Stockbridge Nature Reserve Newsletter – Autumn 2017
Some of the sightings during the period September to November 2017 relate to last sightings of birds moving on to warmer climates. September saw records of Whitethroat and Willow Warbler on 17th and Swallow on the same day. Two Chiff-Chaffs were seen on the same day but that species was also recorded on 28th when three birds were on the Reserve. That same day, Water Rail was heard and seen under the willows and recorded regularly throughout November after being missing during October. A female Teal visited on 21st along with a flock of 26 Goldfinches. On the 28th, 130 Pinkfoot Geese flew east.
A feeding party passed through the Reserve on 5th October and included a Treecreeper and Nuthatch, birds not seen very often here. Two Cormorants fished in the lake on 15th whilst 70 Pinkfoot flew high overhead going west. A Siskin was recorded on 19th along with a family of three young Pheasants. An observer enjoyed watching a Kingfisher for 15 minutes preening whilst perched on the wire in front of the hide.
This month gave plenty of views of the Water Rail including it walking carefully on the ice. A male Sparrowhawk flew across from the riverside and perched in the willows in front of the hide. It’s attention to preening took so long that the birds returned to the nearby feeders totally ignoring the raptor. During a cold period, the Reserve was visited by four Herring Gulls who searched the fringes of the ice looking for food.
A VIP bird recorded was Little Egret which unfortunately only stayed for a few minutes on 24th of September.
A close inspection of areas of rush showed evidence of Field Vole activity with rush cuttings found along with the vole’s droppings. The Bank Vole was also recorded as the mammal swiftly moved out from below a wall to grab some of the bird food laid out on the surface of the wall.
A Red Admiral Butterfly was recorded as late as 15 November whilst the Kestrel Box has been (temporarily) taken over by a Grey Squirrel. Removal of the twigs in the box should keep it clear for Kestrels to move in.
Work was undertaken to keep the ponds and ditches clear. Also members have helped to cut back the willows growing.