Saturday, 26 July 2014

Farthinghoe nature reserve: spotted flycatchers fledged

This morning I spent some time exploring Farthinghoe nature reserve, which is part of a former railway line, later used as a landfill site, then restored as a nature reserve.  A recycling centre next door makes it possible to combine a recycling trip with some nature watching (or a trip to Waitrose in Brackey, in this instance!).  Active management keeps the site attractive to a really good variety of birds and butterflies.  As soon as I arrive I hear spotted flycatchers calling and realise adults are feeding very recently fledged chicks.  Today is warm and sunny and many insects are on the wing, so flycatching is easy for the adults.
recently fledged spotted flycatcher chick
adult feeding the chick

Elsewhere teasel and burdock attract peacock butterflies and bright yellow flowers of perforate St John's wort and agrimony add vibrant colour.

perforate St John's wort
Nearby, roadside verges are looking colourful in places, especially close to Upper Wardington with splashes of pale mauve field scabious.  I also identify hairy St John's wort in another verge.
field scabious

Yesterday (Friday 25th July) I ran back though the Upper Cherwell Valley stopping at Grimsbury Reservoir where there was a single little egret, then continuing along the new flood defences.  The new pool is now home to three little grebes, nearby thistly meadows attracting a flock of 70 plus goldfinches and there were five grey herons scattered along the route.  Most surprising were two snipe flushed from not particularly damp grass at the edge of the flood bank.  Purple loosestrife looks stunning too.
purple loosetrife
EA pool

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