Friday 31 March 2017

Toads breeding and a Brimstone Butterfly

This afternoon we had a walk round, checking a few birds' nests, and we saw a male Brimstone Butterfly flying over the Sphagnum Bog. The female apparently can be mistaken for a Large White, but this was a strong yellow, so I assume it was a male.

Ten Chiff-chaffs singing round Brookfoot and Tag Loops, and a singing Blackcap near Brookfoot Lock, my first Blackcap of the year. I know someone heard one already.

When we were on Tag Loop, near the pylon, I thought I heard toads chirping, and when we went up to the fence, we could see a colony of them breeding in the old lock. Spawn was visible among the water-plants now and again. I didn't know there was a breeding spot here. Does anyone know where Shelagh's mating pair would be heading. (Previous post.)

A pair of Long-tailed Tits were pecking lichen from the willows to cover their nest with a cloak of   invisibility (well almost.)

Wednesday 29 March 2017

This female toad and her passenger were spotted this morning at the bund bridge on the lagoon, making their way towards the water.

Well spotted by Shelagh!



Thursday 23 March 2017

What did we do today?

...... You got it - we planted some more trees! We must be near the 1000 mark by now?
We're looking forward to them becoming a hedgerow of blossom and berries in the not too distant future. 
We've had lots of help from regular volunteers, newcomers and local scouts - it is truly appreciated, so please spread the word about making a difference at Cromwell Bottom, Thank you. 

Wednesday 22 March 2017


BIRD SURVEY March 18th 2017
The weather was not very kind to-day; overcast, windy and threatening rain, but not cold. Despite this many birds were singing; thrushes both mistle and song, robins dunnocks,  blue tits, great tits, and wrens. Our first summer warbler visitor, chiffchaffs were also in good voice. His song is really welcome even though after a while it can become annoying with its repetitive sound.
Alan and David surveyed both North Loop meadow and the hay meadow. They noted that though North Loop had a good variety of birds the hay meadow was very quiet. One possible reason could be the extra disturbance that occurs there.
Mike, Steve and Jane found more birds (small passerines)  away from the canal path (not surprisingly) and on the ‘bund’ heard ,but did not see,  both water rail (pig squealing sound)  and coot coming from the reed-bed area.
The feeding area was very quiet and we realised it was because there was very little food out but there were plenty of birds in the cabin feeding station.
You do not have to be an expert at identifying birds to join us on these surveys, though it is useful to have a pair of binoculars. Do come along and give us extra ‘eyes’, please.

Jane Uttley

Mute swan 1 ad 4 juv           Great tit 7
Canada goose 15                   Long tailed tit   2    
Shelduck 1 (F)                       Wren  5
Mallard   8                             Goldcrest 1 
Teal 3                                      Chiffchaff 2
Goosander   1                         Nuthatch 1
Cormorant   11                       Blackbird  6
Grey heron 4                          Song thrush  1
Buzzard 1                                Mistle thrush 3
Kestrel 1                                  Robin  7
Water rail (Heard)                Dunnock  5
Coot (Hear)                            Meadow pipit  4
Moorhen   1                            Chaffinch  8
Oystercatcher 2                     Goldfinch  6
Snipe 3                                    Linnet 15/20
Stock dove   2                         Bullfinch 12
Wood pigeon   30/40           Siskin  4
Jackdaw 18                             Lesser redpoll 2
Magpie   4                               Reed bunting   1
Carrion crow 8                      41 Species
Jay 2                                        Mammals
Blue tit   10                             Roe Deer  1
                                                  Grey Squirrel 2

Sunday 19 March 2017

Redpoll at the cabin and a deer near the feeders.

A very welcome couple of visitors for the third bird survey yesterday.

Friday 17 March 2017


Hi all
The Cromwell Bottom Footbridge will be open every weekend now for the foreseeable future.

Saturday 11 March 2017

The Countryside and Woodlands e-newsletter

The Countryside and Woodlands team will be launching their e-newsletter later this month. If you would like to be on the circulation list, please e-mail


Tuesday 7 March 2017

Cracking Cromwell

      Had a cracking day at Cromwell today and bumped into
      visitors from Leeds & Huddersfield.
      4 Teal were on the lagoon, 5 Goosander up by the weir
      and Siskin and Goldcrest about in the woods.
      28 species spotted on the morning.
      and the weather held up.


Sunday 5 March 2017

Nice to see the Jays back

A couple popped into the feeding area today.

Saturday 4 March 2017

Sparrowhawk This Morning

Grabbed this pic of a sparrowhawk (male?) on the reserve today just after it had missed grabbing a bluetit for brunch. And for those missing the jays, four flew over the feeding area together but didn't drop in.

Wednesday 1 March 2017

Spring 2017 Newsletter

Our latest Newsletter, Spring 2017, is now available. This will be sent to all our Members automatically in the next day os so.

If any Member does not receive it by Saturday then please contact us.

If you are not a Member and would like join us to help maintain our Reserve and receive all Newsletters to date then visit us in the Cabin or fill in the form on the right. We will contact you as soon as possible.

Watching birds is good for your health

Research from Exeter University finds that watching birds near your home is good for your mental-wellbeing.  An interesting part of the findings is the link between mental-wellbeing and birds seen in the afternoon:

Nest Box Research

This report from the BBC about nest boxes and natural nesting sites may be of interest to some of you.  The take-away is that both forms of nesting have their pros and cons, though in the long-term natural cavities would appear to be the best form: