Saturday, 21 September 2013

Linacre WeBS Walk- September 2013

This month's WeBS walk took place this morning with myself, my nephew Luke and three other members of the Chesterfield RSPB Group (thank you everyone). We spent 3 hours walking around all 3 reservoirs and recorded 33 species of bird including a "patch tick" in the shape of a Hobby which was seen chasing a mixed flock of 20+ House Martins and 30+ Swallows high above the middle reservoir.

Other highlights this month included the first record of Wigeon since one single male bird in March this year (see here), with 8 on the middle reservoir, a Kingfisher on the middle reservoir as well and the flock of approximately 12 Crossbills in Larches on the south side of the middle reservoir!

Away from the middle reservoir we spotted the family party of Little Grebes (2 adults and 3 juveniles on the bottom reservoir, and another bird on the middle reservoir), 59 Mallards, 20 Tufted Ducks, 2 Cormorants, 4 Moorhens (3 adults and 1 juvenile), 3 Grey Wagtails (1 adult and 2 youngsters), 2 Pied Wagtails (the first since April), 25 Mandarin Ducks, 1 Canada Goose, 17 Coots and 3 Great-crested Grebes (2 adults and 1 juvenile).

Apart from the Crossbills, we also recorded 3 Common Buzzards, 1 Sparrowhawk, the usual Tit species, Treecreeper, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch and Goldcrest in the surrounding woodlands.

Finally, just one butterfly today, a Small White, and  I spotted a new plant species by the river at the top end of the site, which I believe is Water Mint. It smelt of mint when I rubbed the leaves anyway!

Water Mint
More worryingly, I also spotted a small patch of Himalayan Balsam, which, as the name suggest, isn't from around here. It is in fact, a very invasive non native species, which, if not controlled, will spread along water courses, crowding out native plants such as the Water Mint. Here's some more information about this plant from the North York Moors National Park website.

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