Working in Flora Field

The edge of the arable field that runs along the boundary with Lower Sowerholme is being managed as a floristically-enhanced grass margin. As required by Natural England, we are in the process of giving it the second cut of the year (to reduce the fertility and competition from less-desirable grasses) and are experimenting by doing it with scythes. Not an easy scything job, but about 30m achieved this morning and the top of hill is encouragingly closer. Whilst walking in to do the work, Paul disturbed a snipe in the stubble. Up near the brow of the hill. Taking an opportunity to keep its feet dry? Certainly very wet elsewhere: our work spot gave really good views of the extensive scrape that has developed in West Field.



Twenty linnets in the oak tree were part of a larger group of about 50 linnets on the Long Pads.


This single linnet was in the hawthorn illuminated by the late sun on Thursday 16th November.

Recent Bird Sightings

We haven’t walked round as often recently so in the reserve the only bird of note was a female Greenfinch at the edge of Little Wood. However, Little Owls have been reported recently on the Pony Wood side of the Long Pads. Also look out for Goosanders on the canal: 4 were spotted, 3 males and a female.

Dan Heywood’s Breeding Bird Survey will shortly be available on the website

Butterfly Survey

The butterfly survey will shortly be available on the website. Meanwhile here is Christine’s summary:

The workbook shows: Number of species, Monthly counts, Year comparison, Moths and also this year I’ve added any seen at Aldcliffe Triangle.

A few things to note.

1. I didn’t do so many counts this year compared to last. Time and weather against me.

2. The field margin that has been planted for winter seed for birds attracted a lot of white butterflies so there was a large increase in the Unidentified white category.

3. Big increase in Red Admirals which is in line with Big Butterfly count results this year.

4. Skipper sightings down.

I have reported all these results (minus any unidentified butterflies) to Laura Sivell, the butterfly recorder for Lancashire and Pete Marsh, the moth recorder for Lancashire.

Another monthly record

Second flush count of the winter and again we have set a record for snipe numbers when compared to previous years. November last year was itself significantly higher than previous Novembers, but this morning we trumped it by five, counting 85 snipe (5 of them Jacks) across the Fauna fields. The Hay Meadow started off yielding 5, then 3 in Upper Sowerholme, 28 in School Pond (2 Jack) and 47 in Big Meadow (3 Jack). The marshes are exceedingly wet, but it seems to be suiting the birds if not those trying to count them who found it very hard going. But no wellies were lost and no-one ended up stuck in the mud!

Volunteer session Saturday 11th November

Here is Jonathan’s message

Greetings All,

There’ll be a volunteer session at Fairfield Orchard, Fauna and Flora this
Saturday morning, November 11th, starting at 10.00am and finishing in the
vicinity of 1.00pm.
The meeting point, as ever, will be the toolshed on the footpath at the
Sunnyside Lane end of the orchard.

If you’re able to attend, here’s how you might find yourself passing the

* Completing the clearance of grass around the Oak Circle path.
* Clearing leaves from the shed area and the adjoining track.
* Lightly forking over the wildflower plot, removing grass and buttercups
and re-seeding.
* Cutting back sapling suckers in the Orchard.
* Cleaning the notice boards. They’ve become a bit icky.

If you find yourself at a loose end of a Wednesday morning, allow me to
remind you that’s when the Hedge Working Party meets. The start time time
is 9.30, week in, week out, meeting at the toolshed. Everybody is welcome.

And that’s all for this occasion,

Best wishes,