Dipping Pond Gatley Carrs

News & Events

Wildlife and Nature Report July-December 2017

Sunday, 1 Jan 2017


This report covers 6 months as I was in Australia for our September meeting.

JULY – Display: “ Big Butterfly Count”. Nationally a disappointing year on account of the unsettled and wet summer weather. Down, Meadow Brown -23%; Small White -37%; Large White -38%; Peacock -1%. ( I have full details) July 17th Entomologist Dave HT recorded 6 butterflies, 3 new hoverflies, 2 new moths, 8 new bugs, 2 new dragonflies, 2 new insect galls.

AUGUST – Display: “ Summer flowers in WFM and grassland” Several 60 year old Crack Willows by Gatley Brook path/ Jeffries’ fence dropped their leaves early suggesting that they are dying? Reported to Anthony Crook. Alan and group members cut back the willows by the bird pond.

SEPTEMBER – Display: “ Fruits and seeds, berries and nuts on the Carrs” Willow whips planted by motorway fence in spring were uprooted by vandals

OCTOBER – Display: “ Autumn Fungi” (October – November) October 22nd Autumn tree walk, only 2 attenders, poor weather and limited publicity largely only on car park board. On this walk we observed that the Crack Willows by Gatley Brook path were heavily infested with Honey Fungus, reinforcing possibility dead or dying? Still good group of Earthstars in motorway wood. Conservation Volunteers cleared bullrushes and scrub from the ponds and carr.

NOVEMBER – SMBC contractors cut WFM and grassland but also cut down a Horse Chestnut tree and particularly Rowan and Helsby memorial Sweet Chestnut in the orchard. Regret expressed by several older/former members who hope to have it replaced? John Rowlands has been informed but he is on sick leave after surgery. They also cut back woodland and scrubland in the motorway woodland without consultation! Successful making tree decorations on November 19th.

DECEMBER – Display: “ Carrs in Winter” (December – March 2018) Highly successful Christmas tree decoration, over 50 people with many families on Decembr 10th

Green Flag Community Award 2018/2019 application is to be made before January 31st 2018. It entails a full inspection so let us hope all has recovered from recent groundworks.



“Signs of Spring on the Carrs” recorded on the wildlife notice board showed that Spring this year was mostly slightly early, although the weather was drier than usual

MARCH Snowdrops in early February, Golden Saxifrage and ‘Pussy Willow’ late Feb, Daffodils early, Celandines early March as was the first flowers of Blackthorn.

APRIL Marsh Marigolds, Butterbur and Bluebells early as was Speedwell on the field, Starwort and Garlic Mustard. Excellent display of Fritillaries (60) in wildflower meadow, Hawthorn (May) blossom and Cuckoo Pint spathes by the month end.

MAY 7th Bird Walk – 10 people, 23 bird species seen or heard. 7 Canada goslings seen that day but they disappeared soon after.

21st Spring Tree & Flower Walk. Only Secretary and wildlife officer attended but many wildflowers seen and photos shown on Facebook. Mating Harlequin Lady birds seen, one black with red spots the other red with black spots, but both with white eye patches!

By mid-month Guelder Rose in flower, Horse Chestnut spindles and prolific hedge Parsley along the Gatley Brook path, and Flag Irises around the ponds. Marsh Orchids (17) in WFM by the end of the month

JUNE 6th Bat Walk – Led by Cheshire Bat Group on a wild and windy evening. Excellent talk (c. 20 people) then 15 people braved the wind to hear 1 Pipistrelle by Green Close ditch woodland and 1 by the pond! Mostly visitors braved the wind, members of bat group?

18th Nature Awareness Day – WFM in full flower, orchids, Bird’s foot trefoil and abundant Yellow Rattle spreading from the planted trial area. Ox-eye Daisies later here than in other localities, a usual feature.

Sadly few people attended although 1 family did pond dipping and found sticklebacks, water boatmen, leeches and 2 pop bottles!


This has been another mild but wet winter with few days of lying snow or ice on the ponds. Water level on the ponds has remained high and several areas of carr flooded.


Hazel and Alder catkins were hanging early in the New Year. “ Trees in Winter” walk on January 15th had 4 participants after a wet morning but was complemented by displays of “Buds and Twigs in Winter “ on the board.

Our friendly fungi expert, Dave HT, recorded 37 species of fungi on the Carrs on January 16th, 23 new. A good record but later this winter than usual. He submitted his records to Fungal Conservation Trust.

RSPB Big Bird Watch on January 29th by 6 observers and a family recorder 27 species in total.


Snowdrops in flower by February 4th to be joined by Daffodils, Golden Saxifrage and earliest Celandines before the month end. Mink was seen again, this time on Gatley Brook. The annual survey of boxes revealed 45 bird boxes and 9 bat boxes in position. The planned task day did not take place as we had no new boxes to erect and only 1 to repair.

Storm “Doris” this month brought down many twigs from Crack Willows and Black Poplars and also broke off the branches of the standing dead poplar just above the woodpecker nest hole. But we had no fallen trees so far this year.


“Signs of Spring” map and photos on the wildlife display board. ‘Pussy Willow’ catkins were on the Goat and Grey Willows. Lords and Ladies, Wild Garlic, Bluebells, Hedge Parsley and Hogweed all in leaf. Black Poplar male catkins, first flowers on the Blackthorn and leaf buds of Hawthorn, Elder and Spindle Tree all bursting by March 7th.

Excellent display of Jelly Ear fungus on dead Elder logs by Lorna Grove Bridge and Scarlet Elf Cups seen near the new motorway fence.

Common toad seen by Derek Brennan on Gatley Brook path on March 12th.

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