Leftovers...14:00 > 16:00
Broken cloud, westerly wind, 20c.
Having not walked the complete perimeter for a few weeks now I took a couple of hours out to do the complete circuit from aquaduct to viaduct and back.
First been seen, or rather heard was a Little Owl, no doubt one of yesterdays pair, in the hedgerow leading down to the water behind the farm.
Waterside I counted nine Little Ringed Plovers of various ages whilst Yellow Wagtials continue to expand their range post breeding with birds seen feeding on the cut grass areas alongside the River Ouse.
Also along the Ouse a pair of Common Tern continue to fish and for any of you photographers wanting close up shots they are hovering aboves pools just a matter of feet away from the path.
And talking of fishing also along the river the first Kingfisher I've seen in a while since the bank and tree clearance in the Kingfisher 'hot spot' of the last few summers. The bird came off the closed off area of the river so maybe one of the pairs nearer the railway is heading west for a bit more peace and quiet.
And in reverse a Treecreeper, a bird that numerous at the western end but all but missing in the east was seen just by the viaduct itself. Also in this area the multitude of Sand Martin coming off the gravel working to hunt and drink along the river.
Others birds of note, a pair of Common Buzzard, the Great Crested Grebe and three Little Egret including one in the river.
Given the weather insect activity has been slow on the uptake this year but a noticable increase in numbers of the commoner butterfly species and dragon and damselfly was noted today.
Last word though goes to a crustacean and a dead one at that. The American Crawdaddy or Signal Crayfish to you and me. I've seen live 'crawdads' further upstream around Stratford and have viewed people trying to catch them to the eastern end of the site, with little success, but the first definite proof i've encountered were the remains found along Back Brook, see pic above.
Whatever had it for lunch seemed to know its business, leaving the sharps bits on the bank while the fleshy body was nowhere to be seen (you'd like to think Otter but who knows). The claws were around an inch or so long on their own so it gives you an idea of the size these pests are getting up to. One down, a few hundred thousand countrywide to go but at least at Manor Farm they seem to have a predator.
And a tip for you. Having left my camera at home on Friday I wrapped the claws in a bag and put them in my rucksack to photograph at home. Not advisable on a warm day. The stink on opening was rich to say the least. Dead shellfish and sun, don't mix...