Nature Blog Network

buzzard

No new birds on the lane for the last couple of weeks but it was good to see a buzzard flying over Whittaker pasture, about 3/4 mile south of here. It certainly scared the lapwings up there. Skylarks and meadow pipits in good voice.



sparrow behaviour

Was watching a couple of female house sparrows this morning. One was sitting on a branch of the lime tree, plump but with mangy plumage. The other was flying back and forth from the feeders about 5m away, then flying back and either feeding or preening the first sparrow, it was difficult to be sure. After about three minutes of this both birds flew off in different directions.

It looked like a mother was feeding a fledgling, but it seems early in the season for a fledgling to be at this stage when most mating behaviour this year has been late.

Having said that there were no bluebells in the Paddock/New Croft Meadow a couple of weeks ago it was good to notice a clump of hybrids in the eastern side of the meadow. Raspberry leaves are regrowing on the stems, the fruit here is usually the first week of July to coincide with the school holidays.

Noticed lots of wavy bittercress on the lane (where it is welcome) and in the garden (where it is less welcome) this week. The ferns are also becoming obvious - probably male fern but not had a chance to look at it yet.

wavy bittercress:

bittercress thumbnail

male fern (probably)

fern closed thumbnail fern open thumbnail

Redpoll, waxwing and algae

I forgot to replenish the feeders this week so wasn’t expecting to see many birds. Pleasantly surprised therefore when the usual visitors were joined by a lesser redpoll on the nyger seed and what looked very much like a waxwing on the beech tree at the top of the lane. The BTO have had a recent report of a waxwing less that half a mile away so its not impossible, particularly if the migration season is running late this year. It was good to see the goldfinches feeding from the nyger seed, having ignored them all winter.

The house sparrows have nested above the burglar alarm on Springhill house and I think the goldfinches are nesting in the top of the conifer in Sunset View’s garden. Meanwhile the nest box remains persistently empty.

Orange algae Trentepohlia (abietina?) noticed on an osier in the paddock/New Croft meadow. The white patches might be Athelia arachnoidea, a fungal pathogen.

Trentepohlia abietina thumbnail

one swallow or three

Both swallows and swifts have been seen this week, together with flock of lapwings up on Saunder Height. A grey heron was circling over the Paddock/New Croft meadow this morning before landing in a neighbour’s garden. As there is no substantial body of water in the vicinity, perhaps the neighbour is now minus a few ornamental fish.

A number of queen buff-tailed bumblebees have been looking for somewhere to nest and a small tortoiseshell was seen flitting about in the field.

Nettles are beginning to come through the undergrowth. Apparently they like phosphate-rich ground and this might reflect the field’s previous use as a paddock. Their dense growth makes it more tricky to look for other species however. Other flowers include white spanish bluebells (probably an escape) and the ubiquitous dandelion…. I remember true bluebells growing in the field as a child but could find no sign of them this week.

On the fungi front, turkey tail were spotted on a decaying section of a split beech tree whilst a number of ash were carrying cramp balls, but still budding well despite this. All these were on the north side of the Paddock/New Croft, against the boundary wall.

turkey tail

tree turkey tail detail thumbnail poss turkeytail 2 thumbnailposs turkeytail thumbnail

cramp balls

cramp ball tree thumbnailcramp ball on log thumbnailcramp ball detail thumbnail