Flowers in the Stubble

On our routine monthly inspection yesterday we (Oliver and Glenys) found quite a number of flourishing plants among the Flora Fields stubble, which had been sown in the arable crop last spring. Some flowers were visible in July when the crop was high, but they seem to have been given a new lease of life by the crop removal at harvest time. They are fairly clearly visible from the footpaths, in two strips paralleling respectively the Canal boundary and the Long Pads boundary. We identified Corn Marigold and Cornflower quite easily but were unsure of the other two – possibly varieties of Chamomile? Can anyone identify these (apologies for photo quality!) ?


IMG_0974 IMG_0980


IMG_0973 IMG_0972

Autumn Arrivals ?

We were watching a group of chaffinch in the stubble and the neighbouring hawthorn and spotted what may have been a linnet amongst them. Also in the stubble three large thrush – we thought Fieldfare but there don’t appear to have been any sightings yet so perhaps Mistle Thrush. Certainly worth looking out for the winter visitors now.

Autumn birds

2 crossbills flew over FAUNA at 8.40 this morning, heading west.

There were also a few redwing whizzing around (my first on the reserve this autumn) – 4 small groups, totaling approximately 40 birds.

A few teal have been using School Pond to roost and feed while snipe are best seen early in the morning and again at dusk.

The local sparrowhawks have been putting in regular appearances with sightings almost every time I walk through.

Common Toad

Here are photos of what we think is a common toad, found in West Field by Ken and Richard at last Saturday’s volunteering. If there are any toad experts out there who can confirm or correct, please do so.

20161008_104153 20161008_104204 20161008_104151 20161008_104142


Volunteering session Saturday 8th October

Here is Jonathan’s message

Greetings All,

Two items for your attention on the Fairfield Orchard, Fauna and Flora
volunteering front.

First, there’ll be a volunteer session this Saturday, October 8th,
starting at 10.00am and finishing around about 1.00pm.

On the agenda for this time…
* A short review of emergency procedures and appeal for new first aiders.
* Retrieve the nose pump from the West Field.
* Retrieve the signs from the apple trees.
* Continue to weed the wildflower bed.
* Further work removing bramble from along the Fauna path.
* Further work cutting back the bramble in Carr House Meadow.
* Cut back self seeded saplings in the Orchard.
* Trim back overhanging bramble and nettle along the green paths in the
* Re-instate orienteering post number 5.
* Remove ivy from two of our trees as recommended by our tree surgeon.
* Cut back and dig out the blackthorn encroaching on the pear trees near
the middle entrance of the Orchard.

Second, please be aware that the Hedge Working Party will resume its work
on Wednesday 26th October meeting at the shed at 9.30 and working through
the morning.
Anyone with an interest in hedge laying and hedge maintenance is welcome.
Note that we supply tools and suitable gloves but the work involves
dealing with thorny problems (literally) so tough outdoor clothing is
needed. Please bring your own mid-morning refreshment.

And that’s about your lot for now.

Best wishes,

A promising start

In previous years, the first flush count of the winter has netted fewer than 10 snipe.  This morning we recorded 23! There was one in the Hay Meadow and four in School Pond,. The remaining 18 were noted in Big Meadow. Interestingly, all bar one of these flew up from the northern part of the marsh, where the rushes are young and green following the recent management.  (This is where Ian N. took the snipe photograph he posted a few days ago.) Not many other notable birds around, although a meadow pipit took off from the northern end of Big Meadow marsh. On a lovely sunny and deceptively warm day, the Hay Meadow marsh was busy with insects. A Comma butterfly was spotted in Upper Sowerholme and a Red Admiral by School Pond.