Here we go again….

The first flush count of the winter this morning put up a total of 22 snipe, all common. All bar one (Hay Meadow) were in Big Meadow. A reasonable tally for this point in the season. The marshes are very dry, the recent rains clearly still replenishing the water table after the summer’s drought. Other notable sightings: two dunnock flying along the Upper/Lower Sowerholme boundary and a jay in Pony Wood. And something unidentified rustling amidst the phragmites which are now quite dense in parts of Upper Sowerholme.

A disappointing tally

Given the strength of snipe numbers so far this season, we were expecting a busy time this morning. But the outcome – a total of 37 including 2 probable Jacks – was considerably lower then in 2014 and 2015, albeit only i less than last year. The relatively mild conditions perhaps? Split was 13 in Hay Meadow , 2 Upper Sowerholme, 13 School Pond and 9 Big Meadow. There were 4 teal in West Field. Three teal took off from School Pond and were later seen flying away from Alder Pond. Two jays were in the  Carr House Meadow/Gun Range hedgerow, and a heron was spotted flitting around the reserve. There was a lot of evidence of small mammals (voles?) feasting on the soft rush..

Heron and jays

I saw a heron in the middle of the Grammar School field today. I have seen it there before quietly preening itself. Perhaps to get away from all the ducks on the canal.

Two jays in the Orchard.

Oh, and a lunatic youth riding a motor bike at full pelt along the Fauna path. I shouted at him but received a mouthful of abuse in return.

October flush count

Our first foray of the winter through the marshes this morning raised a total of 7 snipe: one in each of the Hay Meadow, School Pond and Flora Field, and a further four in Big Meadow. Small numbers, but still more than the past two years at this early part of the season. Extra sightings were a jay in the Hay Meadow, a kestrel over Lower Sowerholme and a wren in Upper Sowerholme.

Bird activity

As well as the usual garden birds around the shed and Orchard this morning there were

* a jay in the trees above the shed

* two song thrushes in the Paddock

* three teal (2 m and 1 f) joining a couple of mallards in Alder Pond

* a woodpecker very noisily at work in Pony Wood

Teal and ?

At least eight teal on School Pond yesterday morning (27th), then in the afternoon as well as teal scuttling among the rush was a bigger bird, bigger than a mallard I thin, on the water preening itself. Could this be the sheller Jon mentioned? Too dark and murky to make a good identification.

Jay in Sunnyside Lane


Whilst in the West Field this morning we found a group of feathers, the remains of a bird kill. We didn’t recognize them but include a photo here in case the remains indicate a significant species.

Can anyone help?20141119_162120


For scale, the background is a piece of A4 paper.

Jay in Orchard yesterday.


I was in the Flora Field yesterday checking the clearing of the wild flower margin when I disturbed three partridge. I am pretty sure I glimpsed red legs – but aren’t ‘ours’ grey partridge?????

Pheasant in the Flora Field this morning whilst we hedge laid in the West Field.

Jay in the Orchard yesterday


Entomologists might inspect the post and board fence and gate posts around the Shed where we have a whole cluster of ladybirds. They appear (to the completely ignorant eye) to be of different types as they have a variable numbers of spots. They also appear (ditto) to be hibernating as they are inert but clearly not dead. Yet they seem very exposed to the elements.

A jay in the Orchard the other day and a pheasant in the Flora Field recently.