Walking across Flora Field (arable section) this morning during the volunteering session I flushed a large group of snipe (at least 6, probably 8-10) from the lower northern slope, towards Lower Sowerholme, and then a further 2 nearer Pony Wood. They must have been tucking into small creatures in the recently-spread manure. I was headed for the beetle banks and the water supply points, which needed marking with tape to alert the ploughing contractor, so I certainly didn’t cover the whole field. Maybe next season the flush count needs to include Flora Field as well as the wet areas, at least after the muck has been spread?
It was a very misty morning with low cloud and low visibility, but we heard geese passing over – greylag I think- and several curlews in the distance, down towards the estuary.
With the crop having been harvested, the field by Aldcliffe Road has become an all-you-can-eat buffet for birds. It seemed to be mostly pigeons with some gulls and rooks/crows (?) until a couple of days ago, but now the geese have discovered it. Are they greylag or pink-footed geese, please?
Part of the large flock of geese currently feeding on the hills adjacent to West Field actually crossed the boundary and explored West Field for a short time this afternoon. They do seem to regard the hedge as a rigid boundary (my own amateur theory is that the hills are heavily manured and thus have new grass shoots) but perhaps this little foray will lead to more extensive occupation.
Also yesterday I saw two song thrushes flying from the Pads footpath across Big Meadow to the hedgerow near Lucy Brook. I believe it’s some time since anyone has seen thrushes.
Two independent and reliable reports to me that the geese have at last ventured into the Nature Reserve, one report of geese in the Flora Field and one that they are in the West Field. Hurrah!!!!
The question which occurs to me now is what has been the pattern in the past? Have geese regularly used these fields before, or occasionally, or never?
Can our bird enthusiasts or longer serving observers of the countryside assist?
Whilst working on the east hedge of West Field today one of us noticed a shrew which conveniently retreated to a crevice between two stems where we could all take a look.
Lots of geese circling the hill to the west but they didn’t come over us. Not far away though!
Whilst ragwort spraying over the last few days we have seen a flock of geese giving Fauna the once over, a sparrowhawk and a heron.
Apart from the obvious (e.g. creeping buttercup) there are not many wild flowers to be found in the Big Meadow. I noticed Good King Henry and possibly Bugle alongside quite a lot of Speedwell.
And, of course, two new calves!
Yesterday morning I saw three geese circle the FAUNA fields three times and then land in the Big Meadow near the ash tree. It was too dull to tell whether they were Graylaggs or Canada but they seemed to take a very good look and then come down to investigate further.