Nature Notes For October

It has been a very quiet month with few reports or photos coming in, perhaps to be expected with people on holidays still and it is the time of year also when birds go into their period of moult and as I’ve said before the odd phenomenon is that they just seem to melt away into the countryside for several weeks until they have their new clothes on. It hasn’t stopped the usual garden visitors with their voracious appetite for sunflower hearts and the like from eating some of my customers out of house and home however. Good for business I say!

I played golf at Sherfield Oaks recently which always has a variety of bird life worth seeing but I was not expecting to see a flock of around 300 Goldfinches moving between bush lines. A gathering of these lovely finches is called a charm, as to whether that still applies to such a large number I can’t say but it certainly was delightful to see and to hear.

We’ve had a warmer than usual summer (so say the experts who keep such records) and this has been reflected in the number of hedgehog sightings and people observing bats in flight in the evenings. One rarely gets to see these little mammals up close though so Terry MacAnishs encounter with a Lesser Horseshoe Bat (we think) in mid August was special. It had taken a shine to a warm wall by Terry’s front door and seemed reluctant to move on but this gave our man a chance to photograph it.

At the village show yesterday (8th) Penny Jubin, our local and skillful bee-keeper told me that the bees she’s recovered from my garden in July have settled in to their new home well but they seem to be in a worse mood now than when she moved them. Just a cursory inspection of their well-being led to her being stung once and threatened several hundred times so they better had produce the goods to say sorry to her!

I’ve heard second-hand that a resident of Cavalier Road has suggested that the Basingstoke canal near his home should be filled in due to a mosquito nuisance. Some of the upper reaches of the derelict waterway still holds reasonable amounts of water for much of the year and this encourages birds, bats, frogs, newts, waterfowl and dragonflies etc. to live and breed. Whilst I can sympathise with the gentleman a little such a drastic and expensive action could surely never be justified unless a health risk existed from insect bites, something this country doesn’t suffer from (to my knowledge). My best suggestion would be to plant a number of elderberry yielding bushes between the canal and the gardens. This was always a deterrent against insect bites when we were kids out fishing or birding on summers evenings.
Mossies don’t like up ‘em Mr Mainwaring, they don’t like it up ‘em!

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