1. House martin (Delichon urbicum)
Nature Observations: Eastcliff(Mules)Park – July 2020
by Catherine Locke
16th of July 2020
Lowering skies today. In the park I saw a couple of family groups of Great titsflittering about the trees. I also saw a couple of Wren families and a family group ofWillow Warblers. Warblers nest close to the ground in a small domed nest of grasses and they feed on insects and spiders which they pick from the foliage and sometimes from the air, flying out suddenly from a branch to do so. By Overdell path, where the lovely mature English Oak spreads is branches over the ground and the path, I saw Syringa flowers dangling from a bush, looking like maroon suspended pagodas. I noticed a badger sett with holes newly dug in the muddy banks near the great oak. In the sloping meadow beyond Overdale Path, I saw a family of crows fly to a tall Monteray pine in the Dell. They were very noisy and then I noticed that they'd been noisy for a reason, to flush out a female kestrel that was happily roosting there. They drove her away from that area. Knapweed was stillflowering in the sloping meadow and bees were visiting the flowers, mostly White-tailed bumblebees. There was Ragwort at the edge of the meadow. Yarra was flowering all across the meadow with Field bindweed (pale pink and white flowers), and Agrimony also. Despite being overcast, I saw three Meadow Brown butterflies, a couple of Small Whites and a Common Blue in the meadow. Sloes were ripening on the Blackthorn bushes. A family of Goldfinches were twittering in a copse of tall Lime trees at the edge of Top Meadow. I heard another family twittering in a stand of Poplar trees as I walked down Upper Path. in Lower Meadow, where there is a long bramble brake warren I heard the chirping of House Martins and saw a family dashing for insects over the area.
The rain got heavier. I took shelter under the magnificent Holm oak at the bottom of the park. I call the tree The Queen of Trees, and underneath it you feel as if you are in a natural Cathedral, as the vast branches curve over above you and reach to the ground.
photo 1. URL - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mehlschwalbe_Delichon_urbicum.jpg attribution - Andreas Trepte, CC BY-SA 2.5 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5>, via Wikimedia Commons