Chiralkine wood sightings

20 August 2017

One of the two ancient ash trees at either end of the wood recently split in two during a summer storm, bringing down several other trees with it. The temptation is to cut up the fallen timber tidily, but perhaps it would be best left alone to decay very slowly.

The knapweed is in full bloom, attracting speckled wood, red admiral, comma and peacock butterflies and hosts of flies.

12 June 2017

Licensed bird ringers Michael Miles and Hugh Pulsford report that they have ringed two healthy broods of pied flycatchers and that a third nest site appeared to be occupied by a third pair across the brook. This is great news. About 50% of the other boxes are occupied by blue tits or great tits.

31 May 2017

Several pairs of pied flycatchers are nesting, perhaps four or five. The pond is heaving with tadpoles. A woodcock flew off from by the river at the base of the cliff. The bluebells are almost over and giving way to bracken. Red campion and buttercups are in full flower.

22 April, 2017

Three male pied flycatchers singing. Many blackcap, willow warbler and chiffchaff. Pair of goosander on the river. Several nesting pairs of Canada goose. Moorhen on the pond. Hare in the grass. Marsh marigold in full flower. Coltsfoot have now gone to seed. With the air full of bird song and the ground sprayed with colourful wild flowers, this is the time of year when all the hard maintenance work over the winter pays off.

26 March, 2017

A warm, sunny morning. The water in the pond was crystal clear. Spawning toads had replaced the frogs, who left mounds of spawn. New shoots of bullrushes were pushing up. The goosander pair was on the bank along with about ten Canada geese. Butterbur, celandine and coltsfoot are all in flower. Chiffchaff were calling. A pair of grey wagtail was evident, as well as a pair of curlew calling from an adjacent field. Recent tracks of red deer followed along the river’s edge.

25 February, 2017

Some flooding after heavy rains. Dead sheep in river. Hare running behind pond. Pair of goosander on river. Moles very active. Hazel catkins.