Nature Notes for August

I thought Chris Packham was the only person I’d ever heard of waxing lyrically about animal poo of multiple types, the discovery of which clearly pointed to that animal being in the vicinity. So I was somewhat surprised that me, going on about hedgehog droppings last month, produced a whole string of reports from residents suggesting that we do still have lots of hogs around us!

Whether its due to the very hot weather bringing them out earlier in the evening or perhaps the fact that WE are all spending much more time outdoors later in the day to stay cool that it us that have become more aware. Whatever, not in many years has there been so many sightings and nocturnal feeding going on as now by caring Basing-ites. I include Lychpit-ites in that too, namely Reg Wood who lives just off Binfields Road in The Hedgerows who has been feeding a pair most nights with bird fare such as nuts and sunflower seeds. Bits of fatballs and dried mealworms are the order of the day for the several in our garden and their visits have been most evenings around 9.45pm. Water put out seems generally ignored but we persist as it is so very hot and dry one would think dehydration would surely be an issue. Roger Rummey (Holly Drive) is feeding his prickly visitors the traditional fare of cat food which I guess would be moist enough to be a very attractive dinner!

Sadly, one creature perished on Hatch Lane yesterday (8th) and it astonishes me that drivers aren’t able to drive round or across them, especially as 30mph or less should make this a doddle. Or are people choosing to ignore the animals or their speed? Or both?

Colin and Viv Williams in Fairthorne (also hog poo spotters!) commented on the lack of bees and found myself nodding in agreement with their observations that their lavender hedge, usually a hive of activity (sorry for the pun) but was eerily quiet this time round. The same
here, one could expect to count 30-50 bees at any one time, this year perhaps ten? It’s worrying.

Gill Moore took a walk around the Millfield early one morning in late June and it produced an unfamiliar harsh animal sound. Gill learnt later that it was almost certainly a female Muntjac deer that could have recently given birth. This was a new one on me for sure as apparently they repeatedly call out straight after producing their young in an effort to acquire another mate. Amazing.

Roving reporter Stephen Thair reported a Reed Warbler sighting near the Great Barn, always a good find and he may have perhaps heard the very scratchy but varied tune of this drab little bird before actually seeing it. The other excitement (his description) is that the Bank Voles
living in his compost heap had two charming silver coloured babies. However, he was then sorry to have to report bad vole behaviour! Mrs Thair (Margaret) was looking up the garden when she saw a campanula she had planted in front of their pond sway, and then collapse as it
was being felled by one of the little blighters who dragged if off into the undergrowth. Since then several French beans have had their stems severed, so they think they know who the culprit is!

Don’t forget to send all your nature related photos to
Richard Bourne, telephone: 01256 321108, e-mail:
For ‘Bird Drop-ins’, use answer-phone: 01256 842722

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