Weather: Mainly cloudy with sunny intervals. Light breeze.
Observers: Hannah, Hazel, Ian, Janetta, Kaj, Lindsay
With the heavy rains over the weekend, both becks were flowing fast and furious, Tang Hall Beck in particular. The water level in the latter was just a foot below the top of the culvert. We did a circuit around the Dragon Stones, put in a half-hearted quarter of an hour at the Kingfisher Watch Point, went up to the sluice downstream of Tang Hall Beck and ended up with a quick canter round Osbaldwick Beck. Hazel and Janetta did sterling work recording insects and plants, respectively, with birds taking a back seat for once. So we’ll start this week with..
Insects: Butterflies recorded were Speckled Wood, Small White and Brimstone. Four species of Ladybird were seen: 7, 14, 22 and 24 Spotted Ladybirds. Various flies were seen, including Flesh Fly (scothohaga carnaria), Yellow Dung Fly, House Fly and two species of Blow Fly.
One Ichneumon Wasp sp. was recorded, possibly Ichneumon suspiciosus, along with a
number of bees: Buff-tailed and White-tailed Bumblebees, possible Carder Bees (worker & queen), a worker Honeybee and an unidentified Solitary Bee species.
Finally, Hazel recorded Weevil (possibly Phyllobius viridiaeris), various Hoverfly species, Wood Ant, unidentified Digger Wasp species,
Plants & Flowers: Janetta assembled an impressive list of plants and flowers. In flower were Cut-leaved and Hedgerow Cranesbill, Green Alkanet (which is blue!), Herb Robert, Bramble (looking good for the Blackberry season!), Welted and Spear Thistle, Germander Speedwell, Common Mallow, Meadow Vetchling & Common Vetch, Ground Ivy, White Dead-nettle,
Dog Rose, Hedge Woundwort and Ribwort Plantain. And there were even more! Expect this list to grow as the season progresses!
Grasses in flower included Tall Oat, Tufted Hair, Rough Meadow-grass, Yorkshire Fog, Cocks Foot and Red Fescue.
Birds: A fairly short list, and Ian didn’t have his big camera with him, so no bird pics. A family party of 6 or 7 Long-tailed Tits was near the Dragon Stones. We all had excellent views (and unusually, for this time of the year) of at least two Blackcaps. Wrens and Greenfinches were all over the reserve, but heard, not seen. Two or three Chiffchaffs were chiffing away and the only Bullfinch was seen on the Environment Centre feeder. Juvenile Blackbirds are starting to be seen in various places and the Dunnocks were playing their normal threesome chasing games. The total species list was a modest 15.
Mammals: Just the one: a baby Rabbit on the cycle track leading to the Tang Hall Beck sluice, downstream.
Amphibians: A single female Common Newt was seen in the Environment Centre pond.