Nature Notes For May

As I write, 9th April, it’s been very dull cool and damp for some days here with the north of the country (for a change) enjoying the spring sunshine. But we are about to holiday in the south and west of the USA where it’s currently sunny and between 26 and 30C so that will be a welcome change and I’m really hoping to see some of the local wildlife when we venture into the Nevada desert regions.

By the time you read this I’ll be back and I promise I’ll bring some good weather back!

Despite only having intermittent warm days the birds are beginning to build in earnest although I would suggest they are a week or two later than usual. Blackbirds and robins usually have two broods so start building/ breeding in late March but that’s been and gone. The Blue tits in my camera box have built a cosy nest but are still just using it as a roost. Give it a week and eggs should start to appear with any luck. Over the road in another box belonging to Pat Brace, there was a nice surprise to find a pair of Wrens dragging dry grasses and other nesting material into it, the site being just 10 feet from his back door. If they follow through with breeding Pat will have great views of comings and goings.

Thanks to Linda Frawley, Richard Lilleker and Katie Wenlock, all from the Lychpit area, for write ups and photos of Red Legged Partridges strolling around their respective gardens and work places. For some reason this species seems to habitually frequent residential areas before breeding and are quite oblivious to man and the dangers within urbanisation. The only reason I can think of is that perhaps they are eating gritty materials that are easily come by on roads and pavements, a substance they need to produce strong egg shells. As this bird lays between 8 and 12 eggs, it therefore needs a lot of roughage. Katie also attached a short video clip of two Egyptian Geese walking their (early) brood of little ones down Bartons Lane in the search of water and safety. As I’ve reported numerous times before, ducks often choose to breed in or close to gardens and often miles from water, but now geese?

The first frog spawn in Phil Males’ pond was later than usual and with far fewer adult frogs in attendance. Phil noted that newts were aplenty and whilst they can feed on spawn, so reducing the amount visible, we think that it was indeed the “Beast from the East” last year that’s caused a huge demise in numbers.

Tony Stoney covers large amounts of the Basing parish with his organised walks so sees a good deal of wildlife. But for the first time he noted a totally white Roe deer that was grazing with 20 others near Basing Woods, near Popley. As this albino doesn’t have any natural enemies, I guess it’ll be okay, whereas smaller pigmented animals and birds have a quite short life expectancy. Rick Bourne

Rick Bourne

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