 and a new record for Big Meadow. A slow start with 3 in the Hay Meadow and 6 in School Pond, where the whole area was awash. But in Big Meadow, they were flying up in groups. 110 counted, eleven of them jacks. Add in the one seen earlier by Graham on his walk-through in Lower Sowerholme gives a total of 120. Now well ahead of the measly score for the whole of last winter.
Snipe were not the only highlight. Meadow pipit were seen in Big Meadow and School Pond, where a scurrying vole was almost trod on. We also saw the curlew spotted by Christine. It was feeding in the southern end of Big Meadow and then moved to the Willow Pond area of Lower Sowerholme. A male peregrine flew westwards over Big Meadow.
On the more grizzly side, but evidence of wildlife presence, there was a mallard skull in Big Meadow, a skinned hedgehog in School Pond and some dried out frog spawn on the grass in the Hay Meadow.
Finally an encouraging flush count! In fact, the highest January total of snipe since the winter of 2014/15. 59 birds flushed including 5 jack snipe. Breakdown was 39 in Big Meadow, 7 in School Pond, 8 in the Hay Meadow, 4 in Upper Sowerholme plus one by the ponds in Flora Field. In addition, the first woodcock of the season was spotted in Upper Sowerholme.
There was a heron in Upper Sowerholme, probably the same one Graham had seen earlier in the Flora ponds and then in Willow Pond (Lower Sowerholme). Likewise the 6 teal seen in Upper Sowerholme and the 4 flying over Big Meadow were probably part of the group of 11 Graham had disturbed on Willow Pond. Also noted were a meadow pipit and a wren in Big Meadow and 4 female pheasants in Flora Field.
As the Saturday volunteer group were working along the Long Pads footpath a large flock of linnets were alternating between Flora Field and West Field. Well over a hundred I would say.