16 July 2018

The Patch Fire...

Just been out for a quick look around the still smouldering patch. Many firemen are still there and miles of hose pipes have been linked together and are snaking all over. The firemen have done a great job throughout the night and are patrolling because the grassy areas can burn below ground and suddnely flare up. Bad but not as bad as it could have been thanks to prompt action. 
All the grassland and small bushes on the SSSI are gone, but larger bushes and trees remain intact. Motorcycle Wood didn't go up and the fire only spread halfway across the fairground. All this will regenerate. So look away now, first up the northern part of the SSSI from Lakehouse Road

 Mid-SSSI from Lakehouse Road

 Mid-SSSI from Centre Road
 South SSSI from Lakehouse

 Fairground from Lakehouse

The area we were most worried about was the Skylark and Meadow Pipit breeding area and the news here is encouraging. A large area south of Long Wood went up but was contained, most of the enclosure is still standing, but our visimig point is ash. Fortunately south of there wasn't affected and the extensive grasslands were preserved.

 East Long Wood
North East Long Wood
The brickpit has minor damage and quite how the fire spread is unclear.
Apparently there was a large log aflame this morning in Centre Copse! 
A big thanks to the firemen and the police, we are still here, and I had the first Yellow Wagtail of autumn fly over the Fairground. All is not lost.

8 July 2018

Juvenile gulls back on the Patch

I have prattled on in a little more detail in my own personal blog, but wanted to share some pics of some of the gulls out on the Flats that are back from breeding grounds.

I always love looking at juvenile Black-headed Gulls when they are fresh on the Patch:

I almost managed to miss this juvenile Mediterranean Gull in with about a hundred Black-headed Gull:

There is also something smart about juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gulls - perhaps it is the fine pale band around the tertials: