May 2022 - Visit to Newton Park
At the beginning of May, 12 members met up with Robert Hargreaves, local bird expert, for a guided tour of Newton Park which followed on from his 2021 talk.

We spotted tree creepers who totally ignored us as they repeatedly spiralled up one tree after another looking for insects in the bark fissures. We also saw several grey herons high up in the trees by one of the lakes, guarding their big, untidy nests. Both green and great spotted woodpeckers were seen and heard, also greenfinch, raven, blue tit, great tit and goldfinch, with swallows wheeling overhead. Down on the lake were moorhens and coots, mute swans (not breeding this year), tufted duck, mallards and Canada geese. Altogether over 35 different bird species were seen or heard, thanks to Robert and Anne!

Treecreeper circling the tree - spot of the day!

Due to the warm sun and little wind, butterflies were out in force too, including orange-tip, holly blue, speckled wood, brimstone, peacock and several whites (I'm not sure which ones!). The trees were mostly in full leaf, even the English oak leaves were finally unfurling into a bright green canopy, looking so fresh and inviting to all the insects that will later call them home. The oak is one of the most important trees for wildlife in this country, hosting hundreds of different insects in the spring, which in turn supply many birds with an important food source, and in the autumn the acorns are food for mammals.

Beneath our feet were lots of wild flowers, thanks to a good spring after the winter storms. We saw meadow buttercups, cow parsley, ransoms, green alkanet, dandelion, daisy, groundsel, white deadnettle, red campion, herb Robert, lesser celandine, lords-and-ladies, tufted vetch, ground-ivy, wild strawberry and bluebells in abundance. Some of these are flowering earlier than in previous years, probably due to warmer springs, while others are carrying on longer than before. We certainly see more wild flowers in May than we used to!

Our thanks to Robert Hargreaves for being so patient with us, and answering our many questions, and to Anne Crowe for bringing her extensive knowledge and very useful monocular scope for those of us who are hopeless with binoculars! 

Liz Wintle

Photos and video by Andrew Harrison

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Keynsham Group
Avon Wildlife Trust
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