St Nicks

Centre for nature and green living

Wildwatch: 24th April 2013 – Sorting Little Brown Jobs

Weather: Warm, sunny, breezy
Observers: Linda, Roger

The first really warm Wednesday of the year brought out more birds than watchers. Linda and Roger rose to the challenge magnificently. Linda’s report gives the flavour of the morning: “We sat for a while on a fallen log and just watched everything around us.. went to the culvert and sluice..but no kingfishers..lots of holes..some with what looked like waterchutes from them into the water. We watched two male blackbirds fighting, then Roger left at the sluice to walk into town and I carried on round Ossie Beck by myself…it was lovely with the sun falling through the newly green branches, but I didn’t see anything apart from mallards.”

Birds: Confident identifications were Magpie, Blackbird (several males and a female), Wood Pigeons (loads of the damn things, mutters Linda), Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, male Bullfinch, Carrion Crow, a female Chaffinch, Black-caps in various locations, singing their hearts out (here’s one from last year),

Blackcap (male) by Tang Hall Beck

Blackcap (male) by Tang Hall Beck

and two male Mallards. There was a bit less certainty about a Coal Tit, a Sparrowhawk and a Willow Warbler, but all are very plausible sightings. Descriptions of three birds they couldn’t identify suggest Goldcrest and another Warbler sp., just possibly Garden Warbler, but not certain enough to go into the record. The third one must have been a female Black-cap – if she’s the only one on the reserve, no wonder the males are singing so ardently! Song Thrush, Chiffchaff and Wren were heard, and unidentified Geese flew over. A very presentable total of at least 18 species.

Insects: the warmth brought out several large Bumblebees, many Brimstone butterflies, a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly, and a probable Comma – the description points in that direction, and both groups on last Saturday’s walk saw at least one.

Comma butterfly enjoying the warmth from Ian's pipe!

Comma butterfly enjoying the warmth from Ian’s pipe, July 2012!

The very late spring seems to have brought out overwintering butterflies and possibly newly hatched ones all at the same time instead of spread over several weeks. There were Water Boatmen on the pond, and an intriguing fly that did nothing but hover – probably a Bee-fly.

Amphibians: there is still a large pile of Frogspawn in the pond…..fingers crossed that the carnivorous pond-life and visiting mallards leave some of it.

Plants: it was a yellow and white morning with Coltsfoot, Dandelion, Gorse, Celandines and Cowslips (a new patch at the top of the culvert path), Hawthorn blossom just starting to come out to join the Blackthorn, and Daisies which we so easily overlook. There’s an old country thing about it really being spring when you can cover thirty Daisies with one foot. Start counting!

25 April 2013 | Categories: Wildwatch | Tags: blackcap, Brimstone, Chiffchaff, coltsfoot, Comma, cowslip