Wednesday 2nd May

It turned out to be a nice sunny day but with a cool wind, but that didn’t stop the emergence of the black flies (St. Marks Fly) description taken from another site

"The males have clear wings and big eyes. They swarm up and down looking for females which usually cluster on a nearby bush. They are called St Mark’s Flies because they’re usually about on St Mark’s Day, 25th April. They only live for about a fortnight so it’s a short life but sweet. They feed on nectar, they mate and the females lay eggs in the soil. That’s it. Then they die. But the larvae or grubs live on, underground, eating decaying vegetable material or grass roots. Then next April they emerge as adults and the whole life cycle starts over again."

Caught a glimpse of very smart Wheatear in the third field, see photo.

Bob and Bri

Newly Born Calf

Not the best time to be born, with very cold nights but it doesn’t appear to bother the inquisitive calf, see on the photos being chased by a much older calf, and just before this shot was taken it was butted away by another.

Bob and Bri​​​​

Sunday 29th April

This morning was bright but cool, but it didn’t stop the warblers from singing, managed to catch a Willow Warbler on the path through to the tip.
The Reed Warblers are very shy this year, they sing continuously but never put in an appearance.

The niger seed is being emptied every day by the Goldfinch, how do they manage to find time to eat between squabbles.

There are quite a few Skylarks on the tip area but not many on the reserve, but we did see one perched on clump of heather with its crest raised and singing.

Bob and Bri

Friday 27th April

Found a few fresh kills this morning, all within a few yards of each other and on the main path, one duck egg, still with a runny yolk, feathers from what appears to have been a Goldfinch and lastly, under one of the gates, feathers from a wood pigeon.

Spotted a Grasshopper in the afternoon, just at the entrance to the tip, see photo.

Also a lone Ringed Plover was on the pebbles, opposite the horse field.

Finally, the Natterjacks have started early this year, just in one pond, and there are already tadpoles of two sizes see photos.

Bob and Bri

Thursday 26th April

As can be seen in the photo. it was a blustery day, with a cool wind. The Warblers have arrived, a couple of Reed Warblers, back a bit earlier this year, are on the fishing pond, not seen them yet. Managed to get a glimpse of a Sedge, see photo, but not yet heard a Chiffchaff, and with the wind or the cold the Grasshoppers have gone quiet.

At the feeders a female Bullfinch with fungus on it’s left leg has been seen, it appears to be painful for it to stand on but still does not put it off eating, see photos.

The last couple of days we have come across cow pats on the wrong side of the fence and this morning the culprits were found enjoying a good chew in the sun.

Thursday19th April

A really warm start to the day, and Brian’s sheep are starting to lamb.
Willow Warblers are singing everywhere, a few Grasshopper Warblers are also singing in the usual places in the area of the new paths and on top of the tip.

The Stonechat males can be seen on the top of the bushes, while the females are already sitting on eggs.

At the feeders, the goldfinch are devouring the niger, both male and female Bullfinch are still visiting, the jays have not been for a while but we have a drake Mallard that comes every day, it’s mate also used to visit but must now be sitting somewhere near.

Bob and Bri

Cow damage

Only six days after repairing the seat and erecting a new display board, one of the cows with large horns has severely damaged the display and seat, and in addition one or more have walked the narrow bridge, causing some of the cross members to split, see photos. We have had damage caused in the past with them rubbing against the table and seats, one of the reasons for a metal table, so without fencing the area off to prevent access, which has been requested in the past but turned down, the facility will slowly fall into disrepair.

Bob and Bri

Swans have started building

The local pair of swans have started building a nest on a raised dyke between two wet areas at the west side of the fishing pond, previously used two years ago. It is a good quiet area and they should go undisturbed but the problem occurs when moving the brood to the long pond, with a gate, fence and fox den to clear, without losing any.

A pair of Greylag geese are also looking to nest in the same location, caught resting at the fishing pond this morning.

We have spotted a few swallows passing through and one Wheatear at the car park and Chris reported this morning, hearing Willow Warblers in the area just after the field on the front.

Bob and Bri

New seat layout

We have replaced the rotten planks on the seat and also moved the display from the table to the back of the seat, allowing more room for the coffee and sandwiches.

Bob and Bri

Goldfinch versus Bullfinch

When is it going to dry out, today was a one out of the blue but the ground is going to require a lot more of these before it recovers.

The ponds are quite full and we have been monitoring a couple which contained frog spawn, and as can be seen from the attached shots, it has not survived very well, leeches have had their fill.

Goldfinches at the feeders are always squabbling between themselves but today they met there match in the form of a male Bullfinch, it stood no nonsense and soon chased them off.

Bob and Bri