31st July, Common and Holly Blues, Painted Lady, an odd Longhorn Beetle, and Green Woodpecker reported. Young Kestrels, and Buzzards heard and seen.
25th July, lunchtime in the garden nurturing my tomatoes, runner beans, chillies and cucumbers, and I see a 2nd brood Holly Blue. I am joined by an inquisitive Southern Hawker, and am delighted to see 2 Greenfinch. There must be 10 Large Whites about and a dozen White-tailed Bumblebees on the lavender. Out in the village there seems to be a several roaming flocks of mainly young Starlings and Sparrows generally spread over lawns and roofs. Chattering, arguing and chasing each other about. Oh to be young.
21st July, is the warmest day on record. Which is rather unnerving.
18th July, first the Parakeet, then the King Snake, now a Sacred Ibis.. with one seen in flight over sandy lane by the brilliant Gary Pullen. Talk about Global warming bringing associated exotics. Back to our wildlife, Terry sees an adult Hedgehog with 2 young off South Close. Cath finds 15 young Swallows on the wires on Brington Road, Barred Straw moth, and a nice spider, Enoplognatha ovata, no I haven’t just made that up.
14th July, after a bit of a lull hundreds of Whites and Peacocks appear, along with Comma and Red Admiral. All pristine newly hatched adults. There are even fresh Painted Lady still arriving, (or hatching locally the offspring from earlier immigrants?) A 2nd brood Small Copper is seen. 16 or more Swallows gather over Heath View, perhaps all the adults and young from the property up the road.
12th July, warm and humid, the Park is a riot of flowers busy with insects. I also see a blood-red Ruddy Darter. Two Hobbies, an adult and a Youngster are soaring over Miles Lane, and this has attracted every local Swift, Swallow and Martin to mercilessly mob the pair. A true baptism of fire for the young falcon. Late pm, and I am in the garden looking at but not really identifying Moths as they come to the flowers. Silver-Y, Mother of Pearl, Small magpie.. In the air there are some vocal Swifts, a party of about 20 scream and scythe high into the sky and they are then suddenly joined by another similarly sized flock. All 50 birds now move together, long, board circles, towering upwards, their piercing calls getting fainter. Is this territorial behaviour or mutual protection for an over-night sleep out? There actually seems to be more swifts about the village this year though rather ironically there has been an internet appeal to support declining Swift populations by legislating to make builders include Swift nesting boxes within the construction process for new houses.
11th July, a lady calls me in great distress having seen a ‘large banded snake’ on the footpath next to Mill Park. I take a brief description and think it sounds like a King Snake perhaps Californian. She is rightly concerned for public safety and suggests her dog, or other dogs could be potential victims. I immediately contact my fellow Park Manager Richard, who says he’ll keep an eye out.
8th July, the butterfly count at CEP is 11 species in twenty minutes including Essex Skipper, and the Marbled Whites are well into double figures. There are 9 species of Dragons and Damsels as well, including an egg-laying Emperor. For the first time in ages I hear and see a Raven, suddenly vocal again after what seems like months. Cath and Angela also report Raven today. Sandra sees Humming-bird Hawkmoth and dozens of Butterflies at the allotments below St Lawrence’s. The holders there have been working hard this spring to improve the site for all God’s creatures.
7th July, Speckled Wood and Marbled White, plus 5 other Butterfly species reported. CEP has 2 male Black-tailed Skimmers. At midday a Hobby is gaining height over East Street whilst surrounded by a squeaking ball of 40 House Martin and Swallow. A Red Kite drifts by. A walk to Picnic Spinney and 2 Herring Gulls go over, White-legged Damsels are amongst the Nettles and there are 6 male Beautiful demoiselles holding territory along the stream. David Evans is silage making and reports a Buzzard and a Kite following the tractors.
5th July, Burnet Companion, Southern Hawker and Long-eared Bat noted at CEP, and Fiona adds Sparrowhawk and Reed Bunting. Cath notes Cinnabar, Comma and Painted Lady near Patford Bridge.
4th July, over 8 Marbled Whites at CEP, which is more than last year, plus Small Skipper, and a male Common Blue. There are hundreds of Meadow Brown. Emerald Damsel noted. Steve sees Ringlet and Azure Damsel.
1st July, Alan sees a Rose-ringed Parakeet (A now established breeding bird in southern England having escaped from bird collections in the last few decades) at the Wharf. His neighbour says it tried to feed from the nut feeder but ended up feeding from seed on the ground. He also reports Marbled White and Ringlet butterflies from the A5 junction and hatchling Moorhens from the canal.
So last month I listed the species of birds recorded at Cotton End Park. This was prompted by my finding a Reed Warbler singing in the hedge near the top orchard. I have been noting down wildlife all my life and normally keep my records them up to date but alas I have to admit to have made an error re, the Cotton End Park bird list. I had failed to add Tufted Duck and Red-legged Partridge, so our new total is 98. If you would like to look at the list on this website and give me a guess as to the next two species. I could offer a prize for a correct prediction.