Sunday, April 28, 2013

Litter picking on Telscombe Tye

A small group of us set out for a litter pick on a fairly blustery but sunny day.

I took the perimeter while the others headed for the funeral track and to start from the coast road end.

Not much around as despite the sunshine it was still pretty chilly.  I did hear skylarks singing up the Tye in three places. 

Using a garden pop-up bag to hold the bin bags, which made it easier to collect in the wind. Awkward once a bag is full.

We collected a good two bags each, plus a couple of larger pieces. Usual mix of food wrappers, cans and bottles, carrier bags and a more obvious increase in poo bags as I walked back down the Tye.  

Sunday, April 21, 2013

New posters for the pond

A very chilly day - headed up to the Tye to replace the posters around dewpond, which have got damaged by wind and weather over the last few months.
Telscombe Tye dewpond
There were a few swallow drinking from the pond and skylark singing.  No sign of newts or tadpoles as yet.  Lovely daffodils in the wooded strip going down into Telscombe village.

Daffodils - Telscombe village
Around on the e-piece and there were a few chiffchaff singing, a whitethroat and a blackcap alarm call - heard but not seen.

The area we cleared earlier this year has lots of violet and cowslips coming up in the patches with more grass and cuckoo pint in the areas that were under the thicker areas of scrub.  Unsurprisingly, there are also a lot of nettles coming up.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Nightingales, blackcaps and whitethroat

RSPB Pulborough Reserve - Spring sunshine
A glorious day out on the reserve at RSPB Pulborough.  The promise of sunshine was definitely fulfilled, although it took a while to warm up.

Nightingales were singing everywhere around the reserve for most of the day and singing from trees and bushes, so most people were treated to a good view of them too.  At least eight in various places - around Fattingates and along 'adder alley' and from the Hanger.

Also plenty of whitethroat around - along with chiffchaff and willow warblers.  Very little out on the brooks except for lapwing and a few duck.  A couple of redshank were spotted in the distance but I didn't manage to pick them out.

Willow just outside Winpenny
We took a break out in the sunshine to warm up after the chill at the Hanger.  Two pairs of buzzard were high overhead displaying above the North and South Brooks.

After lunch we popped in to Winpenny where a sedge warbler was feeding up along the edge of the ditch.  We spotted another just off the path, heading back to the North Brooks.  Several brimstone around by Winpenny and the picnic area - or it was the same one going round in circles!

It's a Sedge Warbler
After a tea break, when the Dawn Chorus shift headed off, I took another walk around the reserve.  Yet again I missed a red kite which was spotted low over the reserve just as I was heading back round the loop.  A few sand martin appeared over the North Brooks.  More joined them along with a few swallow.  There was a pair (possibly more) of tufted duck out on one of the far pools.

The nightingales seemed to be taking a break from singing and only heard snatches later in the afternoon.  Walking back via the picnic area - there was a comma basking on the ground a brief glimpse of a small tortoiseshell.  There were more swallow at the West Mead pond along with a pair of gadwall, which I just about managed to pick out against the evening light.

Just as I came up to the reserve I spotted a wheatear sitting on a post - my first in Sussex this year.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Frogspawn - update

Not sure what happened but having been out all day, I returned home to find the tadpoles in the crate had died.  They haven't been growing much since I put them out, although I've been topping the water up and feeding them as before.

Perhaps the warmer outdoor temperature was just too much for them, even though they were in partial shade.

The one's in the trough are fine, occasionally spot a few along the edge.  I put 60 out there a couple of weeks ago.  The same number went into the pond but I can't see any of those at all.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Frogspawn release

With the recent change in temperature - things were warming up a little too much for the indoor tadpoles, so two batches of them have been released back out in the garden.  They weren't quite gasping for air but not far from it.

Some are now in the fishpond - where they started out, although the fish probably think dinner has been served (not too sure how long they'll survive).  More are in a trough which was already filled with water and the rest still in their crate, which is now outside too.

Still have some in the tank - although I've reduced the number down considerably.  They're larger than the others at the moment.  Might be something to do with the water temperature being warmer in a smaller tank and fewer numbers.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Blackcap dewpond fencing

A sunny start to the day and a new volunteer out with us.  As it's the end of the scrub clearing season,  we're out on Blackcap finish off the fencing around the dewpond, which is tucked away on the corner of a wood, close to the South Downs Way.
Dewpond on Blackcap
Across a muddy field or two - particularly muddy and slippery with all the recent rain which resulted in the land rover doing much of the journey sideways.

We began by digging a post hole - always fun (i.e. hard work) on chalk.  Layers of chalk, flint and soil.  It started raining just as we were finishing off the hole.  Unfortunately the fence post was split, so we couldn't fix it in place.
Having finished the post hole we all got stuck in, unwinding, straining and attaching the barbed wire and just about got it finished as the rain really set in and we abandoned lunch - slip sliding our way back across the field and back down the hill.

Sometimes there's only so much you can do and it's not much fun to be out in cold, damp, drizzly weather.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Frogspawn - Day 25

Returned from the Easter break to find them in much the same state as when I left - still all alive at least.  Topped up the 'tank' and moved some of them back out to the smaller tank for their daily photo session.
Frogspawn Day 25
They're looking a little more pointed at the front end and moving around a lot more, so getting more difficult to photograph.  Also slightly bigger overall - roughly 2.5cms - about 0.5 cm longer then last week.

They're now being fed a diet of spinach leaves, crumpled up and then laid on top. As they're plant eating at this stage that should keep them going.

Monday, April 01, 2013

April traditions and nature notes

English: Common cuckoo Deutsch: Kuckuck
Did you know: April - thought to be named after the Latin and Greek for opening - the season when trees and flowers opened.

Nature: Spotted flycatchers arrive this month along with more of our Spring migrants.  Swallows and house martins start to arrive and swifts will appear later in the month.

As the days get longer and things warm up (unless we get more snow) flowers and trees start to bloom and butterflies and bees come out of hibernation.

You can already see the sap starting to rise and green spikes showing through the soil.

Look out for:

Cuckoo's and nightingales towards the end of the month.

Keep an eye out for the first signs of Spring and record your sightings on


1st April Fool's Day - the tradition of playing pranks which has become an art form with media competing to see who can come up with the most obscure and convincing April Fool joke as well as reporting on the day's pranksters.  Just get it in before midday.

Also Hop Monday - when hop poles were traditionally erected when hops appeared above ground.

21st The Queen's actual birthday, rather than her official birthday in June.

23rd St George's Day and Shakespeare's birthday.

Common cuckoo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Enhanced by Zemanta