Nature Notes For September

This months Nature Notes also incoporates and update on the Common;

It would seem that the dust has well and truly settled regarding the furore about the Common use as I’ve heard no negative (or positive!) feedback since first including the subject last month. So no news is good news in my book and a stroll with the family and pooch on Sunday (4th August) was very pleasantly serene with happy horses and healthy grass re-growing. It was also nice to see that the horses owners have opened a Facebook page on ‘their behalf’ so that regular Common users can familiarise themselves on the animals names and a bit of their history.

Thanks to Phil Males for some lovely shots of Southern Hawker dragonflies and to Chris Beadle’s photo of an Elephant Hawkmoth, although sadly the creature had expired unnoticed in a corner of a conservatory.

Roger Rummey reported numerous and noisy hedgehogs in his garden and a number of people have commented about the very loud grunting ‘hogs’ make and for the length of time. Well mating only comes round once or twice a year for hedgehogs so they are going to make the most of it aren’t they??

Terry McAnish was surprised just how many birds have been using the feeders in his garden recently and the three photos he sent, which have been forwarded to ‘Basinga Extra’ showed a GSW, Nuthatch and no fewer than 10 Blue and one Great Tit occupying the food on offer.

We have myriads of House Sparrows which is good news for what is a declining species. Unfortunately for them a male Sparrowhawk has mapped a flight path from the road, over the side gate, through the feeder area and on to the rear gardens of Belle Vue so there is often a flurry of (mostly) escaping birds as he zones in!

Mink have struck again with a vengeance

Sven Godesen’s riverside haven has for years suffered major waterfowl losses because of these voracious hunters but the ante was upped in a major way when they dispatched two broods of Canada Geese, 10 in total, forcing the pairs of adult birds to flee. A week previously his two large white ‘guard geese’ were also killed although he admits this could have been a fox.

We all love bees but when 10,000 settle in ones privet hedge its quite concerning. This event occurred mid July, a big swarm filling the air before settling around the queen and quietening right down as dusk approached. We contacted local apiarist Penny Jubin and she came round the following day to take a look and to drop them into a large box next to the hedge. As night fell again and the bees had accepted their temporary new home, she shut them up and took them to one of her hives in Pyotts Hill. All exciting stuff to watch and let’s hope they now produce the goods.

My good lady and I enjoyed a cruise to Norway at the end of July and whilst very beautiful scenery and good weather there was a disappointing amount of wildlife/ birdlife to be seen, which may have been purely to do with the time of year. What there were though were loads of Swallows zipping across the lakes and meadows and Painted Lady butterflies which were drawn up on the heatwave we had mid July. We even had several on the ship so it’s not hard to see why bugs can easily spread to other countries when they are stowaways.

Rick Bourne

Don’t forget to send all nature-related photos to or or tel. 01256 321108. For bird food requirements, order from me at ‘Bird Drop-ins’, use the former email address or tel. 07900 648675 to place an order or get a form.

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