The first woodpecker of 2020 was heard today, wed 5th February, on Cherry Orchard  Nature Reserve. It’s not unusual  to hear the tapping of these  birds at this time of year.

Of the three species of woodpecker found in Britain, the great spotted is the most likely to be seen in our gardens at any time of the year but during February it isn’t the sight of one which is most appealing, but the sound.

Now is the time the trees begin to take a hammering as great spotted woodpeckers establish their territories.

These starling-sized black and white birds don’t have a song to advertise ownership of their chosen patch of woodland, so they make themselves known by drumming on dead trees with their powerful bills.

The Great spotted woodpecker is the most common of only three species of woodpecker in the UK, the other two being the Lesser spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopus minor) and the Green woodpecker (Picus viridus). It is present all year round, apart from in extreme northern parts of Scotland, and is famed for its rapid drumming on the sides of trees. The Great spotted woodpecker is, without a doubt, one of the more striking species of bird in the UK.

Of colourful hue and memorable pattern, the Great spotted woodpecker is a stout bird, with black and white spotted wings and two main red patches (head and underbelly); the scarlet patch on the back of the (male) woodpecker’s head is a distinct and unique feature. A simple confusion can often emerge from the fact a young Great spotted woodpecker displays a scarlet patch on top of its head, which disappears after the first moult; these young birds can be easily identified as Lesser spotted woodpeckers, when in fact they’re not.

Swallows Leave-29 Sep 2019

A huge “flight” or a “gulp”of Swallows amassed over the Cherry Orchard Nature Reserve yesterday, by far the most Swallows spotted over the nature reserve EVER.

That’s how big and absolutely amazing the whole spectacle was to observe.  On one hand it was a heart stopping moment but on the other it was a melancholic sight also; the little beauties were gathering to go home for the Winter, leaving behind all the potential bad weather we have coming to us.

Hurry on Spring 2020.

Muntjac deer spotted 14 May 2019

This would be the second sighting of a Muntjac deer on the CONR, the first being three years ago. The one spotted this time was actually near to the road  by the small model railway site.

How they get into the nature reserve is still a mystery, but it’s possible they travel along the river bank.

Muntjacs, also known as barking deer and Mastreani deer, are small deer of the genus Muntiacus native to south Asia. Muntjacs are thought to have begun appearing 15–35 million years ago, with remains found in Miocene deposits in France, Germany and Poland

First swallows of 2019

The return of the swallows were noted on 13 May. For the last few years the swallows have not been as numerious as in previous years, however let’s hope that this year they will gain in numbers.

One of the theories that are doing the rounds are that there are less insects to keep the swallows in one place for very long, and each year there are fewer and fewer birds.

The swallows, martins and saw-wings, or Hirundinidae, are a family of passerine birds found around the world on all continents, including occasionally in Antarctica. Highly adapted to aerial feeding, they have a distinctive appearance. The term Swallow is used colloquially in Europe as a synonym for the barn swallow

Kestrel spotted -2019

The Kestrel has been absent fron Cherry Orchard Nature Reserve for some years now, but one was spotted hovering over the reserve today (May 4th 2019).

Kestrel Falco tinnunculus, female in flight/hovering in early morning light, Hungary, May

Kestrels are most easily distinguished by their typical hunting behaviour which is to hover at a height of around 10–20 metres over open country and swoop down on prey, usually small mammals, lizards or large insects

First Cuckoo of 2019

On the 16 April 2019 a cuckoo was heard. It seems to have stayed because it’s been heard a few times since.
The calls are used in order to demonstrate ownership of a territory and to attract a mate.