GATLEY CARRS WILDLIFE REPORT APRIL-JUNE 2019
The mild and dry Spring continued through April and May, but the unsettled weather and periods of heavy rain in early June, perhaps promises a Summer of mixed weather to come.
Usual Spring flowers appeared at about usual time. Good banks of Bluebells, Spanish hybrids by the bird pond and English native ones by Green Close ditch. White Ransoms or wild Garlic followed by Gatley Brook. The orchard fruit trees and wild cherries were covered in blossom which seems to have set good fruit as there was no frost this year. Up to 20 Fritillaries appeared in WFM amongst the dense grasses.
Yellow seems to be the dominant flower colour this month with Dandelions. Geum or Wood Avens, Yellow Archangel, Flag Iris on the pond, Buttercups in WFM and pendulous flower spikes on Norway Maple and Sycamore. Excellent white Hawthorn (May) blossom, Guelder Rose and less obvious small 4 petalled flowers on the Spindle tree.
By June the adverse effects of the early cutting of the WFM last year in July for fire safety began to be evident. Few Yellow Rattle flowered, no Southern Marsh Orchids are yet to be seen among the dense and diverse flowering grasses. Elsewhere white is this month’s colour, few Ox-eye Daisies in WFM, Hogweed, Cow Parsley in grassland and Ground Ivy along path side with white Clover. Prolific display of white Elder flowers. Strap like leaves of Ribwort Plantain in WFM and broader parallel-veined leaves of Broad -leaved Plantain along path margins. Pink and purple flowers of Grass-leaved and Common Vetch in WFM together with early blue flowers of Meadow Cranesbill.
On 10th of June our local naturalist David Higginson–Tranter visited the Carrs and posted a list of insects seen on our Facebook page and his website www. funfalpunknature.co.uk. These include species of; moths (6), hoverflies (11), bugs (4), bees (4), ladybirds (3), flies (3) weevils (2), beetles, galls (11), common frog and the delicate small grassland fungus Ribbed Inkcap which resembles a ‘Japanese parasol’! Many thanks as always Dave!
Rumour has it that the white Runner ducks visited Albert Snape’s garden pond on Park Road while absent from the Carrs for a few days?! Amazing if true !
GATLEY CARRS WILDLIFE REPORT JANUARY – MARCH 2019
Yet again we have had a mild winter with only one snowfall and nearly a week of record high temperatures in February leading to early Spring appearances.
The New Year began with good displays of Hazel and Alder male catkins throughout the reserve.
The annual survey of bird and bat boxes revealed that we had lost >10 bird boxes and 2 bat boxes. Alan and Jim replaced 7 bird boxes and 2 bat boxes in February.
By the month end Snowdrops were bursting into flower.
The one day snowfall in freezing temperatures led to a spectacular icy tracery on trees and bushes, now adopted as our Facebook header and shown on display boards.
Scarlet Elf Cup fungi were photographed and shown on our Facebook page, as were the carpets of Snowdrops. Early Daffodils appeared although not so many of the original planting of wild ones by the upper field waste bin.
Furry ‘Pussy’willow catkins of Goat and Grey Willow were in flower by the month end.
The ‘Signs of Spring’ map and displays were on the wildlife board complementing Margaret’s seasonal paintings on the carpark board.
By the beginning of March Crocuses appeared by the orchard but were short lived as destroyed by SMBC tractor and mower.
Leaves of Wild Garlic were sprouting along Gatley Brook as were patches of green Golden Saxifrage.
The Spring flowering of the wild flower meadow, especially the Fritillaries, is uncertain at present as the grasses are very vigorous, not having been cut since July 2018.
The red catkins of male Black Poplar will soon be seen littering the paths near the Daffodils and Snowdrops. Hawthorns are coming into leaf and Blackthorn flowering soon.
The appearance of the sextet of Indian Runner ducks adds to our record of invasive species, terrapins, Kio carp and parakeets. These domestic flightless ducks are often used for entertainment in agricultural shows. A few years ago I saw of flock of 10 running through obstacles being herded by a sheep dog at the Kirkcudbight show in Scotland! Although attractive to children their survival is qustionable from dogs and foxes and hopefully will not affect the breeding of native waterfowl.
We have recently been reassured that finance is available for the removal of the dangerous dead Crack Willow trees by Gatley Brook path, so we hope that it will happen soon.