Nature News (1)

Sickleholme Nature Notes

A month that seemed to see extremes of weather ranging from the hottest two days of the year to cold and wet spells and even course closures and cancellations. Not surprisingly, this is not ideal for wildlife either and only those creatures that can adjust will have a successful breeding season. One problem for the birds was finding food, particularly the species which rely on catching insects. This was well in evidence on one cold Tuesday when around 60 Swift had been forced high above the 10th tee area to find their prey whilst the flying insects that Swallows prefer were so close to the ground that the birds were passing golfers at knee height.

Happily, many young birds were seen which supports the optimism in Alan Kydd’s nest box update. Great Spotted Woodpeckers were seen regularly and the young of that species are quite easy to pick out as they have bright red caps which stay until the first moult, when most of that part of the head becomes black and white.

Patrick was the first to note two Jays which were then seen at least twice more between the practice area and the machinery sheds. The railway hedge and the ravine still provided most of the bird song and that included several species of warbler. Amongst those was the first Garden Warbler that I have ever seen or heard on the course.

I added two more butterfly species to the eight already reported via a single Speckled Wood and then a flurry of Meadow Browns towards the month end. Target species to look for in July will include Red Admiral, Gatekeeper and (hopefully) a few migrant Painted Lady.

I have no great claims as a botanist but new flowers are appearing by the week. I noted Tufted Vetch in several places as well as the lovely Meadow Cranesbill (a member of the geranium family). One of the Sickleholme specialities should appear next month in the form of the delightful Harebell. Sky blue in colour (more Coventry City than Sheffield Wednesday!), this is very scarce in many parts of the county but I find it in good numbers every year on the course. Try looking around the 9th tee from mid-July.

The biodiversity of our course is very special. Enjoy it all between shots!

Bryan Barnacle