30/04/2014 Calm, sunny later.
A better night's mothing than of late with 11 species including these:


A spontaneous badger watch was thwarted by one seeing me before I saw it.

29/04/2014 13:00 - 15:00. Warm and sunny becoming cloudy and humid.
Nothing notable - just a lot of common butterflies, birds, sunshine, twittering and buzzing....



and ducklings in the brook

28/04/2014 Thin cloud. Warm.
A Holly Blue in the garden.

27/04/2014 09:30 - 11:30. Partial Cloud. Warm.
Lesser Whitethroats everywhere have now been joined by many Whitethroats. 2 Grey Partridge, a Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk was otherwise all the birds that are worth a mention, though 7 Greylags oblivious to passing walkers and dogs on the public footpath is a bit odd. Red Campion is in flower along with Garlic Mustard and the first Cow Parsley and I saw my first Bee-fly of the spring.






25/04/2014 Drizzly and cloudy
A gardening morning was alleviated by a Skylark singing overhead. The nearest fields are a hundred metres away so this is a little unusual but nevertheless, it was eclipsed by a Red Kite at the side of the A60 between Bradmore and Ruddington (at about 2pm) which I at first thought was a harrier: I was driving, so views were "snatchy" and required a spectacular (but perfectly safe) halt at the bumpy lay-by for confirmation (even though my passenger daughter had said "kite" at a glance!).

23/04/2014 11:00 - 13:00 Warm and mainly sunny
A single Wheatear was in the horse pastures along with a couple of Grey-lags. Many Lesser Whitethroats, a Kestrel, plus good numbers of butterflies including the first 3 Speckled Wood and dozens of Orange-tip.
I've seen sheep bend their front legs at the "elbows" to make grazing easier but I don't think I've seen one lie on its chest to get closer to the grass before!
A Dunnock was at a garden seed feeder again - I saw it for the first time a few weeks ago. How unusual is this?

22/04/2014 Rain and more rain
A Pebble Prominent managed to find a dry spot in the rather soggy egg boxes but the meadow was given a miss.

21/04/2014 09:00 - 10:30. Dull and cool (brightening later)
Resident Swallows now seem to be well established with several being seen throughout the walk but the four or five House Martins (my first this year) were just passing through. Other birds seen or heard included a Lapwing, 2 Grey Partridge, Moorhen, 2 Bullfinches, a few Goldfinches and several Lesser Whitethroats.

In the evening a badger-watching session drew a blank for its intended fauna but a Little Owl was calling and then when it was properly dark a squeaky commotion was presumed to be generated by Fox cubs.

20/04/2014 Dry dawn then rain then cloud then more rain.
It doesn't take much to stop me gardening; I thought this was a rather attractive slug (as slugs go) so I took its portrait and identified it. I think its the first time I've bothered to identify a slug. It is a Yellow Slug (Limax flavus) and it is common.

16:30-17:30. Dry and windy but still murky.
A Hobby was the star but I'd have preferred a better and more prolonged view. It was spotted among some Black-headed Gulls before careering out of sight and being picked up again 400 metres away, harassing a Buzzard. About 20 Linnets were also in the fields and a couple of Swallows back up the lane.


19/04/2014 04:45-07:00. Light frost.
Old Wood dawn chorus began with Pheasant at 04:50 and Woodpigeon at 04:54 and by 05.00 it was pretty much in full swing. Wrens and Robins were everywhere and there seemed to be at least three Song Thrushes. We also heard Blackcaps, Blackbirds, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Carrion Crow, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, and Chiffchaffs but what was more surprising is what we didn't hear as these included Chaffinch, Willow Warbler and Dunnock. Bluebells and Wood Anemones are in flower and a couple of us saw a Roe Deer bounding away and 3 Greylag Geese.

09:30-10:30. Cloudy, chilly north-east breeze
Two Swallows, a White Wagtail and a Green Woodpecker were all that is worth mentioning from a quick check of the area. The escaped puma theory can be explained away by the lamb having drowned itself in a trough. It had been dumped in a corner of a barn and dragged away by a fox. No moths overnight.

18/04/2014 09:30-10:30. Sunny with a chilly northerly breeze.
Two Wheatears and a White Wagtail were the returns for a very brief skirting of Fox Hill.
The Great Cat of Keyworth is on the loose and Tim's one lamb down.

16/04/2014 09:30 - 10:30. Sunny with a cold breeze.
A Yellow Wagtail and a Swallow cheered the brief morning visit. 2 Pied Wagtails, a few Linnets, the resident Tree Sparrows and a Buzzard completes the birds of remotest interest. Several Small Tortoiseshells and Peacocks were fluttering about in the cold stiff breeze trying to find a sheltered sun-trap. Elm in blossom.


15/04/2014 11:00. Sunny and warm.
My gardening was interrupted by some of the male Smooth Newts in the garden pond.


14/04/2014 10:00-10:45. Sunny but chilly breeze.
Only time for a quick circuit of Fox Hill and nothing of migrant interest there but 5 Linnets were a small consolation. The Water-crowfoot in what I call Wolds Pond is Ranunculus aquatilis (Common W-c) I think.

Beyond the parish boundary, but while I'm posting old photos, locals might like to see this one of the Pendock Lane junction with Loughborough Road at Bradmore taken with my 'Kodak Instamatic' about 1965 (for whatever reason, I can't imagine!)

13/04/2014 08:00-10:30. Cloudless start with cold breeze.
My first two Swallows skimmed low northwards. Just one Wheatear but an early Lesser Whitethroat was singing from the laneside hedge. Two Buzzards a Green Woodpecker and several Chiffchaffs.
It's not only dogs that go walkies along the lane. Jacob on the right.

And when the sun shines even Goosegrass/Cleavers can look pretty.


11/04/2014 Calm, slightly overcast.
Along with the Early Thorn, Emmelina monodactyla, Double-striped Pug, Common Quaker, Hebrew Character and Early Greys this morning, a Purple Thorn was new for the year in the garden trap.

Here are a couple of photos I took in early 1978. I'm sorry for the quality - they are just photographs of the original slides but I thought they might be of interest to regular visitors as they clearly show how devoid of bankside vegetation the brook used to be. The first is looking upstream from the southern corner of the Meadow and I think the other is looking downstream from a similar position but I'm not certain of that.


It's interesting to compare them with Rob Inglis's photo on the Sailors at Fairham Brook page and if anyone else has pictures of the brook, the Meadow or indeed the Lings Lane area that they think might enhance the site, please either email them to me or let me borrow the prints or slides and I will digitise them (in a fashion!). Email address at foot of page.
No Wheatears nor any spring migrants during a swift excursion, though once again a couple of commoners muscled in:


10/04/2014 Sunny, near calm.9:30-11:30.
Nothing in the fields of interest by way of migrants and a disappointing session was only livened up by a passing Raven. A first for the Meadow area this year but Mike Reid beat me to the credit with a pair flying over last week. Rubbish composite record shot below:

Lots of plants are now in flower including Charlock and these Cuckooflower which are a few weeks earlier than normal.

I jotted down several more including Cow Parsley, Red Campion, Cowlslip, Red Dead-nettle and Germander Speedwell. Butterfly Bank is slowly being colonised and as well as the Creeping Thistles are several plants that I think will be new to the reserve but which I can't identify until they flower although one looks like it might be Wild Strawberry - if it is I will be well pleased.
A common site along the lane is the youngsters enjoying a ride from Tim and Marjorie's stables with assistance from slightly less young enthusiasts.

And a few common birds insisted on having their picture taken:

09/04/2014 Sunny, less cold.9:30-11:00.
A Wheatear in one of the lower fields may have been the same bird as yesterday, though it wasn't around for an evening visit by Ian (though several Swallows were). An hour later it had been joined by another (both male). Although I regularly look beneath tins for Grass Snakes I've yet to uncover one, however Field Voles are often surprised by the sudden daylight. This one remained confused for longer than usual.

A couple of days ago, Ian reported a White Wagtail and I said it was a first, well I think I may not have been sufficiently open-minded as I would have passed this of as a Pied had it not stayed for a photo.

The sunshine brought several birds out of the shadows including this Chiffchaff, which was one of four singing in the Meadow where there was also a Blackcap in song.

Other birds included two single flyby Lapwings, A hunting Kestrel (the first for some time), one Fieldfare, a Moorhen calling from the brook and amongst the commoner fare were Yellowhammers, Greenfinches, Red-legged Partridge, these two male Reed Buntings

and this House Sparrow, which is one of a resident flock of about 20 at the top of the lane.

08/04/2014 Sunny but cold westerly wind..
A Wheatear today but only the one and nothing else to report from a brief early(ish) visit except that the Rabbits were active.


06/04/2014 Light rain overnight. Breezy.
I met Tree Sparrow ringer, Ian Blackmore for the first time today, but even our combined efforts could not unearth a Wheatear, though yesterday, he managed to see a first for the area in the shape of a White Wagtail. Later, I did at least find a couple of Chiffchaffs in the Meadow, and elsewhere, there were 4 Pied Wagtails, 2 Herons and 2 Greylags. Whilst chatting to Ian, I said how rare Meadow Pipits were in the Lings Lane area and lo and behold, I came across one in the big arable field shortly after we parted company. The sink, the trailer and the roller have all gone but the recumbent remains.

04/04/2014 Dank and dreary, but mild.
No migrants again, The resident Green Woodpecker put in an appearance and there were 78 Fieldfares on Fox Hill. A resident has provided a thoughtful touch for the weary walker.

And Tim and Marjorie have some freebies available - the Green Machine recumbent cycle looks fun.

02/04/2014 Dull, eerie start to the day.
Amongst the expected moths this morning was a fresh Pale Mottled Willow. A common enough moth here but unusual so early in the season. Typical first dates are between 4th May and 16th June but in 2012 I had one on March 26th (the very warm spring). It's tempting to conclude today's is an immigrant given its presence at a time of Saharan dust deposits. No migrants on a Fox Hill, exposed to the chilly easterly breeze, but a hundred so Fieldfares still around.