All posts by Steve Parkes

Welcome return visit from Burley Walking Festival 25 August

We welcomed 25 walkers from the Burley Walking Festival on Saturday. Organised by David Asher the group joined us at the informal entrance at the Burley end and spent an hour on the reserve.  With sunshine we had the best weather of the bank holiday bringing out a good number of speckled wood and brown hawkers, whilst the kingfishers didn’t make an appearance we did have good views of post-breeding curlews in the field opposite. Thanks to Steve Peel who have an impromptu talk to the group on the mini-meadow and grasslands.

Earlier in the day, Mick Brear had good sightings of male and female kingfishers by the bench, we also had 4 brown hawkers, a pair of little egret flying up river and great views of a brimstone feeding on knapweed.   Its been a bumper summer for blackberries which are now just passing their best

Steve

Thanks Again to the Harrogate Open Country Team!

A big thank you to the Open Country team whose Friday work group visited us for the second time this year. Their March visit was on one of the coldest days of the year with a windchill making it feel more like -6C.  Their visit on 3rd August proved very eventful weatherwise as well, it started off hot and very muggy, then after lunch and cakes by the river ( it was one of the groups birthdays ), we had torrential rain/thunderstorm. The riverside trees provide shelter for about 15mins before the heavens opened. We retired to the mini bus to wait for the rain to stop.. and which point another cake appeared! We then went back for another 1hr –a determined lot, these guys.  We managed to clear a lot of bramble from the orchid meadow. Thanks to Steve Peel for popping down and Diane for helping out (sorry you missed the beetroot cake)

 

 

Open Country Aug 18

BRGP Welcomes New Visitors

A busy weekend , Sat 16 June  we were at Ben Rhydding Fete, where we promoted the reserve to the local community, alongside the great work of WNS, hedgehog records and woolly bear caterpillars! Am sure we will get a few more visitors especially as its peak orchid time, and may be a few more volunteers ?  Thanks to Debbie, Dave, Catherine, Phil and Karen.

Sunday 17 June, we welcomed a visit by 24 walkers from  Burley Walking Group organised by David Asher . We timed the walk to coincide with peak orchid time and they didn’t disappoint. Around 10 or so of the walkers hadn’t visited the site before so it was great to introduce some new people.Whilst there was no kingfisher, there weer 10 or sand martins and a female goosander and 3 young on the river gravels. There were good numbers of damsels, a couple of speckled woods and a dingy? skipper

End of May brings a White Pheasant

This female pheasant was spotted on the reserve on the 31 May, its a white bird – not albino ( as can be seen but its normal coloured iris). These birds are believed to be “genetic throwbacks” – although some folk believe they are “marker” birds used by gamekeepers to locate flocks. The bird was covering 2 chicks before I inadvertently disturbed  it.  My initial view was that it had done well to survive to breed, but then again given its size  its only likely to be predated by a fox!

Steve

!white pheasant 31_05_18 s

Bird Sightings 24 March

A brief afternoon visit produced a good variety of birds including 3 goosander and a pair of oystercatcher on the fence posts on the opposite bank. With a singing chiffchaff and the lambs bleeting  in the field opposite it definitely felt like spring. On the reserve the primroses on the bank were coming into flower and kingcup  in the ditch were just coming into bud.

Workgroup Highlights Jan 13th Egret and Woodcock

A new year and and a resolution to post news more frequently!

Very few birds on the reserve, today, we had hoped for some winter thrushes but with few hawthorn berries it was perhaps no surprise.  However what we lacked in quantity we made with quality.  Checking out the effectiveness of some of the glade creation we did about 4yrs ago I flushed out a woodcock from the woods. The bird flew fast and silent out of the trees in a NE direction.  BRGP isn’t a site you would anticipate seeing a woodcock, but this small woodland is reasonably wet and there are other woods in the vicinity. Our native birds are also joined by large numbers from Russia and Finland so increasing the odds of disturbing a bird.  I believe this is a first for the reserve!

We were delighted for our first view of little egret for the year. The bird was initially 200 m distant at first – in the vicinity of the small beck that runs into the river about half way along the reserve. Fortunately for us it was disturbed by 1 of 3 red kites which kept harassing it for about 5 minutes drawing it until eventually flew along the river.  I mentioned the sighting to a dog walker, who visits the reserve  frequently – usually in the evening. He remarked that he had seen the egret roosting in a tree over the lagoon on a few occasions- something I will definitely follow up in particularly when the evenings start getting a bit lighter

The other notable sighting was a weasel which ran along the riverside path ( I have seen them before up near the entrance

Steve Parkes

New Spring Arrivals 20 April

Sand martins now number over 50, the best we have had for many years.  The blackcaps and chiff chaffs have now been joined by willow warblers. With the river being so low the gravels and muddy banks have attracted a pair of redshank and a pair of common sandpiper. A female sparrowhawk was around I assume targeting the blue, great and long tailed tits and dunnocks ,, since we don’t have any sparrows!  A young duckling was calling from the top of the bank between  the river and pond, hopefully it was located by its mother before being spotted by the sparrowhawk.   Steve

Work Group Dates 2016

Please contact Steve Parkes on 07770 840156 or parkes.steve@hotmail.co.uk  if you would like to attend

We generally meet 2nd Saturday of the month from 9.30-12.30

March 12th 2016

April 9th 2016

May 14th 2016

June 11th 2016

July 9th 2016

August 13th 2016

September 10th 2016

October 8th 2016

November 12th 2016

December 10th 2016