Volunteers were out at the weekend on the monthly water bird survey (WeBS). It is good to see that the goldeneye are back. The tufted ducks weren’t all at Grafham Water and there were plenty to be seen on Island Pit, as well as a goosander. A great white egret on Pumphouse Pit and 6 little grebe on Heronry South were other highlights. Green sandpipers are also to be seen.
The following day, I had a walk down from Diddington and saw my first fieldfare near Boughton Lodge and plenty of redwings around the south of Island Pit.
Some more good news. We have found signs that we still have Harvest Mice. A few of us spent the morning with our heads in long grass looking for their spherical nests of tightly woven grass, Interestingly, an adult harvest mouse weighs about the same as a 2p coin, so the nest is not that big! They live, on average, about 1.5 years.
As the weather is staying mild, damselflies are remaining active and there are still regular sightings of the willow emerald. Also, flowers that should have finished by now. One of volunteers took a scarlet pimpernel home to look under the microscope. It is a small flower anyway, so the seed head is even smaller. It was what he found inside the seed head – a mite of the Phytophagus family- a mere 1mm long. I wonder if an even smaller mite lives on it!
Now, onto something that used to be much bigger, have you walked down the Ouse Valley Way recently? We have had several work parties down there recently to bring down the height of the canopy and produce better nesting and bird habitat. Yesterday was a particularly good turnout of 14, including 2 new volunteers. Always better than going to the gym, a sociable time was had and lots of tree felling and laying. We had a slightly late coffee break and, of course, a dark Kit-kat, so we could have a 2-minute silence at 11.0, as it was Remembrance Day.
Don’t forget to send your wildlife sightings at Paxton Pits into our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org or write them in the wildlife sightings book in the Visitor Centre