Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Highgate Common 26th July 2011

I went over to Highgate Common again today as part of the volunteer work party that happens there every Tuesday. We were clearing more bracken, a process that will be ongoing for some time yet as there is lots of bracken to get rid of.

In terms of wildlife observations, things got off to a promising start when we were first gathering near the Warden's Office, with Goldfinches in the thistles and a pair of Green Woodpeckers flying past. When we arrived on the common there were lots of butterflies flying around; Gatekeeper, Small Copper, Small Skipper and a Red Admiral were the main ones that I could recognise. There were a couple of white butterflies as well but they didn't settle for long enough for me to get a good look at them.

As we were clearing away the bracken we came across some Common Footman moths that were sheltering in the bracken and tall grasses.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker swooped down into some nearby trees and we could hear both Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff calling from the same trees. A Yellow Hammer was singing some way off and three Common Buzzards were circling high above us.

One of the other volunteers was lucky enough to find a Common Lizard basking in the sun but I managed to miss seeing it.

We did get a little bit distracted today from our normal volunteer work. Some nice people from Natural England and the MP for Staffordshire came to see what we were doing. A photographer also tagged along so maybe you'll see a photo of me holding a scythe somewhere in the not too distant future.

Last Saturday I also went bird ringing over Belvide Reservoir but cold, damp and foggy conditions meant that we only caught 32 new birds. The main highlight was getting to ring a juvenile Bullfinch.

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