Dave Dawson’s natural history notes for 17th July 2015:-
Only 21 Canada Geese were seen. This is an unusually low number for this time of year when there are usually four times this number, but counts of this species are variable because the main flock can remain out of sight somewhere on the Golf Course. Again, these were outnumbered by some 31 Greylag Geese. Coot numbers have returned to normal, but there were still some 55 moulting Mute Swans and a heavy growth of the submerged weed, Rigid Hornwort, has returned again this year. Although this presents a problem to fishermen and sailing, one hopes that no drastic action will be taken to control the weed as weedicides would affect much more than the hornwort, and rotting weed would itself present a problem. A high count of feral pigeons was the result of a flock feeding on grass seed sown to restore the tennis car park access. Restoration will be difficult also in the face of the current drought conditions. Most other bird species are remarkably inconspicuous, having finished breeding and being in moult, but Song Thrushes continue to sing in both woods, suggesting that they still hope for a late brood. It was good to hear a nuthatch in Horse Close Wood: in recent years most detections have been in Ashen Grove Wood. Ring-necked Parakeets have finished breeding and are noisy at all times. The drought has affected the “wildflower meadow” areas, where the exotic species have suffered. Native species, however, are continuing to thrive in these areas, with much Creeping Thistle. We are now in the low period between spring and summer flowering, so fewer flowers are to be seen. Codlins-and-cream is beginning to flower in the brook and in the area cleared by the National Grid. Here also Buddleja and Himalayan Honeysuckle are flowering. A single plant of Hawkweed Oxtongue is flowering under the trees on the southern boundary of the park not far from the Home Park Road entrance and Yarrow is flowering at the edge of Horse Close Wood.