Nature Notes - April 2024

Sickleholme Nature Notes

As with the earlier months, April challenged the record books in terms of rainfall and temperatures and we were left wondering as to what effects this would have on our wildlife, particularly the insects.

There were intermittent brighter spells, however, and slowly the yellow wildflowers of early Spring were joined by other colours. Indeed, by the month end we had Wood Anemone, Bluebells, Red Campion, Cuckoo Flower, Bittercress, Cowslips and Violets all in flower with many more yet to come. I believe that continues to show that we can have policies that allow us to have a great golf course, but one also rich in biodiversity and a precious place for our valuable pollinators.

Amongst the avifauna reported, Sue Hoyland watched a Red Kite over the second fairway early in the month and there was a notable increase in birdsong. On the 18th, a brief census of singing males showed 5 Chiffchaff territories, 3 of Blackcap and one of Willow Warbler. All are migratory summer visitors and more will follow. Amongst resident species, 3 Nuthatch were singing, at least 10 Wrens and three members of the thrush family. That can only be a tiny overview of what we have on the course but offers encouragement for the breeding season.

Matt continues to report early morning sightings of Roe Deer and butterflies finally appeared after a slow start. Brimstone, Peacock, Orange-tip and Holly Blue were mentioned by several members. The latter species is one of my favourites and not just because it flaunts the colours of Coventry City FC! It does, as the name suggests, use Holly as its host-plant for egg laying in the Spring, although mid-summer eggs may also go on Ivy, heathers or dogwoods. The two photo images offered this month show both the upper wing colour and the paler shade of the underwing.

Let’s now hope for some warmer, drier weather and lots more wildlife records.

Bryan Barnacle