Simply stunning…and!

Yesterday I was stopped in my tracks when I noticed this lovely Common Primrose Primula vulgaris growing in all it’s glory at Raw Nook NR.

However, when I got home I started to wonder…Come to think of it, I know the species is established at TH Beck but no sure I had seen it before at RN. So a quick look on my database and yes it’s a new species for Raw Nook NR…Great!

If you want to lift your spirits the plant can be found just off the path in the meadow by the bench, just before the gate to the woodland area.

At last some evidence

The Coal tit is a regular bird in our area feeding in gardens as well as been regular at all our three sites. I have even seen juveniles been fed at Raw Nook Nr suggesting that the species probable breed there but I have no actual evidence. Also Coal Tits nest naturally in holes in trees and stumps, under roots or rocks and in holes in the ground making observation difficult.

However, today at raw Nook NR I came across a calling Coal tit. Then suddenly another Coal tit came up from the base of an old Silver birch tree. The pair met and calling bird (possibly the male) fed the other bird.

I moved away and the pair went to a nearby tree. OK….not definitive proof of breeding but I will keep a distant watch on the site and hopefully fingers crossed may get some further supportive evidence of breeding.

Also this morning a stunning male Common Redstart (passage bird) was at Caldene fields and 2 new Willow warbler were in full song at Raw Nook Nr.

Small fire at Raw Nook NR

Sadly there was a small fire at Raw Nook on Sunday night at around 20.45. The fire had been started deliberately as I found a large quantity of unburnt paper under the logs and a near by red plastic bag with yet more paper in it. The fire was unattended and I managed to put it out before it had chance to spread.

This type of behaviour is really concerning as whilst there should be no fires at this public nature reserve, this fire was left unattended and started deliberately and if there had been a strong wind….Well!….

With the dry spring we are having and the possibility of little rain forecast we will all have to raise our awareness of this anti social behaviour.

Sorry…. moan over!

Looking for spring migrants at Low Moor Banks

Spring migration is slowly getting underway despite the winds coming from the less favourable northerly quarter instead of a southerly airflow.

However, today I thought I would see what migrants were at Low Moor Bank ( old Low Moor tip opposite Dealburn Road, Low Moor) . When I arrived I could hear a distant Chiffchaff singing at the very top of the sight which was a good sign. I then found a further 3 singing males at various point around the site. Sadly I did not find or hear any Willow Warblers hopefully they are still on route. There were also two individual male Blackcaps in full song trying to attract passing females.

In total I found 18 different species ( including above ) and all records/numbers have been uploaded onto my Low Moor Banks database.

Redshank and Tree Creeper!

Received an email from Mark a birder from Wibsey who told me some exciting news. On the 2/4/ he was in Raw Nook NR when he saw a Tree Creeper in the wet woodland area before it gradually moved off towards the pond area. This is a good sighting as the TCs I have seen have all been in autumn and have probably been birds from Odsal woods where the species is resident.

Then on the 3/4/ at around 6pm he was again in Raw Nook NR when he disturbed a Redshank from the dried up pond which flew off and landed in Caldene fields then sadly out of sight.

This is the second known record of this (rare to south Bradford) passage wader to this pond and interestingly my last sighting in 1990 was also in March.

So whilst I knew I wouldn’t be able to see the passage Redshank I thought I would work Raw Nook NR this morning to look for the Tree Creeper.

Unfortunately I had no joy. But there was a newly arrived Willow Warbler in full song as well as a single male Blackcap again in full song.

Four Chiff-chaffs were trying to claim territories and a bit of a surprise was a pair of Lesser Redpoll. However, I think these may have been passage birds as twice they flew from the Silver Birches only to return again to feed,

Found this female Blackbird who was so intent with finishing off her nest she never noticed how close I was to her.

Amphibian survey and rescue

Peter Gurney of YWT organised an amphibian survey at Raw Nook NR for the evening of the 1/4/21. This coincided nicely with the drying out of the pond at Raw Nook NR so as well as doing survey work we were on a rescue mission as well.

It wasn’t long before we came across 3 pairs of mating Common Toads in a small pool at Raw Nook NR.

We also found a freshwater Leech species and a single Smooth Newt.

Whilst we found evidence of very small tadpoles no adult Common Frogs were seen. However, given the Frogs have bred and the night was cold the adults may have been feeding away from the water.

We then moved on to the dried up pond. The sight was not welcoming as a number of dead frogs and adult Toads and their strings of eggs were laying on the open ground.

However, all was not lost as we pick another 3 mating pairs of Toads as well as a number of singles and took them to the flooded pools.

Peter rescuing 2 pairs of mating Toads from the dried up pond.

So the survey revealed 19 male and female Common Toads and 1 Smooth newt as well as a large quantity of Toad spawn and a medium amount of very small tadpoles.

Saving the Frogs and Toads

Sadly once again our pond at Raw Nook NR has drained again which is probably due to a break in the clay base. A few days ago it held some water but with the hot weather on Tuesday and Wednesday the water drained very quickly. I went down today to find the pond had dried up with small amounts of dying frog spawn which could not be saved. Walking off from the pond I felt dejected that the problems with the pond has caused yet again the deaths of a number of amphibians.

However, I was in for a surprise!. I met a lovely couple that had quickly seen what was happing and in a matter of hours had managed to save a good amount of spawn and had placed it into water courses nearby. They also stated that they had moved about 10 pairs of frogs and 6 pairs of mating toads. So top marks for there quick thinking! and dedicated conservation work

I must admit Raw Nook NR is looking and sounding lovely at the moment. The spring bulbs are showing really well and there was certainly love in the air with male Wrens, Robins and Blackbirds all in full song trying to attract a mate.

Yesterday with the exceptional warm weather I thought I would try the moth trap to see what spring moths were about. It was a reasonable haul with 12 Common Quakers, 4 Small Quakers, a single Twin spotted Quaker ( second every record and a fresh Brindled Pug (below).

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