Monthly Archives: November 2015

Here, Hare Here

While checking barn owl roost sites yesterday I noted at least 2 hares on the reserve. The mixed finch flock at the arable field appears to be growing with around 40 linnet present, along with chaffinches and greenfinches.  A prolonged spell of cold weather should see further increases.

* Post title courtesy of Withnail And I.

Volunteering session Saturday 14th November 2015

Here is the report:

Despite a damp morning and a forecast of heavy and persistent rain 16 volunteers turned out. The rain was quite persistent but not very heavy and we had a good session.

  1. 30 saplings from the Woodlands Trust were planted in Pony Wood and the extension to replace those that had failed.
  2. The nose trough and stand was retrieved from the West Field and brought up to the shed.
  3. An assessment of the damage to the West Field north west gate was made and plans for its repair were made.
  4. Fallen leaves were cleared from the track from Sunnyside Lane past the shed.
  5. Self seeded alders were removed from the Alder Pond area of Big Meadow. These each have a big rootball and could easily be transplanted if anyone has a need for them.
  6. Flowering ragwort were removed from the soft rush area of Big Meadow.
  7. We continued hedge trimming along the south boundary of The Paddock and along the Orchard / Pads footpath.
  8. Brambles growing out of the grass verge along the Fauna footpath were dug out.
  9. Hazel in the ‘wild area’ at the north end of the Orchard were coppiced and the stems harvested for hedging stakes.


The weather wasn’t exactly kind to us but still, a good sized group of determined and soggy birdwatchers gathered for a walk around the reserve and adjacent area last Saturday morning.

Most of the local birds were keeping a rather low profile but we did see the following:

Mallard, Teal, Goosander, Cormorant, Grey heron, Kestrel, Moorhen, Common snipe, Black-headed gull, Common gull, Herring gull, Collared dove, Woodpigeon, Meadow pipit, Pied wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Song thrush, Mistle thrush, Blackbird, Blue tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Starling, House sparrow, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch.


Counting in the fog

After the dryness of the early autumn, the marshes are now awash. And the snipe are coming back in numbers, although with the temperatures remaining above average we did not count quite as many as in the last two years. Total count today was 45, broken down as 11 common snipe in School Pond, 32 common and 1 jack in Big Meadow and surprisingly a sighting of one in Pony Wood. In addition, there was a group of eight flying round. Despite the fog, Jon was able to follow them for quite a while, but they did not appear to land on the reserve. We also saw a small group fly up as we approached the Big Meadow marsh, disturbed by three dogs off the lead on the footpath. So overall quite a good number of snipe around.

Other sightings included a heron on the Grammar School Field, three teal on School Pond, a sparrow hawk above the Hay Meadow and 4 meadow pipits in Big Meadow.

Jon has also had a sighting of the barn owl, and advises going out at dusk for the best chance of seeing it.