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Trip to Summerfield, Harome May 27th 2003

[Species lists below]

18 members and guests were present for this evening trip to Summerfield. We were delighted to welcome representatives from DEFRA and local Ornithology groups; despite the rather gloomy, humid evening it was a good turn-out – and we didn’t actually get wet. We were met at the farm by the owners Basil and Isabel Rickatson (and Ben the old sheep-dog), who showed us around their land. Basil has recently planted margins around many of his fields as a wildlife baulk. The farm is under a 10-year stewardship agreement with DEFRA covering these field margins, grassland management, and hedgerow planting and maintenance, all of which will benefit wildlife in the long term. At this early stage these margins consist mainy of mixed grasses (as sown in a special seed mixture) and some common “weeds” such as scentless mayweed, field pansy, mouse-ears, speedwell and sow-thistles; as these strips mature over the next few years one would expect to see more wild flowers moving in, which should encourage beetles and so on, and in their turn these will attract more birds.

We walked round several fields and then down to the banks of the Riccal which borders the farm. There were several species of willow growing here, which I am not sure I have managed to identify accurately! It was rather sad to see a huge swathe of invasive Himalayan balsam along the waterline and on the flood-bank – although this introduced plant has pretty pink flowers later in the summer it does tend to swamp out the native vegetation by its prolific seeding and rapid growth and should be discouraged. Basil and the neighbouring farmers are aware of the problem, and the plan is to cut the plant before it sets seed; as it is an annual it is hoped that this will control it fairly quickly. Rather more happily we saw the pond which Basil has dug in a low-lying corner of the field, which has already attracted newts, and has had geese nesting on the island in the middle of it (Greylags one year, Canadas another). There are alders surrounding the pond, and a couple of planted hornbeams.

Then we returned over the fields to the house. The field immediately behind the house is pasture, with pronounced rigg-and-furrow, and the remains of a hedge which now consists of large trees including two splendid giant limes (the small-leaved variety Tilia cordata I believe) which were just coming into flower – marvellous for bees to produce one of the most delicious of honeys. Finally in the garden we saw two bats chasing each other around the house in the dusk, and Michael Thompson identified them for us with his bat-box as Soprano Pipistrelles otherwise known as Pipistrelle 55s.

We were invited in for a most welcome cup of tea and a wonderful spread of cakes, biscuits, flapjack and cheese. To close a very successful evening Jim Pewtress gave a vote of thanks to Basil and Isabel for showing us around their farm.

Unfortunately I do not have any photos of this trip as the light was very poor. I recorded over 80 plants (not all in flower), and I am sure I will have missed some, certainly some grasses that I could not identify and several other plants that were only present as leaves.

Species lists

Plants and Birds below. We also saw some rabbits and two hares.

Alnus glutinosaAlder
Fraxinus excelsiorAsh
Impatiens glanduliferaBalsam, Himalayan
Prunus spinosaBlackthorn
Rubus fruticosusBramble
Bromus sterilis (Anisantha sterilis)Brome, Barren
Bromus mollis (Bromus hordeaceus)Brome, Soft
Arctium minusBurdock
Ranunculus bulbosusButtercup, bulbous
Ranunculus repensButtercup, creeping
Ranunculus acrisButtercup, meadow
Galium aparineCleavers
Trifolium pratenseClover, red
Dactylis glomerataCocksfoot
Juncus conglomeratusCompact Rush
Anthriscus sylvestrisCow parsley
Malus sylvestrisCrab apple
Cynosurus cristatusCrested Dogstail
Cruciata laevipesCrosswort
Cardamine pratensisCuckoo flower or Milkmaid
Hesperis matronalisDames violet
Taraxacum sp.Dandelion
Lamium albumDeadnettle, white
Rumex obtusifoliusDock, broad leaved
Carex pendulaDrooping sedge (planted)
Sambucus nigraElder
Ulmus glabraElm, wych
Festuca rubraFescue, Red
Equisetum arvenseField Horsetail
Myosotis arvensisForgetmenot, field
Alopecurus pratensisFoxtail, Meadow
Senecio vulgarisGroundsel, common
Crataegus monogynaHawthorn
Corylus avellanaHazel
Alliaria petiolataHedge Garlic or Jack by the Hedge
Heracleum sphondyliumHogweed
Ilex aquifoliumHolly
Carpinus betulusHornbeam (planted)
Hedera helixIvy
Centaurea nigraKnapweed, common
Polygonum aviculareKnotgrass
Tilia cordataLime, small leaved (planted)
Acer campestreMaple, field
Triplospermum maritimumMayweed, scentless
Poa annuaMeadow Grass, Annual
Poa trivialisMeadow Grass, Rough
Medicago lupulinaMedick, black
Cerastium fontanumMouse ear, common
Cerastium glomeratumMouse ear, sticky
Urtica dioicaNettle, common
Quercus sp.Oak
Arrhenatherum elatiusOat, False
Viola arvensisPansy, field
Conopodium majusPignut
Matricaria discoideaPineapple weed
Plantago majorPlantain, greater
Plantago lanceolataPlantain, ribwort
Populus x canadensisPoplar, hybrid
Populus nigraPoplar, black (?)
Allium ursinumRamsons
Persicaria maculosaRedshank
Rosa caninaRose, dog
Chaerophyllum temulemRough chervil
Sorbus aucupariaRowan (planted)
Anagallis arvensisScarlet pimpernel
Capsella bursa-pastorisShepherds purse
Juncus effususSoft Rush
Rumex acetosaSorrel, common
Sonchus asperSowthistle, rough
Veronica persicaSpeedwell, common
Veronica chamaedrysSpeedwell, germander
Stellaria holosteaStitchwort, greater
Anthoxanthum odoratumSweet Vernal Grass
Acer pseudoplatanusSycamore
Cirsium arvenseThistle, creeping
Cirsium vulgareThistle, spear
Vicia sepiumVetch, bush
Prunus domesticaWild plum
Salix pentandra Willow, bay (?)
Salix fragilisWillow, crack
Salix capreaWillow, goat
Salix cinereaWillow, grey
Salix albaWillow, white
Chamaenerion angustifoliumWillowherb, rosebay or Fireweed
Luzula campestrisWoodrush, field
Juglans regiaWalnut (planted)
86 species

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The following 17 birds were recorded (thanks to Jim Pewtress for the list):
Mallard, Pheasant, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Cuckoo, Woodpigeon, Skylark, Swallow, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Whitethroat, Blue Tit, Crow, Chaffinch and Yellowhammer.

Christine and Derek Jakeman from the RSPB have carried out four early morning surveys on the farm, recording a total of 58 bird species.

They visited on four occasions:
DateStartFinishNotes (weather)
10th April6.15am10.30amDry, calm, cool, becoming breezy with showers
3rd May5.55am10.30amCloud then sun, light breeze
30th May5.05am10.30amClear and warm
20th June5.15am9.30amCloudy and breezy

The following birds were recorded:

English Name Latin Name 10th April 23rd May 30th May 20th June
Blackbird Turdus merula X   X X
Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla   X   X
Blue Tit Parus caeruleus X   X X
Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula       X
Canada Goose Branta canadensis X   X  
Carrion/Hooded Crow Corvus corone corone/cornix X   X  
Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs X   X X
Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita X   X X
Coal Tit Parus ater     X  
Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto X   X X
Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra   X    
Cuckoo Cuculus canorus   X X  
Curlew Numenius arquata     X  
Dunnock Prunella modularis X   X X
Feral Pigeon Columba livia   X    
Fieldfare Turdus pilaris X      
Golden Plover Pluvialsi apricaria X      
Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis   X X X
Goosander Mergus merganser X      
Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopus major X   X  
Great Tit Parus major X   X  
Greenfinch Carduelis chloris X   X  
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea       X
House Martin Delichon urbica   X    
House Sparrow Passer domesticus X   X X
Jackdaw Corvus monedula X   X  
Kestrel Falco tinnunculus X      
Kingfisher Alcedo atthis     X X
Lapwing or Peewit Vanellus vanellus   X X X
Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca     X X
Linnet Acanthis cannabina   X X  
Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus X     X
Magpie Pica pica       X
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos X   X  
Marsh Tit Parus palustris       X
Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus X   X X
Moorhen Gallinula chloropus X   X  
Oystercatcher Haemotopus ostralegus     X X
Pheasant Phasianus colchicus X   X X
Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba yarrellii X     X
Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa X   X X
Robin Erithacus rubecula X   X X
Rook Corvus frugilegus X   X X
Skylark Alauda arvensis X   X X
Song Thrush Turdus philomelos X   X X
Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus   X    
Starling Sturnus vulgaris     X  
Stock Dove Columba oenas       X
Swallow Hirundo rustica   X X X
Swift Apus apus     X X
Tawny Owl Strix aluco X      
Tree Sparrow Passer montanus X   X  
Treecreeper Certhia familiaris X   X X
Whitethroat Sylvia communis   X X  
Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus   X   X
Woodpigeon Columba palumbus X   X X
Wren Troglodytes troglodytes X   X X
Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella X   X X
58 species

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© Ryedale Natural History Society 2003
Page last modified 13th July 2003