Wildlife update by Visitor Ranger Sophie Rolfe.

We’ve had some interesting sightings this month:

  • Grasshopper Warbler - spotted on Finch Meadow (photo right).
  • Tawny Owl
  • Barn Owl – most recently spotted at Sutton
  • Whooper Swan – still on the Rowing Lake at Thorpe Meadows. Main obvious difference between a Whooper Swan and Mute Swan is the beak colour – Whooper Swans beaks are black and yellow, Mute Swans beaks are orange
  • Swifts, Swallows and Sand Martins all still showing well across Ferry Meadows
  • Raven
  • Osprey – spotted passing through
  • Hobby – seen feeding over Heron Meadow
  • Cuckoo – heard calling around the Ham Mere area, Bluebell Wood and Long Meadow
  • Cygnets are still hatching – some very young ones were seen on the river this week
  • The other usual suspects! Great Crested Grebe, Tufted ducks, Kingfishers, Herons…
  • Various warblers – including Reed, Cetti’s and Sedge

 Other sightings/wildlife news:

  • Butterflies are seemingly having a slow season this year, our Green Hairstreaks are yet to be spotted but some fresh Brown Argus have been seen over the last week. Along with the other common species we’d expect this time of year – Speckled Wood, Orange Tip, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, and Holly Blue to name a couple
  • Wild flowers are doing well and everything is growing like crazy! Bee Orchids are coming up on the edge of Coach Car Park so please watch your step around there (see photo below). Meadow Saxifrage put on a good show in the garden at the offices and on the meadows at Sutton, which is great news as it is a nationally declining species.
  • The Common Seal at Thorpe Meadows is still hanging around, and was spotted sunbathing happily over the bank holiday weekend.

Things to look out for in June:

  • Butterflies – may go into what is known as the “June Gap” in the butterfly world. There is often a bit of a gap between the spring or first brood butterflies being on the wing, and the more summer suited species or second broods emerging. Often this is in June so there may be a drop in butterflies around
  • Watch the cygnets, ducklings, goslings and other young birds grow – it always amazes me how fast they grow!
  • The flower meadows should be looking near their best before hay cutting starts in July. Please clear dog mess up from these long grassy areas as dog mess in the hay crop can be detrimental to the health of livestock.
  • Wildlife survey volunteers will be carrying out some Rapid Grassland Assessment surveys on some of the larger meadows, to give us a general view of the health of the meadows.

As ever, please keep us informed if you spot anything exciting on your June walks and share your photographs with [email protected].