Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My first migrants from the South

On Wednesday 21 March, I took a  walk round the Kem Mill area of Cuerden Valley Park. Someone had reported mink but I saw no sign of this voracious predator. I was able to note  ivy leaved speedwell, heard about four chiffchaffs. These were my first summer visitors of the year. A lone toad hiding in the grass seemed to be making her way to the river Lostock. Two dippers flashed past but I could not see where they had their nest. They did not disturb three more pairs of toads that were mating. I also saw  lots of  Small Tortoiseshell butterflies also in pairs, as in the photo below. Finally for this day two pairs of coot were noted occupying their nests
Sat 24th saw Cuerden Watch group checking buckets of wood chip we had buried in September 2010. It is an experiment we borrowed from The People's Trust for Endangered Species, checking for whether stag beetles have moved into the area. No Stag Beetles discovered but we did have millipedes, centipedes, wood lice, and the biggest worm I have ever seen. Chiffchaffs today had increased to 6 individuals singing in the area of Cuerden we visited. It was a beautiful sunny day with small tortoiseshell and peacock butterflies in abundance.  A wood mouse hiding near a wood pile increased my total to 260.

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