Sorry I forgot to post the announcement of this session on the Blog but here is what we did:
Later we held the first of our summer evening volunteer sessions. Eight volunteers attended on a chilly but dry evening.
We planted out wildflower plugs in the wetter area of the Hay Meadow. These included 10 each of Water Avons, Common Fleabane, Gypsywort, Ragged Robin, Sneezewort, Common Valerian and Greater Birdsfoot Trefoil. All of these are native to acid soils of norther west England and were approved by Ben Hibbens (NE).
Algae was cleared from Alder Pond and further barley straw added.
A start was made on cleaning and repairing the gates damaged by the ponies. Curtailed by the sander battery giving out, a problem we have had before.
An area of the Orchard around apple trees but overgrown with ivy, nettles and brambles was cut back. This continues work started last year and we must keep on top of it through the summer.
A good thing about carrying binoculars is that even if you don’t spot anything other people stop and tell you what they have seen! So this afternoon two linnets were reported by the turning on the Long Pads Path by Lucy Brook crossing.Then on Thursday early morning a member was out early enough to hear the dawn chorus which turned into a dawn panic. The culprit was a tawny owl hunched up on a branch overhanging the footpath at Edenbreck. We saw a heron flying over Pony Wood to the canal then back again towards the estuary and puzzled over a warbler. We thought a chiff-chaff but without the give-away song were not sure that it wasn’t a willow warbler and didn’t get a photo.
16 people spent a pleasant spring early evening walking around the reserve with Jon Carter. We saw: Redpoll, Blackcap,Willow Warbler, Treecreeper, Blue Tit, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Blackbird, Starling, ( app.12 drinking in Alder Pond), Reed Bunting ( 2 male), Swallow ( 2 overflying), Moorhen, Mallard, Magpie, Jackdaw, Collared Dove, Wood Pigeon, House Sparrow ( 6 – 10) and heard Wren, Dunnock and Chiffchaff. Ian Nieduszynski also saw a Bullfinch whilst walking back along the Fauna path. There were a pair of Tortoiseshell butterflies mating in the Orchard
The final flush count of the winter yielded just 16 snipe: one in the Hay Meadow, one in Upper Sowerholme, six in School Pond, five in Big Meadow and – for the first time – three in Lower Sowerholme (Willow Tree Pond). But whilst the snipe are moving on now, there were plenty of other birds about. A chiffchaff was singing in the trees around Upper Sowerholme. BIg Meadow yielded a mistle thrush, meadow pipit, male reed bunting, blackbird, moorhen and two mallards. There were another two mallards swimming on the pool in Upper Sowerholme. Flying over the reserve were a heron, buzzard and sand martin. There was just one female teal in School Pond, but her behaviour suggested that she could have a nest.
Dan H reported a ‘fall’ of c20 wheatear & a white wagtail in Flora field yesterday. I had a quick look this morning and there were at least 6 wheatear still present there, along with several pied and 2 white wagtails.
Ploughed fields are highly attractive to newly arrived migrants, so it’s well worth keeping an eye on Flora over the next few weeks.
Also of note, an osprey passed over the RSPB offices at White Cross on Monday afternoon – it would almost certainly have flown over FAUNA given its direction of flight!