Nature Notes For July

It was widely reported that the month of May was the warmest and sunniest since records began and we all certainly noticed that. In previous years there inevitably seemed to be a cold and wet spell between the 20th and 30th of May, resulting in a grave shortage of insect and caterpillars, just when many nesting box broods would be hatching.  The result was that the Blue, Coal and Great Tits particularly suffered poor breeding seasons and barely maintained
their numbers.

This year however there must have been a boom, if the success in our own garden was anything to go by, with two boxes being occupied and successfully fledging broods of Coal and Blue Tits. Before they emerged we had numerous baby birds around the place all gaping for food from overworked parents so our fat-ball and insect-impregnated suet offerings were all gratefully received. In fact all the feeders were emptied within days and were more popular than in the depths of winter! A Great Spotted Woodpecker visited every day and then she turned up with a youngster last week. Sarah Green down the road had two young GSWs in her garden earlier in the month so this species seems to have done well.

The low-flying and food scrap-hunting antics of the local Kites would indicate youngsters are also being fed somewhere locally and Ross Needs in Belle Vue sent me two cracking photos of these majestic birds overhead. These are on Basinga Extra web pages.

Terry McAnish sent a couple of photos in of young Blue Tits, eight in total, just out of their home in his garden, managing to avoid the attentions of Magpies and Jays that would be eager to benefit from the tasty bonanza briefly on offer. Terry also mentioned hearing a Cuckoo on 21st May 21 as did we here on the same day so one assumes it was working his way along the old canal looking for a warbler or pipit nest for his mate to lay her egg in. That is the first one
I’ve heard for many years and there weren’t many reports other than these, Margaret Chewters at Huish and Tony Stoney’s encounter with one near Fordingbridge.

Migrants have been very late in arriving with few Swallows, House Martins or Swifts getting here in May and early June as is the norm. BBC’s Springwatch even commented on this so it seems a national trend which is really worrying. So is it habitat loss, global warming or mass predation by humans or otherwise in Africa, who knows? It was good therefore to get a call from Christine Stuart in Lambs Row who spied about a dozen Swifts whizzing around that area on 18th May with more arriving on the 21st. That was a warm week and it encouraged an influx because that was our first sight of Martins overhead here also.

I’m never happy to find my flower beds polluted by cat poo but the hedgehog droppings found this week were a weirdly pleasing sight. Let me know if you find some too!

Don’t forget to send all your nature related photos to naturenotes@basinga.org.uk

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