Weather: Warm & sunny
Observers: Hazel, Ian, Janetta, Kaj, Linda, Lindsay
We started off with a half-hour kingfisher watch, with Linda and Kaj going to the usual Kingfisher Watch Point and Ian, Hazel and Lindsay going to the sluice, which is not often watched. Janetta did her usual excellent job of recording some of the plant life on the reserve. We then all walked round other parts of the site, looking in particular for warbler species of birds.
Birds: First, the negatives: no Kingfishers and no Whitethroats. Ian has learnt that Whitethroats haven’t yet been seen along Heslington Outgang, the nearest known area for this species. So it isn’t just St Nicks which is missing them.
On the positive side, we saw juvenile Long-tailed Tits, both from the Kingfisher Watch Point and from the sluice. Soon the parents will
be trying for a second brood, having had success with the first. There also seemed to be more Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers than last week, suggesting that more have arrived in the good weather over the past week. The number of Blackcaps seem to have been reasonably consistent in recent weeks – possibly four or five territories. Two pairs of Bullfinches were seen, with one of the birds giving a brief burst of the song, rather than the usually-heard call.
All of the regular species were recorded: Dunnocks, (still playing their threesome chasing game!), Wrens (again, everywhere), Blackbirds (in full voice), Greenfinches (very vocal, with their wheezing call), Robins and Song Thrush (possibly two pairs). Once again, Blue and Great Tits were fairly quiet, getting on with raising their chicks, no doubt.
Osbaldwick Beck is beginning to get matted with vegetation, but there was still a single Moorhen skulking in the beck. Overhead, a few Swifts hunted and nine Herring Gulls flew over. Completing our count of 22 species were Magpie, Carrion Crow, Collared Dove, Wood Pigeon, Pheasant and House Sparrow.
Mammals: A few juvenile Rabbits were seen in several places, a Brown Rat was near the sluice and Grey Squirrel was also noted.
Butterflies and other insects: We saw only three species of butterfly: Orange Tip, Large White and one of the Blues. 7-Spot Ladybirds were wide-spread, Greenbottles were very visible, glistening in the sun, and the
first Common Blue Damselflies of the year were at the Environment Centre pond.
Plants: Janetta concentrated on listing plants and flowers which have not been mentioned much in previous posts, such as Russian Comfret, Salad Burnnet, Cow Parsley (widespread), Ox-eye Daisy, Hemlock (in bud), Cut-leaved and Pyrenean Cranesbills, Welted Thistle, Creeping
Buttercup, Weld, Ground Ivy, White Campion, Common Field Speedwell, Wood Avens and Hogweed.
Grasses she noted included Cocksfoot, Barren Brome, Tall Oat, Rough Meadow and Meadow Foxtail.