Weather: Warm, overcast, light breeze
Observers: Declan, Nettie, Preeyus
There’s a first time for everything, and it was inevitable that one day there would come a Wednesday when none of the regulars were available. We bitterly regret that it had to happen at the end of a mini heat-wave in the middle of the breeding season. So we’re very grateful to our emergency task force of two new rangers and a new volunteer for filling in for us at very short notice.
Birds: Woodland birdwatching is a challenge at this time of year. A beginner could easily walk round the whole reserve without seeing anything. Although the team only notched up five species, they compensated by counting the ones they did see. Blackbirds have tended to get short shrift since the end of the Winter Thrush survey, so it’s good to have a report of fifteen of them. Why, on the other hand, do we find sixteen Wood Pigeons a bit depressing? Four Magpies might well be a reserve average. Five House Sparrows are a nice record except that some of us are old enough to remember a dozen at a time dust-bathing in our back gardens. And the team remembered to look up, giving us our first Swallow since the beginning of June.
Mammals: A Rabbit and a Grey Squirrel were recorded, so fears about Squirrel extinction turn out to have been premature.
Insects: four Tree Bumblebees were positively identified, confirming that this relatively new species is fully established on the reserve. Two moths couldn’t be identified, and we haven’t yet put a name to a Hoverfly sp on one photo. Tuesday would probably have been a better day for butterflies, but fifteen individual insects were counted – mainly Speckled Wood and Ringlet.
Fish: Yes, that’s what they said, and presumably it was in the pond because it sounds to have been a very small fish. Further investigation needed!
Plants: The team didn’t send a plant record, but their photographs show that Hogweed is still flourishing and Field Scabious is flowering beautifully above the surrounding vegetation. Plants are of course a bit more predictable than fauna, so for botanically minded visitors, it’s a fair bet that everything reported over the last two or three weeks is still in flower with the probable exception of Dog Rose and Red Campion. We’d also anticipate that the Goat’s Rue along the main path will be fully out, along with a lot more Thistle sp on the Tang Hall Beck path.