A few memories of Railway Fields from my 2015 diary.
Last Saturday in January– I helped Friends dig out cherry suckers near the stag beetle loggery. Clif (our great TCV site manager) said a sparrowhawk had been round during the week. In a fallen tree, Keith found an empty wren’s nest which has stayed in the cabin all year for people to marvel at. And children fashioned nests for Family Wildlife Art.
Last Sat in February – Caroline, Bob, Anna, Clif and I witnessed a heron approach on foot through the meadow to hunt for frogs in the pond. He was undeterred by harassment from a crow who followed him about in comical fashion. We saw the heron catch and eat a frog. A pair of long tailed tits (‘flying teaspoons’) flew back and forth to a tree with plumes of the plant called old man’s beard – for their nest.
March – Frogs, frogs, frogs galore in the pond. About 25 of them, with gold rings round their eyes, handsome white ‘collars’ under their chins, swimming froggily,touching one another on the nose sometimes, a few mating, and a wonderful loud croaky chorus to be heard.
Last Sat in April– A blackcap sang beautifully as I made my way up the path and I saw him too – his little black cap at that jaunty angle. There was a great volunteer turnout and we removed lots of Japanese knotweed. Jenny and I identified wild plants in the new Back Meadow near the playground. The pond had plenty of newts – males in mating colours – and gorgeous creatures called the Hairy Footed Flower Bees were feeding in the white comfrey outside the cabin.
Last Sat in May – We removed hogweed from the meadow. I love hogweed cos it really does smell of pigs, but it can take over. The meadow was filling up with the fabulous yellow rattle wildflower that Clif planted last year to help other wildflowers thrive and reduce grasses. We came across two frogs, one of which was ginger! Jenny and I surveyed the new Back Meadow again, which is now crowded with small flowers, especially herb bennett.
Last Sat in June – Wildflower Saturday went well. Lizzy and I led a joint session for adults and children. The focus was six wild flowers on site: teasel (pictured), bramble, bacon-and-eggs, purple deadnettle, stinking iris and bindweed. Lizzy also did great crafts with children
With seasons greetings, Mary Hogan