Friday, 15 June 2018
Thursday, 3 May 2018
Monday, 30 April 2018
|Everyone loves a big red tractor!|
|Sacrificial Crop Preparation - Chesworth Farm|
A very exciting time at Chesworth as this week saw the beginning of a project I have wanted to carry out on the Farm for many years. The project is taking place in Wheat Rick and New Town Nine Acre fields respectively and the more observant visitors to the Farm might well have noticed two plots have been ploughed this week.
The aim of the project is to sow several crops which we will not harvest but come the autumn will produce lots of seeds and grain to support the bird population which winters on the Farm, you may see these in the future being referred to on the blog as sacrifical crops. Species such as Linnet, Yellowhammer, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Reed Bunting should all benefit from the bounty of free food during the winter period and we hope they will use the nice big hedgerows to roost in and avoid predators from.
The next stage of the process is to power harrow the project area which will break the large clods of mud down into a fine tilth which will support the seeds and give them a better medium to grow in. We hope the weather will brighten up soon so we can get on with sowing the all important seed. These two plots are going to be the center of lots of attention throughout the year and I will keep you posted with how they are developing.
Around the Farm David Verrall has once again been busy finding lots of different species and this time he managed to get a lovely photo of a pair of Small Tortoiseshell butterflies which have been surprisingly few and far between this spring.
|Small Tortoiseshell - D. Verrall|
|Friends of Chesworth Farm AGM|
Leechpool & Owlbeech Woods
Up on the heathland at Owlbeech the warm spring sunshine has brought a plethora of species out and about with Common Lizard and Adder seen this week mainly in the areas with Bracken and the Green Tiger Beetles are making the most of the bare earth areas. Plenty of butterflies are now on the wing with many Brimstone's seeking out the vast amount of Alder Buckthorn to lay their precious eggs on. Willow Warbler's are very evident with their melodic song being heard throughout the heathland, soon we hope to hear the churring of the Nightjar once more.
Southwater Country Park
|Horsham Green Gym at Southwater Country Park|
Our thanks as always to the volunteers at Horsham Green Gym for supplying us with immense support and skill. It does not go unnoticed around the district and we are always grateful.
Warnham Local Nature Reserve
|Orange-tip - D. Verrall|
We have seen a real increase in the number of summer migrants and passage migrants this week with Common Sandpiper being seen every day with a peak of three birds on the 28th April. The best place to see them in Tern Hide and they are often feeding on the muddy scrapes right in front of the hide. Sean Collins managed to get this fantastic photo of all three birds not only together, but together in flight!!!
|Common Sandpipers - S. Collins|
|Common Tern - S. Collins|
Thursday, 12 April 2018
Southwater Country Park
|Mute Swan - A. Rodgers|
Two of the wardens went to check on her progress yesterday and she looks to have been pretty busy, when she eventually stood up Jo and Andrew could not believe their eyes. She had laid 8, yes 8, eggs in her beautifully crafted reed nest!!! I am pretty sure not all of the eggs will hatch as some of them were laid in the cold snap which could have affected them however we could potentially have 10 Mute Swans in a few of weeks time!
|Phyllonorycter leucographella leaf mine on Pyracantha - Southwater Country Park|
|Nosey Llamas - Chesworth Farm|
The Easter Scavenger Hunt was a great success despite the inclement weather and all of the children who attended were rewarded with a lovely Easter egg. Many thanks to the Friends of Chesworth Farm for putting on such a good event.
If you have visited the Farm over the last week or so you may well have seen more flowers starting to appear around the site and you also might have been lucky enough to hear Chiffchaff, Skylark, Blackcap or Willow Warbler singing their hearts out as the males try to attract a mate for the breeding season. Keep an eye out for the bright yellow Lesser Celandines which are putting on a nice show by the Volunteer Centre.
|Lesser Celandine - Chesworth Farm|
Leechpool & Owlbeech Woods
|Hibernacula Creation - Owlbeech Woods|
Horsham Green Gym have once again been pulling out all the stops up on the heathland at Owlbeech Woods and this time they have been creating bare areas on the heathland soil which helps all sorts of invertebrates as well as ground nesting birds such as Woodlark and Nightjar.
They have also managed to create more hibernation habitat for our reptiles an amphibians such as Adders and Common Lizards, all of which are regularly seen on the sandy soils at Owlbeech. One of the volunteers also managed to spot a Grass Snake whilst at Owlbeech which was our first of the year here.
Warnham Local Nature Reserve
|Sunset at Warnham LNR - R. Allison|
The Reserve is finally starting to dry up after a very very muddy Easter Trail meant that much of the site was only accessible in wellington boots! Over 350 children came for the wildlife themed Easter trail which was excellent. It was so nice to see children enjoying the site even if the weather wasn't particularly pleasant, once again thanks to the Friends of Warnham Local Nature Reserve for their running of the event.
There is plenty of evidence of spring in the air here too with the Heronry becoming more active by the day with plenty of well grown young starting to make their feelings known about the need for food from their parents. This week has also seen a large arrival of spring migrants to the Reserve with Chiffchaff and Blackcap seemingly singing from everywhere as well as a couple of Willow Warblers which are singing from the willows around the Aston Trelford Hide. We have finally manged to get a tiny bit ringing done which produced the first spring migrant of 2018 which was this lovely female Blackcap.
Finally our warden Ryan and Horsham Green Gym managed to witness a truly amazing spectacle up at the Sandpiper Hide scrapes of grotesque proportion. Whilst doing some maintenance of the scrapes the volunteers found several huge black masses out into the open water, on closer inspection they were actually tadpoles and thousands of them! Below are a couple of pictures of them, has anyone else seen as many tadpoles in one group?!
|Blackcap - Warnham Local Nature Reserve|
|Just a few Tadpoles! - Warnham Local Nature Reserve|
Wednesday, 11 April 2018
Friday, 6 April 2018
We need your views about Warnham Local Nature Reserve. Please give us your opinions on the management of the Reserve and what improvements you would like to see, to take our short survey please go to:
We know how much local people value Warnham Local Nature Reserve and we are always looking at ways to improve the experience there. At the same time we appreciate that some people do not visit it, and we would like to know why.
The survey will help the Council understand what people would like to see in the Nature Reserve and help us direct future spending and funding as part of our management plan.
Tuesday, 27 March 2018
Monday, 26 March 2018
|Dotted Chestnut - Warnham Local Nature Reserve|
|Grey Shoulder-knot - Warnham Local Nature Reserve|
|Greenfinch - Warnham Local Nature Reserve|
Meanwhile at Chesworth Farm I added a new fly to the species list when I found the larval mine of Chromatomyia ramosa on Teasel. This is part of the agromizid fly family, all of which mine leaves of various plants. The adults are very difficult to identify and most of them need genitalia examination to be sure of their identity but many of the leaf mines are quite simple to recognise. In the picture below you can see the light coloured markings which are moving away from the central vein. These are caused by the larvae of the fly eating the leaf from within the leaf structure itself.
|Chromatomyia ramosa on Teasel - Chesworth Farm|
|Brown Hairstreak Egg - Southwater Quarry|
Tuesday, 20 March 2018
|Weasel - B. Clough|
|Roe Deer - J. Glover|
|Frozen Reeds - P. Shergold|
|Lapwing - P. Shergold|
|Reed Buntings - P. Shergold|
|Water Rail - D. Verrall|
|Grey Heron - D. Verrall|