There was a very handsome male pheasant by the edge of Alder Pond around 4pm today. He was just on the other side of the Big Meadow hedge, busy feeding as he walked along the trod created by the cattle. Despite being so close, he wasn’t disturbed by my presence.
A very productive flush count in Fauna today, in marshes as wet as I think they have ever been. On his way over, Graham had already spotted two brown hares in Flora Field moving across to Pony Wood. The Hay Meadow yielded its first (solitary) snipe of the winter. Then from the back of Lucy’s Pool out flew a woodcock (an amber list bird). When we got into Upper Sowerholme proper, no less than six woodcock were seen, principally flying out of the scrub backing onto the Aldcliffe Road houses. In School Pond we disturbed 11 teal and 18 snipe. This is somewhat lower than expected. Jon thinks that, with the fresh water freezing over recent nights, some snipe may have have moved off to the estuary. It may also be explained by the fact that the water level is so high that quite of a lot of the rush has become part of the pond itself. Supporting this theory, numbers in the Big Meadow marsh were up, particularly at the northern end – a total of 52 common snipe and 4 jack snipe. It is quite disconcerting to have a jack snipe take off just as you are about to step on it! Then Graham almost stepped on a water rail! A sparrow hawk and group of starlings over-flying Big Meadow rounded the morning off nicely.
Thanks to bumping into Jon we also had a good view , and a less good photo of the linnets feeding on the seed pods in the margin of the arable field – then a kestrel overflying Big Meadow.
The already impressive linnet flock continues to grow and this morning there were around 120 feeding in the arable field. Also of note was a brambling in with c30 chaffinch on the southern edge of Pony Wood. There were good numbers of redwing and fieldfare in the area too.
A flock of c400 pink-footed geese were grazing in the drumlin field to the west of the footpath and a little egret was stalking the fields.
Whilst working on the east hedge of West Field today one of us noticed a shrew which conveniently retreated to a crevice between two stems where we could all take a look.
Lots of geese circling the hill to the west but they didn’t come over us. Not far away though!
A flock of redwing were feeding actively in the margin of the Flora field near to the footpath. Does any-one know which plants are in there which still have seeds on them?The birds were fluttering along the hedge, perching in the trees then dipping down to feed . A terrific sight on New Years Eve.
Jonathan’s message for the HWP
And a very Happy New Year to you.
The very briefest of briefings to let you know that the Hedge Working
Party will resume it’s work on the east hedge of West Field on Saturday,
3rd January, meeting at 9.30. Congregate at the Shed.
Regular Wednesday HWP sessions resume on the 7th, again at 9.30. Don’t
forget your own refreshment for these meetings.
Our first monthly volunteer session will be on Saturday 13th January, from
10am. More details as they arrive.