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Dug out burow

Dug out burrow in Pennsland Lane hedge

We very rarely see Rabbits on the LLP despite them being often seen on neighbouring land in the valley. Most of their signs are droppings on the path in the Main Field near the First Field Shelter. However, Mateo spotted quite a few at night with the thermal imager in September and with the winter dieback of vegetation several Rabbit size holes were spotted in the hedge near the Field Shelter. On the 2nd there was evidence of digging outside one of the lower holes and what is probably nesting material, a mixture of fur and dried grass.

Four Mandarin Ducks flew up from the Frog spawn in the Watercress patch in the Flo Pond late morning on the 4th and the Ealy Purple Orchids were emerging in the mown patch in Kiln Close. On the 7th Harry and Tim started putting in the corner posts for the 2nd Field Shelter in Kiln Close.

The two young Almond trees in the Orchard were starting to produce their delicate pink blossom by the 12th.  Celandines were appearing in the rough grassland. Blubell leaves were emerging in Corner Wood and along the Apprentice Path and there also were lots of Primrose leaves appearing in Corner Wood. Harry and Josh began the winter pruning of the Apple trees in Forde Orchard on the 14th and on the 15th the first of the Tadpoles in the ponds had hatched. On the 16th the Conservation Team and volunteers finished hedge laying the top wall in Forde Orchard and burned up the brash.

Tadpoles february 2024 (1)

A Fox Moth Caterpillar was seen on the Long Path in the Main Field on the 18th and on the 20th, Mateo led six visitors on a Winter Bird Walk around the reserve. Unfortunately, most of the seed in the winter bird food crop had gone and very few birds were seen just Robin, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Goldcrest, Starling, Buzzard, Herring Gull, and Carion Crow. On the 23rd the was a pair of Stonechat on the crop, Grey Wagtail on the Ashburn beside the Apprentice Path. We also saw the first blossom on the Blackthorn in the Kiln Close hedge. A mixed flock of Blue, Great, Coal, Long-tailed Tits and a pair of Marsh Tits were seen near the ponds on the 26th.

The wild bird food crop area will be extended this year, and this area was mown on the 27th and on the 28th mowing of the crop was started. Pip and Harry took down the electric fence around the winter bird crop, putting up a smaller one around the allotment plots.

On the 29th a pale Buzzard was seen flying up from the ground where the cutting had happened. A pair of Mandarin Ducks flew up from the river where the abstraction pipes are. This is very close to the nestbox used last year so we are hopeful they might nest again.

The mean temperature for February was 8.5°C significantly above the average for the month here of 6.36°C and the 2nd highest we’ve recorded in 18-years, (2022 was 8.9°C). We had 20-days with rain and a total of 271.8mm (average 117.57mm). This is the 2nd highest rainfall for February recorded here, topped by 308.5mm in 2020.