Shell duck

Six shell duck observed over the Reserve yesterday. I think they took off from the West Field pond. They then made a big sweeping circle around the Reserve. Then off toward the estuary.

Also sparrowhawk perched on a dead tree between Upper and Lower Sowerholme.

Birds eggs

The volunteers this morning discovered this bird’s nest and the shells of nine eggs, all hatched safely we hope. The nest was tucked into the new hedge in Pony Wood, you can see the bottom of the wire fence. The eggs are about half the size of a modest hen’s egg.


Can anyone identify?

Ian has a section of egg shell if that will help.

Wildlife from the Wednesday Work Group

Swallows were swooping over the Wednesday Work Group as we worked to clear algae from the Alder Pond in Big Meadow. We were careful not to go near the moorhen’s nest and found this newt.


As we were packing up, a mother mallard emerged from the marsh with her chicks, we think eight, and led them on to the  water, clearly appreciating our clearance.




Two pairs of goosander on the School Pond this lunchtime.

Yesterday another sighting of a hare in Big Meadow and long tailed tit in the Orchard

Flora Field


The field by the Long Pads looked lovely in the sun on Friday, with the bird seed mix – mustard, folder radish and phacelia in full bloom and corn marigold, corn chamomile, cornflowers and poppies mixed in with the crop . Clouds of white ( mainly green veined white) butterflies with meadow browns, and further round a peacock and a gatekeeper. At the top of the hill by Pony Wood we startled a female roe deer hiding in the wheat. A second ( possibly the juvenile) at first tried to hide – we could see the top of its head – then decided to bound off as well. A truly magical afternoon.



Little owl???

Whilst on a walk along the Pads footpath this afternoon one of the regular dog walkers reported to me he had just seen (1.30pm) a small owl with vole like creature in its beak flying from Pony / Little wood area across to the small copse in Mr Ayrton’s fields.

As this was a diurnal sighting of a small owl we thought it highly likely to be a little owl.

The same man observed two roe deer last week crossing West Field, jumping over the Pads footpath and disappearing across the Flora field. He has a video of the first section.

I encouraged him to join the blog.

Solitary bees

We met a young couple on the Pads footpath today taking a close interest in the bank to the side of the path. We stopped for a chat and the young man was an entomologist studying for his PhD researching solitary bees. Apparently there are over two hundred species and most of the apple blossom pollinating in the Orchard is done by such creatures rather than the honey bees we assume do the work. They had been inspecting some bees nests in the bank and lo and behold a bee was at work apparently spring cleaning his / her nest.

I also spotted a brown hare yesterday in the field adjacent to West Field.