Volunteering Wednesday evening 30th April

Here is Jonathan’s message

Greetings All,

Great joy! The first of our summer evening volunteer sessions will take place on Wednesday April 30th, starting at 6.30pm.
We’ll meet, as always, at the Storage Building.
Those with hectic lives, jobs, family responsibilities or an aversion to getting out of bed before 6.30pm are more than welcome to come along a little later if that is more convenient.

Our list of jobs includes:

* Mow the grass
* Explore the drainage problem in the Flora West field (at least one fairly deep hole required)
* Sowing bee friendly seed at various places around the reserve
* Scythe and / or strim the area between the Orchard path and the newly laid Pads hedge
* Finish clearing brambles enveloping hedge saplings between the Fauna path and the Grammar School field
* Position logs in Pony Wood for use as seating
* Stake the larger saplings planted in Pony Wood and the Extension
* Make further adjustments to the pedestrian gate at the ‘treble gates’ to improve its working
* Repair the broken rail at the cattle crossing
* Retrieve further redundant spirals and canes from the Pads footpath

Also worth mentioning is that the gate to both the Paddock and the ex-Gleeson’s field will be open on the evening for wood collection.

If you’re relatively new to the Fairfield volunteering cause and enjoy a sociable tipple, you may be pleased to hear it’s the custom to head off for a post-match drink after our summer evening sessions. We tend to go to the Merchants, although other pubs are available.
So if that sounds like your kind of thing, bring a little pocket money and a check with your mum that it’s ok to stay out a bit late on a school night.

Best wishes,



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


Along with a host of jackdaws, there were about 15 starlings in the Gleesons field this afternoon. We haven’t had many blogs about starlings, possibly because they tend to get dismissed as a common bird. Yet they are on the red list and one of Natural England’s ‘feature’ species for the natural reserve, along with lapwing, tree sparrow, grey partridge, snipe and brown hare. So please post if you see them in Flora, Fauna or the Orchard. On the grey partridge front, there were two birds again in the West field on the edge of the scrape. Showing well, once you get your eye in.


A request from Philip for help in confirming a sighting he had yesterday. Having consulted various books he’s fairly sure that he saw a pair of Smew ducks yesterday opposite his house in the Flora fields. He described the markings in some detail (snow white plumage, with pencil-line markings in Y-shape). They were touching beaks, so he thought they might be a mating pair.

He and his wife have also recently observed:

  • Heron paddling in Alder Pond (24th April) and one flying over ex-Gleesons Field (26th April)
  • 5 lapwings (26th April, Flora)
  • A hare (ex-Gleesons Field, 18th April)

Any help appreciated.

West Field hares

Message from Graham: I went into the West field today (25th) to get some of the dead elder and disturbed two brown hares – who were cohabiting the same depression in the grass, so fingers crossed……

Wheatears etc.

Birds at FLORA this morning included 6 Wheatears (5 males-one pictured) on the wheat field. Some of them showed characteristics of the Greenland / Iceland race Oenanthe oenanthe leucorhoa.

Also here were two Oystercatchers and a Stock Dove.  North-east bound visible migration over FAUNA included 2 Lesser Redpolls, a Siskin and 6 Sand Martins.

Butterflies comprised Orange Tip (5) Speckled Wood (4) Large White (1) Green-veined White (1) Peacock (2) and Small Tortoiseshell (4).


Flora flowers

I guess we ought to resume reporting of wildflowers observed in Flora. So far:

* Under the Long Pads hedge: great stitchwort, red campion, jack-in-the-hedge, cow parsley, bluebell

* Alongside Lucy Brook: cuckooflower

And in the Orchard, besides the obvious we have / had wood anemone and marsh marigold


Spotted on the edge of the Long Pads path, just north of the concrete wall. I shifted it into the hedge on the West Field side to keep it out of harm’s way. Probably a good job as a man on a mobility scooter came past shortly afterwards.



Tree Bumblebees

Hi everyone 🙂

I was wondering if anyone has seen any Tree Bumblebees (Bombus hypnorum) on the reserve? They’re pretty easy to identify, big black bumblebees with a blob of orange fluff on their backs and white bums!


If anyone has, or does see one, could you please give me a shout on here 🙂 I’m hoping to study them for my dissertation and desperately need to locate a nest in/around Lancaster.

Thanks 🙂10-03-bombus-hypnorum-annel