Queens Award for Voluntary Service

December Winter Flush Count

Graham, Paul and I went for our monthly winter wander through the fields and marshes of Fauna this morning.

On the snipe front, the tally in the Big Meadow marsh was rather disappointing. They were tending to rise in just ones and twos, and the total came to 24. More positive news though was that we put two snipe up in the Hay Meadow marsh, and School Pond yielded about 25. Three of these were possibly jack snipe. Paul had been reading his bird identification book before we went out. It contained useful information on how to distinguish between the two types on the basis of their flight. A snipe will take off when you are some distance away and fly on before landing again. A jack snipe will fly up from almost under your feet and promptly pop down again, probably behind you. (A woodcock, which resembles a large snipe, will clatter as it takes off and zigzag in flight.)

A heron was  around and about the whole time we were out. Graham spotted it first on Alder Pond. It was then seen flying along by the willows in the Hay Meadow. It then stood around in Big Meadow until we moved into there to do the flush count, When we walked home, it was stood in the Grammar School Field.

Another highlight in the Grammar School Field was a brown hare. Graham spotted it running fast along the line of the lynchets from the allotment side right across towards the Fauna footpath hedge.

Other sightings:

  • Hay Meadow: 2 great tit, 1 long tailed tit, 2 house sparrows all in the hedge row along Lucy Brook
  • School Pond: 11 mallard, 7 teal
  • Upper Sowerholme: 1 robin and 2 blackbirds in the boundaries. The pond and ditch were surprisingly quiet.

Graham was intrigued as to what had been eating the tops of the rushes and leaving the cores (visible as clumps of white bits). It was in the Hay Meadow, Big Meadow and Upper Sowerholme. Probably the cows? (They have clearly been in Upper Sowerholme despite our willow fencing attempts to keep them out.)


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2 thoughts on “December Winter Flush Count”

    • It’s maybe not the cows who are responsible for the ‘white piles’. Our RSPB adviser, Richard Storton, thinks they are caused by field voles, eating the rush outers and leaving the pith.

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