Monthly Archives: April 2017

Bird Walk on Wed 5 April

Yesterday, I hosted a U3A Half-Day Birding walk around Fairfield which was attended by 16 members. On the way to meet them on the end of Sunnyside Lane, I saw a Jay above the gun range and a sparrow hawk overhead.

Among the more interesting birds we saw were 1 swallow (West Field), a pair of reed bunting (picture of male, near Alder pond), 2 linnet (oak on long pads path), 2 grey partridge (arable field), willow warblers, blackcaps and chiffchaffs (Orchard, some seen, all heard), 2 greenfinch, a goldfinch

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and a mistle thrush (above paddock) and finally a nuthatch, goldcrest and great spotted woodpecker (the last 2 heard) back near Sunnyside Lane.

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Oh, and a wren and a dunnock.dscn4854

We also saw a peacock butterfly and a tortoiseshell.

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Volunteer session Saturday 8th April

Here is Jonathan’s message

Greetings All,

We have a number of points of order to work through in this email and here
they are…

First, there’ll be a volunteer session at Fairfield Orchard, Fauna and
Flora this Saturday, April 8th, starting at 10.00am and finishing in the
vicinity of 1.00pm.
Here are some things that need to be done.

* Tackling invasive bramble in Upper Sowerholme (This is definitely a
wellington job but offers the opportunity to see our wildest area beyond
the willows in the Hay Meadow).
* Again a wellington job – pulling invasive grass from Alder Pond.
* Installing the nose pump in West Field.
* Oiling and servicing all our padlocks.
* Removing trip hazard protruding stones in Orchard and along Fauna path
(request from member of public after someone fell over).
* Replacing the removed stump in the Orchard.
* Clearing sycamore saplings from shed roof.
* Trimming or strimming around the shed fence.
* Clearing grass and competing vegetation around hedge saplings in the
Pads/Big Meadow hedge.
* Flattening out tractor ruts in Big Meadow.

Second, the Ragwort Working Party will begin this season’s work on
Wednesday, April 12th, meeting at 9.30 at the shed and working until about
1.00pm. The intention is to meet every Wednesday morning through the early
summer to really get on top of the ragwort. Please bring your own
refreshments.

Third, we still have two places left on the free scything course. This
will be held on the 17th and 18th June.
If you wish to join then let Ian know on sysaf123-volunteer@yahoo.co.uk or
07811 970 595.
We are using scythes increasingly to control thistles and the ever
spreading rushes so we need to expand volunteers with this skill.

Fourth, this is your advanced notice that the first of our summer evening
volunteer sessions will be on Wednesday April 26th from 6.30pm, meeting at
the shed.

And finally, a reminder that we need volunteers for setting up (from 12
noon) and taking down (from 4.15pm) the marquees for the Easter Egg Hunt
on Easter Monday 17th April. If you can help then let Tony Finn know on
ajea.finn@tiscali.co.uk.

Best wishes,
Jonathan.

Final flush count for this winter

Lovely bright, warm morning for our last outing of the 2016/17 season. A total of 17 snipe still in the marshes (similar to this time last year). 1 in the Hay Meadow, 6 in Upper Sowerholme and 10 in Big Meadow. Somewhat surprisingly, there were no snipe flushed in School Pond. Perhaps being deterred by too much standing water  – the numbers were down last month when it was also very wet.

For the season as a whole, the total number of snipe counted was almost identical to last season (390 versus 393). But the distribution over the months was different. Last winter’s peak was in March. This winter’s peak was in December, following a strong November tally.

A frog was spotted close to Lucy’s Pool. Reed bunting and meadow pipit were in evidence in Big Meadow. And after the group had split up, Graham disturbed a brown hare at the north end of the Big Meadow marsh as he made his way home.