March Snipe flush count

On Monday 6th, we carried out the last Snipe flush count of the season. Luckily the rain stopped as we started and we found 1 Snipe in Hay Meadow and 7  were flushed from School Pond with 2 Jack Snipe. In Big Meadow we counted 65 Snipe and 15 Jack Snipe. So a total count of 90, the highest count this winter.

We also saw 3 Woodcock that flew up from Upper Sowerholme, and a total of 16 Teal using the ponds in the reserve.

Clio Graham

February Snipe flush count

This month’s Snipe flush count was carried out on Monday 6th, on a cold but sunny morning. We counted 56 Snipe and 12 Jack Snipe in Big Meadow, and 4 Snipe and 1 Jack Snipe around School Pond, so a total count of 73.

We also spotted a Woodcock and a Heron in Upper Sowerholme, and a female Sparrowhawk, that came through the reserve, flying low over Big Meadow.

Clio Graham


January Snipe Flush Count

The Flush team carried out the January Snipe flush count on Monday 9th in reasonable weather, after the recent downpours. We were joined by Colin McShane, as seen on Winterwatch. He is doing a long-term study of Jack Snipe and was impressed by the numbers found in Big Meadow, and has deemed it to be an important site for these birds.                                                              This winter there have been slightly lower numbers of Common Snipe, probably due to the mild conditions across Scandinavia and Northern Europe. We counted 20 Jack Snipe and 37 Common Snipe, all in Big Meadow except for 1 Jack Snipe in School Pond, so a total of 57.

December Snipe Flush Count

Today’s flush count was carried out in good conditions, with some welcome sun at times. Two Snipe came up from School Pond, and then 33 Common Snipe and 24 Jack Snipe were flushed from the rushy areas of Big Meadow, giving a total of 59 for the two species.

A Woodcock was also spotted flying up from Upper Sowerholme with six Mallard, and 4 Teal were seen on School Pond.

November Flush Count

The first Snipe flush count was carried out on Monday. This autumn the weather has been very mild and relatively dry, so birds could be later arriving in Britain from eastern Europe. Resident Common Snipe in Britain are joined by birds from Scandinavia, Iceland and mainland Europe. Jack Snipe don’t breed here but overwinter here after breeding in northern Europe and Russia. The overall count was 42 birds (including 15 Jack Snipe) mostly in Big Meadow with 6 in School Pond where the conditions have improved from last year.

Clio Graham



Ichneumon Wasp

This species of ichneumon wasp (Gasteruption jaculator) was seen on the reserve yesterday. They use their long ovipositor to insert their eggs into a bee’s nest. When the wasp’s eggs hatch the grubs eat the grubs of the bee..



Fairfield Chaffinches and Bramblings. Their comings and goings.

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.