Monthly Archives: May 2017

Oystercatcher in Flora field


This oystercatcher was in the arable field this evening.dscn5105

A closer look at this bird shows the white chinstrap and darker tip of the bill, which , I think, suggest a non-breeding bird.

Anyone with more knowledge should please comment.


On a quick walk around the reserve, yesterday, it was pleasing to see at least 4 lapwings in FLORA field and even more pleasing to see two lapwings feeding in the mud at the edge of Grammar School pond later.

Volunteering Saturday 13th May

Here is Jonathan’s message

Greetings All,

There’ll be a volunteer session at Fairfield Orchard, Fauna and Flora this
Saturday morning, May 13th, commencing at 10.00am and continuing until
1.00pm, or thereabouts.
Your presence will always be welcome.

On the agenda for this time:

* Strengthen the bund around Alder Pond, making good some cow damage.
* Clear overgrowing vegetation around the soft fruit circle.
* If necessary, trim back along the Pads footpath to keep open for
* Check over saplings in Pony Wood and extension. Any which are dead make
a note of the species and mark the spot for replacement next winter.
* Plant woodland and meadow plants donated by Fiona Sturgess.
* Plant out purple ramping fumitory from Keith in the wildflower plot.
* Sow wildflower seed from Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust in the
wildflower plot.
* Cut back the trees growing by the road in Aldcliffe Road.
* Remove the self seeded willows growing adjacent to Flora Ponds.
* Remove the self seeded birch in Upper Sowerholme and the Hay Meadow wet
* Trim back around the shallow bank edges of ponds and scrapes to increase
wildlife access.
* Block the access near Lucy Brook where the cattle are getting in to the
* Move the fallen wall stones from the Towneley entrance to a secure

Meanwhile in scything news, we have just one place left on the Scything
Course to be held on June 17th and 18th. If you’re interested please
contact Ian on or phone him on 07811 970

And that’s about it for now,
Best wishes,

Orchard Bee-fly

In the Orchard area today (05.05.2017) and so many animals flying around now, despite being a windy day. Seeing several old favourites for the first time this year which is always a good feeling but the highlight must be seeing the Dark-edged Bee-fly here for the first time at Fairfield.

Fly of the Day – Bombylius major
One of 11 species that we have in the Bombyliidae family of flies and a fairly common one seen in a variety of habitats including gardens occasionally. It looks like a smallish chestnut bumblebee with a long proboscis which might look a bit like a stinger but this fly is totally harmless to humans. The proboscis is able to get the deep nectar from primroses, etc. It is looking to lay its eggs by the nests of solitary bees so that its larvae can attack them although it often doesn’t ‘lay’ but rather fires its eggs using rapid back and forth flying motions. The female has a special ‘sand chamber’ in which it can mix sand and dust with the eggs to give them more weight so that it can fire them more effectively! This photo was taken at the start of the orchard at the Sunnyside Lane end.


Birds to Look Out For

Dan Heywood reported some of the more interesting findings from his first ( of 3) breeding bird survey visits:

Passage migrant interest included a Whinchat and 4 Wheatears

Breeding interest included a singing Treecreeper and a pair of Grey Partridges. In the ‘possible breeder’ category were 3 singing Willow Warblers and a singing Sedge Warbler.