Stockbridge Nature Reserve Newsletter Summer 2017
On the first of June, there was no sign of Reed or Sedge Warbler on the Reserve which is not surprising after the recent heavy downpours. Four days later a Sedge was heard at the back of the reedbed but not recorder again until 9 July. It was pleasing to see a family of Greenfinch at the feeders mid-month with a pair with two young. A female Mallard guarded her eight ducklings but within a week she only had two left. The raspberry patch proved a big attraction with Blackcaps, Blackbirds and Whitethroat enjoying the fruit. A young Chiff-Chaff was recorded on 8 July and observers enjoyed watching Swifts flying low over the water to drink. The next day, a young Kingfisher arrived and perched on the wire cable in front of the hide.
Butterflies seen over the summer included a Brimstone, Comma, Ringlet, Speckled Wood and Meadow Brown. Mallards during the eclipse gathered in the evening with up to 32 birds at times. A Sedge Warbler turned up in the reedbed on 13 August and a young Reed Warbler was spotted low down in the willows on the last day of August. However, neither species is believed to have bred on the Reserve this year. Frequent visits by young Bullfinches were enjoyed.
During this period, little management of the Reserve was undertaken so as not to disturb breeding birds. However, the flooding which took place on Boxing Day, two years ago, has introduced a great number of seeds from Himalayan Balsam so some limited pulling took place especially around the reedbed area. Special notice was made as to whether Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler were breeding. The plants outgrew the height of the common reed (see photograph). This work will be ongoing for some time.
There is always a lot of water mint growing on the Reserve and also Marsh Woundwort (pictured), which is from the mint family. I read that the plant was used to heal wounds and was more effective than a more orthodox herbal method. It was often used on people who had been badly wounded in tavern brawls.
From now until March, there will be working parties down on the Reserve. If you are interested in helping and are a member of BOG, please contact me and I shall let you know the dates concerned.
If you wish to visit the Reserve you will have to be a B.O.G. Member. Please contact me on 01274 770960 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.