Nature Notes - June 2024

Sickleholme Nature Notes

If the monthly notes carried headlines, then June’s would read “Barn Owls breed at Sickleholme”. After Alan Kydd’s winter discovery of owl pellets in the barn, and Matt’s early morning sighting, we trailed the hope of a breeding pair in last month’s notes. That was before Alan reported four eggs in the nestbox that he had installed. What a result, and it is hoped that the young birds can be ringed in due course.

 Alan also provided a further update on the nest boxes and suggests that the “mystery eggs” in one box may be those of a Treecreeper, a species that is certainly present within our boundaries.

 Our Kestrels have already fledged young and juvenile Pied Wagtails have been regularly seen exploring the fairways (they like divots!) with one or both parent birds. Add in more Red Kite sightings and young Buzzards on the wing calling for food, and it has been a good month for  avian species.

Although I sometimes struggle to identify creatures being described to me, “a large pink moth shaped like an aeroplane” didn’t take too much effort. The Elephant Hawk-moth is one of our more identifiable moths, both at the caterpillar stage and as a fully developed moth. The colour is shared by its favoured foodplant, Rosebay Willowherb, of which Sickleholme has plenty. This month’s photo image was taken in mid-month.

Matt was one of several who saw Brown Hares, a declining species and a welcome one which doesn’t cause the damage that Rabbits can do. Meadow Brown butterflies appeared in the second half of the month when, at last, we experienced some warmer weather.

The East Field (on the Hathersage side of the 9th fairway) is now a most spectacular wildflower meadow and was particularly rich in colours during the first part of the month. Another clear success was Patrick’s winter work on the practice ground pond. His clearance work looked quite dramatic upon completion, but the result has been vigorous growth and a perfect habitat for many creatures. The display of Yellow Iris and Water Lily has also been very attractive.

Quirky moments for both Patrick and I were when we had both lifted the lid of rubbish bins (mine was the wooden one by the 11th tee) and a Grey Squirrel leapt out. I don’t know who was the more surprised!

Bryan Barnacle