Country Diary: Take time to explore haven of tranquility

Check out the pond which will be heaving with frog spawn.
Check out the pond which will be heaving with frog spawn.

“Hoooo ... hoo-hoo-hukoooo” – the far-carrying song of the tawny owl is well known. Originally it was purely a woodland bird, but is now the most common and widespread by Britain’s owls, even in parks and gardens.

A local neighbour recently gave us a fine, sturdy nest box he’d made, to be used by anyone with suitable sites. It’s thanks to Martin Mason that his kind donation is to be stored at Filey Dams Nature Reserve to replace an old one. Last year the Reserve produced five and four chicks in two nest-boxes. Ian Robinson was delighted to accept Martin’s offer.

Meanwhile, our bird-feeding site beside the car park at Seamer Road Mere goes from strength to strength, regularly attracting at least twelve varieties, along with occasional magpies. The robin has claimed the small bird table, and is ever-watchful of intruders, whatever species!

This year we had excellent views of a tree creeper close by – our first for several years. We were driving through South Cliff, when we spotted the tiny, mouse-like bird up Mountside.

Landing low on a tree trunk, it jerkily made its way up, propped on its stiff, pointed tail feathers.

The bird spiralled as it ascended, climbing branches and probing bark crevices with its down-curved, fine-tipped bill as it sought insects. Then – it left the tree and flew to the base of another, to repeat the process.

We were recently reminded of a tranquil little ‘oasis’ in the vicinity of Falsgrave, on the outskirts of Scarborough. Having first visited it during the dawn of the millennium, we felt it time for a re-visit. There are few local residents aware of its existence, so do take ten minutes to explore a haven of tranquillity.

From Falsgrave roundabout, take the A64 Seamer Road to Asquith Avenue – a turning off right beyond traffic lights, and before Minster Gate Garage is sited on the left.

Ascend Asquith Avenue, and at the far end is Quarry Mount, and Quarry Mount Park framed by red/purple dogwood stems.

A notice announces, ‘Door Step Green’, and makes several requests to help maintain this habitat in prime condition. Please keep the pond clean; look after it wildlife, and feel the magic of the area. I’m afraid no dogs are allowed, for obvious reasons.

Ascending the curving path between lawns, reach a circle with seats and litter bin provided, and admire remaining wooden carvings which sadly are deteriorating with age.

A netted walkway leads to a pond simply heaving with frogs, and masses of frog spawn. Frogs clambered over each other to access water during my brief encounter. Wild yell irises will bloom there later this spring.

I suggest you then continue along the netted board-walk which returns you to a picnic circle before your departure.