Wildlife Reserve History for 2010
28 December, For the last few weeks the fields have been under a few inches of snow, and the overnight temperature has dropped to -10C on two occasions, and has not been above freezing for several days. As a consequence the birds have been hungry, eating any remaining berries, and any other fruit that is still about. Yellow Hammers have been seen on the bird feeders in the village.

25th September, Saturday, Another good day for picking blackberries, but they are coming to the end of their season, it is not reccomended to pick blackberries in October, when the Devil is said to have swished his tail over them.
Just outide the reserve to the east, was a small flock of Yellow Hammers, some sitting quite prominently on top of the hedge. In the fields alongside, which were being cultivated, the Starlings, Jackdaws and Crows were busy looking for grubs. And in the Reserve and the Rec, the Long Tailed Tits were keeping in touch with each other with their distinctive cheeping.  It is expected that sheep will be put in the Reserve soon, to eat the grass that has regrown.

20th September, Monday, finally the blackberry have filled out and are good for eating, rather late here than in most places. One solitary Coma butterfly was seen, along with a small flock of Pipits, looking for food in the ploughed feild next to the Reserve. The grass has re-grown a little, but I think that sheep will be put in the fields soon to eat that growth off.  There were still a few cornflowers around the pond.

3rd September Friday, The last few days the weather has been glorious, with warm sunny days, which make up for the previous week where it rained, and rained, probably about 4 inches of rain fell that week. Today the reserve fields are just short grass, the hay was cut, baled and sold about two weeks ago. Apparently there was less hay this year, maybe due to the dry summer, but possibly also due to the suppression effect of the Yellow Rattle.
The blackberries are just becoming ripe, later this year than previously, the Rose Hips have ripened, and there are Sloe on the Blackthorn.

In our garden we have seen 3 Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillars on one Fuchia plant, after eating most of the plant we saw them making their way across the lawn, maybe to a suitable place in some leaf litter to turn into a crysalis to overwinter, ready to become the adult moth next May.

15th August Sunday, The grass in the reserve was cut earlier in the week, and the following days were very wet, Sunday was fine so there was a chance to turn the hay, to help it dry, prior to it being baled. The cut grass laying on the ground was proving attractive to Goldfinches who were eating any seed head that still remained.
There were still lots of Common Blue butterflies about, espesially around the few flowers around the pond. The Pond gained some water during the recent wet spell, but is still quite low.
The Blackberries are not yet ready to pick, hopefully the rain will help swell them out in the next week. There are Sloe on the Blackthorn bushes, and a few Rose Hips in the hedge rows, as well as hawthorn berries.
Some of the pond plants are now in flower.

10th August Tuesday, It is anticipated that the grass will be cut to make hay this week, it will be cut, dried, baled and will go for winter feed for horses in the area.

1st August Sunday, It is still dry, the vegitation has all dried out, but there are still plenty of knapweed flowers, which are  attracting lots of blue butterflies, probably Common Blue, but perhaps Argus Brown as well, they are difficult to tell apart. I also saw a Small Copper butterfly, and there was a 'charm' of Goldfinches feeding on the Knapweed seed heads.
Some of the plants around the pond have started to flower, while to pond itself continues to shrink slowly.

22nd July Thursday, during an evening walk around a group of us spotted what was thought to be a Corn Bunting sitting on a wire, it had a short tail, and was a dumpy brown bird, but quite a bit bigger that the Linnet nearby.
A corncockle flower has also appeared, on a bare patch of ground in New Churchfurlong, where some wild flower seeds had been planted.  Both Cornflower and Corncockle are quite rare, so lets hope they can find a spot to thrive.
With the very dry weather we continue to have the pond is still shrinking slightly, but the flowers and grasses are well past their best apart from one or two late flowering species, like the devils bit scabious, field scabious, and those mentioned in the next paragraph. Butterflies are not plentiful this year, although the gatekeeper and white butterflies are to be seen around the village at present.

14th July Wednesday, News arrived that the Spiny Restharrow was in flower, and a walk round the reserve, on a quite windy day enabled me to get a photograph. A few more Cornflower had appeared near the pond. As there still hasn't been any rain for weeks, the water level in the pond continues to get lower, but it is getting clearer, enabling some of the bugs to be seen swimming in the water. The big blue dragonfly was again flying around the pond, and with some patience this time I managed to get some photographs, I'm told its a actually a Darter or Chaser, from my books and from this web site it appears to be Libellula depressa.

8th July - Thursday,
On an evening walk around the reserve, I was immediately struck with the chirping of all the grasshoppers . The very warm weather that is forecast for the next few days, should be a good time to hear them at their loudest.
Some Field Scabious plants are now in flower in Old Churchfurlong, and a solitary Cornflower was found near to the pond, which continues to shrink in the very dry weather we are experiencing. However there is still 2 or 3 feet of water in the pond, and Water Boatmen could be seen coming to the surface for air every now and again.
The Brownie's logs continue to be used by nesting bees, but now they are covering the hole with bits of leaf, so I dont know if this is a different bee to the earlier one or not.

2nd July - Friday,  In the afternoon sun, there were lots of Grasshoppers chirping,  and over the pond a big fat bright blue Dragonfly was flying about, but after an inspection it flew off, probably to look for a more grown up pond.

1st July - Thursday, The light sunny evenings are a good time to look at the reserve, the buttercups have died down, allowing other plants to seen.
On the furthest furrow of Old Churchfurlong, are some new plants, the Great Burnett which is in flower,
and Spiny Rest Harrow which is not yet. in flower yet, but is an upright plant standing higher than surrounding plants.
A Hairy Tare and a Cut Leaf Cranesbill have been seen in New Churchfurlong.
There are many Grass-hoppers in amongst the grass, which can be heard chirping when the sun is at its hottest.
Last week when Matt Dodds was leading a walk around the reserve,  a Corn Bunting was seen and heard, which is quite a rarity nowadays, also the  Lesser and Greater  Whitethroats which have been seen before.

12th June - Saturday, A Common Spotted Orchid was found in more or less the same place as last year, which is good news, maybe there will be more as time progresses. In fact there were two flowers.
During the week it was confirmed that there was Cut Leaf Cransbill on the site, and a Scorpion Fly was seen, along with more Silver Ground Carpet moths.
Several varieties of Vetches are in flower now.

5th June - Saturday, In the evening after a warm day, a wander round the reserve revealed:- lots of Bees gathering pollen, Orange Tip a nd Common Blue buterflies, Chimney Sweeper moths, and new, to me, a white moth with a pattern across its wing, maybe a Silver Washed Carpet Moth, or Silver Ground Carpet moth like this one.
Some of the Bees had hatched from the logs, as some of the previously plastered holes are now open.
Several Grass Vetch flowers were seen, as well as others:- possibly Hairy Tare, and Cut Leaf Geranium.

31 May - Monday, A Lesser Boatman and a Diving Beetle, were spotted and photographed in the pond,.

27 May - Thursday, The reserve is now dominated by the yellow colour of the mass of buttercups. But there are other flowers making an appearance, such as, the first Ragged Robin, Oxeye Daisys, Pignut, Sorrel, Birds Foot Trefoil, amongst others.

Some of the logs that the Brownies put up last year as nesting places for insects, have been used by a Nesting Bee, we presume, a Bee that lays an egg in the hole, adds some food for the grub, and plasters the hole over, as all that is visible is the plastered over hole.
The jangly song of the Whitethroat gave away its presence, in the area of the pond.
The next few weeks will be a good time to see the Reserve at its best

23 May - Sunday, another hot day, the recent warm weather has meant that the Buttercups have really grown and now dominate the view, with their mass of yellow flowers.
A Great Burnett plant has been found in the Reserve, and the first Ragged Robin flowers. A very vivid Yellow Hammer was seen, on the top branch of a tree or on the electric wires.

22 May - Saturday, and a hot day with clear blue sky. The Great Tits in the bird box at High Street North, decided that this was the day for their brood to leave the nest, and so they have gone, early in the morning.
The sereral Great Tit and Blue Tit broods in the bird boxes in the Reserve, must be about to fledge, or already have, and the parent birds are rushing round amidsts lots of cheeping, trying to keep an eye on their brood in the hedgerow, feeding the chicks for a little longer, until they are able to fend for themselves.

18 May - A Chaffinch was observed taking a bath at the edge of the Pond in the Reserve. And a Yellowhammer was seen singing from the top branch of a tree in Jackdaw. Blue Tits are busy taking food to their nest in the reserve. While in High Street North The Great Tits are busy all hours feeding their young in a nest box.

16 May - Sightings of Common Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Linnets, and Yellow Hammers in and around the Reserve, and Swifts over the village.

14 May - A cold day, but the plants around the pond are thriving, and the first sign of life in the pond appeared when a Water Boatman was seen. Sightings of Pond Skaters and a small Diving Beetle are also reported
The grasses in the reserve have grown many seed heads, which pre-dominate the flora at present. Lady's Smock are still in flower, but the Buttercups are starting to flower.

8 May - A stout band turned out on a wet day, to plant up a variety of plants around the edge of the pond, which turned out to be very sticky, thick clay. In addition a few floating plants were added.

6 May - The Great Tits which had adopted a bird box up the north end of the village started to show lots of activity, obviously gathering green caterpillers, to feed their recently hatched brood.

1 May - There are Lady's Smock, Bugle, Cowslips, The hedges are greening up. Reports of Linnets, Black Caps, and there are Blackbirds, Blue Tits, Robins. A brilliant red coloured Bullfinch was seen nearby in Garners Lane. There are lots of Orange tip Butterflies around the village.

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