On display this evening

Highlights of a brief walk around the reserve boundaries this evening were:

  • a lapwing enjoying the muddy area in Flora Field that has been created by the leak from the damaged water pipe
  • a hare on the west side of Flora Field about 20 metres from the Long Pads path
  • a cluster of starlings in the old alder tree in Big Meadow
  • a goldfinch singing in a tree by the footpath bend near School Pond


Lapwing over Flora Field

A lapwing was swooping and diving over Flora Field between 4 and 4.30 this afternoon. It occasionally landed and then was off again. I first observed it whilst walking on the Pads footpath and it was still in evidence as I walked back along the canal.

Wildlife today

Whist working in the Reserves today we have observed three roe deer (this morning in Upper and Lower Sowerholme, this afternoon as brazen as you like in the middle of the Flora Field); a heron stood in the middle of the School Pond; two song thrush in the hedge alongside Lucy Brook; four lapwings calling over the Flora Field; two partridges set up from the Flora Field.


Posting on behalf of Graham. In addition to the lapwings, he noticed a pair of shelduck in Flora Field this morning. They seemed quite interested in one of the grass fallow strips. He wonders whether they might have been looking for a nest site?

Nests and birds

Whilst hedge laying yesterday in the east hedge of West Field we came upon our first birds’ nests in over 150 metres of laying – and three of them!

Photos below.

We also saw an oystercatcher take off from the field and a flock of lapwings circling the field – I guesstimate 40 or so


Flowers in West Field

I was in the West Field this morning having a look at the hedge we laid and ‘gapped up’ this winter. Things seem to be coming along fine. It is noticeable just how few flowers there are in the previously heavily fertilised field, unable to compete with the grass. However, it was nice to see a few bluebells coming up in the hedge bottom and toward the northern end of the field there are quite a few cuckoo flowers as well as lots of the inevitable chickweed. I did notice a little common vetch and common mouse ear as well.

Lapwings again in the Flora Field and that very noisy woodpecker in the Wood.

Early evening stroll

Whilst it was still bright and sunny, we wandered round the boundaries of the nature reserve early yesterday evening. The woodpecker in Pony Wood was going at it hammer and tongs, the sound carrying far across the fields. After hearing from Jon Carter about the decline in recent years of greenfinch numbers because of a virus, Paul was delighted to see a couple as we paused on the Long Pads path. They were perched briefly on a wire fence at the boundary between Flora Field (new name for the arable) and Lower Sowerholme (formerly known as Gleesons field). But we couldn’t spot the grey partridge in West Field, and were starting to think that the lapwings had moved on. Just as we were about to get to the end of the reserve by the Aldcliffe Road houses, we heard a brief call: two displaying together over the ridge of Flora Field. One promptly landed at the top of the field, silhouetted against the skyline, distinctive crest showing clearly. Magical.


A walk around Fauna and Flora today revealed the following flowers which I don’t believe have been reported this year

  • Ransomes in the Orchard and by the big ash tree on the Fauna path
  • Dusky crane’s bill in the Orchard
  • Forget-me-not in the Orchard
  • Green alkanet in the Orchard
  • Common comfrey in the Pads / Big Meadow hedgeline
  • Common vetch along the Long Pads
  • Common plantain in the Hay Meadow
  • Nice display of bluebells in Little Wood

As well as this, lapwings seen and heard around the ploughed field for the third consecutive day and a particularly noisy woodpecker at work in Pony Wood


At least two lapwings soaring and swooping over the ploughed fields this afternoon. In amongst the gulls and crows but the distinctive ‘pewit’ was definitely there