Nature Notes For June


Unbelievable!  I trolley off to California and Arizona on holiday for two weeks over Easter and swap UK Bank Holiday weather for theirs!  You guys were (apparently) basking in 25C temperatures and we are on Venice Beach, LA with a fleece on. Fortunately, that didn’t last as we eventually saw some sun and mid 20’s too, though sadly I couldn’t bring it back. Since our return its felt right chilly which has meant that NO migrants seem to have arrived in Old Basing, not that I’ve heard anyway, and it’s rather worrying because it is now getting late for breeding and their young wont be strong enough to make their extraordinary journey south come the autumn.

You’d normally expect to see a few Swallows or hear the chattering of House Martins but nothing so far.  The TV weather showed the jetstream way below the UK so clearly we remain in a northerly airflow for now and the birds will be locked down in France until that changes.

But as I mentioned Easter here was superb and thanks to Terry McAnish for photos of a male Blackcap, possibly a migrant bird but most likely a resident, taking a drink from a bird bath and of a Orange Tip butterfly. There had been numerous Brimstones and Red Admirals plus the occasional Holly Blue but not many of these delightful little insects.    Thanks also to Benjamin Hall who spied a Slow-worm using an area of concrete patio to bask on, an ideal spot in warm sunshine.

It was disappointing on our return to find a completed yet empty Blue Tit nest in the new camera box, the birds seemingly preferring our neighbours older box, or at least, showing interest in it and I think they may be in the process of laying now. Robins and Dunnocks are collecting food in earnest so clearly they have young somewhere close to here and the Kites have been very vocal this week, perhaps to announce the arrival of their own ‘Archie!’

Now, a potentially controversial topic and this is purely my opinion with which you may or may not agree.   We live in a semi-rural environment and would mostly accept the ways of the countryside both for traditional and commercial reasons?  So interference for no reason other than apparent dogooding or self-righteous purposes is not welcome in my book. I therefore fumed when I found out that Chris Packham, wellknown nature lover and conservationist, had threatened to take Natural England to court if they didn’t revoke the General shooting licenses granted to farmers and gamekeepers that allows them to control pest birds such as pigeons, carrion crows and magpies. In the face of an expensive legal bill, Natural.England. capitulated and Packham, along with two other ‘likeminds’, succeeded thus rendering it illegal for landowners to protect their crops and livestock, or for companies to have this option to control public health threats posed by defecating pigeons, gulls etc. 

As much as I admire his action against people or countries that kill, trap or poison protected birds, I just do not understand the logic of this move.  All he’s done is to bring vilification and ridicule upon himself and potentially the BBC for whom he works.

Rick Bourne

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