Dave Dawson’s natural history notes for 24th June 2015:-
Watercress and Yellow-flag Iris are still flowering in the brook, joined now by Hemlock Water-dropwort and Trailing Bellflower, whilst the Pendulous Sedge is now in fruit. The Wood Millet is still visible in Ashen Grove Wood and Lords and Ladies is still in flower in Horse Close Wood, but the Bluebells are over. Elder flowering is nearly over and brambles just beginning. At the edge of the wood and along the children’s hedgerow there are masses of mauve flowers of Black Horehound. The Cuckoo Flowers are over and the grass there mown. Much bird breeding is over and the moult is beginning, so the birds are not conspicuous. The Lake remains dominated by some 55 Mute Swans, including a brood of four. Canada Geese are returning to the Lake from their scattered breeding sites for the moult in a month’s time, but are still outnumbered by the record number of 100 Greylags. These three large wildfowl put pressure on the vegetation of the Lake and the grasslands of the golf course and park. They Geese also import much nutrient to the Lake, contributing to its eutrophic state. There was a single Common Tern and Gadwall on the Lake, but the most interesting sighting was a single Lapwing on the golf course near the stadium. The only two previous sightings in the last 30 years were of birds flying over. I wonder if the works on the golf course have inadvertently created suitable habitat for this species? Most bird song is over, but the late breeders and repeat breeders can still be heard: Blackcaps, Stock Doves, Chaffinches, Woodpigeons and Wrens. Blackbirds foraging for food for their nestlings remain conspicuous. Some 25, mainly young, Herring Gulls specialise on raiding the rubbish skips by the sailing base, joined by as many Jackdaws and a few squirrels.