Category Archives: East

New birds on the reserve

Five new species of birds were seen on the Etton Maxey Reserve during 2019, according to a fascinating survey report completed by Langdyke’s Bob Titman.

They included Great (white) Egret, a Purple Heron, Hen Harrier, Common Stonechat and a Common Raven.

Purple Heron. Photo: Brian Lawrence

According to Bob’s records none of them have been spotted at the reserve before.

He recorded a total of 122 different species during his visits in the year.

Other notable sightings included:

  • A starling murmuration of around 3,000 birds
  • 114 mallard spotted on one occasion
  • 54 northeren shoveler seen at the same time

Although European turtle doves have not built a nest on the reserves there is evidence that they have been breeding just a few hundred metres away from the reserve.

Operation Turtle Dove was also set up to feed and attract them to the site and this was  a big success during the year.

Turtle Doves Photo: Brian Lawrence

There are two reports compiled by Bob on the website under the science and surveys section of our site.
They are:  breeding birds survey here  and waders at Etton Maxey here

  • There were also reports of a 30,000 starling murmuration over the reserve but this does not figure in Bob’s eyewitness report

Wassail was great success

We all went a’wassailing … and what a day we had.

This great family event was held at Langdyke’s Etton High Meadow – attended by around 100 people.

Traditionally the event involves groups of wassailers drinking lots of alcohol and moving from orchard to orchard – singing, shouting, banging pots and pans and even firing shotguns in an effort to make as much noise as possible to awaken any sleeping tree.

Our event wasn’t anywhere near as riotous – but it proved a fantastic fun afternoon out for the family with dozens of children taking part in the wassailing as well as helping to build a bug house and make bird feeders out of apples.

There was also food, mulled wine and cider for the adults. Entertainment was provided via traditional music by Alan Wood and friends.

The site hosts a number of fruit trees and a recently planted community orchard with more than 70 fruit trees including local heritage varieties such as Lord Burghley and Peasgoods Nonsuch.

The idea of the wassail was to awaken them to bear bountiful crops of fruit next year.  Only time will tell if it worked!

Here are some of the images of the day, taken by Langdyke treasurer Brian Lawrence

 

Pressing apples to make juice

 

A recently planted apple tree in the community orchard gets some wassail encouragement
Enjoying the event
Braving the cold