26th May, Billy and I on shepherding duties at Grange Farm. We walk Road Close and find the lambs. They look happy in a sea of green, green grass. We find an immature Beautiful Demoiselle, a White-legged Damselfly, and 2 Common Blue Butterflies, amongst them. Holy Blues seem to be everywhere. Hornet again reported.
25th May, at CEP there are now a hundred Azures, and Large Reds all busy egg-laying. A flash of orange is a Small Copper, hidden within a waving forest of Buttercups. I stumble across a swarm of Bees bivouacking in an Elder in the Lower Orchard. Just walk away. Hornet and Jay reported, Aaron sees a Cinnabar Moth, and Jo has Rook and Jackdaw at her garden feeder.
24th May, a bit of sunshine and at CEP, Billy and I see our first Common Blue Butterfly, and a blue (mature male) Broad-bodied Chaser. Again at David’s ponds, Azure Damsel egg-laying, immature Red-eyed, Blue-tailed and White-legged Damsels. We also find two Mother Shipton Moth (Go on look it up). At Mill Park, Keith gets photos of Frog, Cinnabar Moth, Cockchafer, Slow Worm and Cardinal Beetle. PM and I’m in the garden and the Holyoake Martins shriek out, Hobby! I get less than a second.
21st May, with spring gathering pace I open CEP and have my usual check-round. A hovering blue matchstick becomes Azure Damselfly. There are 3 immature Broad-bodied Chasers, looking a bit like huge wasps. Red Admiral, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies are about especially by the Nettles, and a tiny, pretty moth lands near me. Small Yellow underwing. David’s Ponds have Large Red Damselflies and Comma Butterfly. Hornet reported.
20th May, Our man at The Wharf is always on the case, and sees a probable Osprey soaring over going towards Daventry. At the moment there are records of Osprey on a daily basis from either Hollowell, Ravensthorpe, and/or Pitsford Reservoirs.
19th May, the ancient ridge and furrow field at the back of St Lawrence’s is a favourite of the dog-walkers, and holds a lot of wildlife. The extended evenings have brought two reports of Barn Owls hunting there. It’s good to have such places around the village and thanks must go to farmers J C Jackson, particularly James Jackson for allowing access and retaining this beautiful field for the good of our community, and wildlife. A walk along the footpath below Oak Tree Farm and alongside the Ponds created by David Evans is always a treat. The Covert is alive with bird song and the pond has Canada Geese with young, a pair of Tufted Duck, as well as the usual Mallard. A surprise is the attempted landing of a Cormorant, and 2 Greylag Geese flying over. I hear my first Garden Warbler, hear Great-spotted and Green Woodpeckers, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, and see a Tawny Owl being pursued by noisy Blackbirds. 2 Brimstones and a Red Admiral noted.
15th May, the Moorhens are fussing over two tiny, back balls of fluff floating on the pond at CEP. The chicks are fresh out of the nest, and seem so vulnerable. There are fledged Blackbirds, Robins and Long-tailed Tits. Swifts appear and a family of Lesser Black-backed Gulls drift over. More road kill Badgers, Foxes, (though not many Rabbits) reported, and more reports of the killings of cats and Magpies.
12th May, how stubborn the Ash are, not a sign of leaf on some of them. What are they waiting for? A huge queen Wasp is lumbering up the High Street. The colony of Masonry Bees is hard at it on Miles Lane, such activity, and busy-ness. A male Greenfinch is singing in Clifton Close, and there is a squashed Hedgehog on Station Road.
11th May, 10 Swifts appear from high up and come racing in over the roofs tops. At last you’re here! Holly Blue and Orange-tip, Whitethroat and Magpies in my garden. The Magpies are busy decimating the young birds. They find the Blackbird nest in our garden and even though we are tuned in to the alarm calls, are too late to save the first chick. So one down, three to go. We are successful in driving the Magpies away on several occasions even at 0600hrs one morning. They strike again though and another is taken. We are down to two and then they fledge, but we see just one. The Blackbirds try again in a new place even nearer the house. Good Luck. Billy and see a pair of Tree Sparrow whilst walking the dogs.
8th May, 8 House Martins over the village, and Jim sees a Yellowhammer in his garden off The Leys. Peter Spokes sees a Lapwing over Grange Farm. Big Dave finds a tiny black spider, and Sue photographs Hare and a Sparrowhawk.
5th May, International Dawn Chorus Day. I have 20 odd villagers standing in a circle in Mill Park at 0500hrs. It is about 2 degrees but they stand still and are quiet. We listen and I paint a map in people’s minds of positions of singing birds and what species they are. Time flies by and we clock up 23 birds seen and heard before half six, then drink coffee and eat cakes. A Swift over Market Place, Ladies Smock in flower at CEP, and Alan reports Otter from Welton Marina.
4th May, cold morning, and 3 Mute Swan flying over make it feel colder.
1st May, I’m at Long Buckby Infant School and have a sea of smiling faces in front of me. We talk about pond creatures, Dragonflies and the myriad of life in fresh water. Ian reports seeing a Golden Pheasant at West Haddon.