Early spring news from the valley

The Roe Deer population is steadily increasing.

Up to six have been frequenting the Hollins Hall side: it’s like the Serengeti with bunkers (photo Ros Crosland)
All looking in the peak of good health after a mild, wet winter with lots of greenery to browse (Ros Crosland)

Last week we put up another round of bird boxes. Some of these:

This lot are aimed at Redstarts and Pied Flycatchers which have certainly bred in Spring Wood in the past.
This male Pied Flycatcher was photographed by Paul Marfell just down the road at Denso Marston last spring: they obviously still pass through from time to time.
And, amazingly without serious injury, we fixed up a box for Joey the Hollins Hall resident Barn Owl.

The Hollins Hall team have been very welcoming. It’s got to be the most wildlife-friendly course around. Really importantly, there are lots of corners which aren’t over-managed. Fallen dead wood is great for invertebrates which, in turn, obviously support birds and mammals.

You rarely find this kind of thing in farmland or in council parks these days: all the dead wood is tidied away.
But without a natural cycle of decaying vegetation there are none of these: Violet Ground Beetle.

Lesser Whitethroats

The thick hedges around and across the Hollins Hall and Bradford golf clubs are great for nesting birds and wildlife in general. A luxury compared to the more trimmed greenery in much of our countryside.

Amongst the hedge-dwellers this year are the first breeding Lesser Whitethroats for some time. This pair have now fledged four young:

Parent (left, carrying food) and young Lesser Whitethroats. Hollins Hall golf course, June 2019.
And a better shot of one of the adults. Lesser Whitethroats have dark legs, no eye-ring and a dark ear patch: in contrast to regular Whitethroats