Nature Notes For September

That very hot spell brought back memories of 1976, coincidentally the year I got married, when
gardens suffered all over the country due to lack of rain and excess withering sunshine. I wasn’t
aware of the UK wildlife’s ability to cope then but certainly am now and one can only imagine
the difficulties that most creatures endure.

This summer of course also followed a pretty nasty winter but it may be a year or two yet
before we really see if there are any lasting effects. In the bird world, it would seem it’s been
an excellent breeding season for Blue and Great Tits with many immature birds emptying the
feeders in my garden all day long.

As mentioned last month, Bee numbers are worryingly down whereas wasp numbers seem way
up as indeed are Butterflies but perhaps this is just a perception or a localised trend. Nicola
Matthews from Hatch Lane called to say that her lavender bushes have tons of bees yet there
are few Butterflies so this is odd because, as the Butter flys (did you see what I did there?) she
is only several hundred yards away.

Thank you again for various hedgehog snippets and our spiky friends have made a good
comeback in 2018. Linda Palmer dropped me a line to say that a pair in her garden appeared to
be getting quite frisky with each other so in the hope that the sound of tiny paws might be heard
Linda was putting out cat food and water to make the amorous pair feel at home!

Maureen Johnson in Blenheim Road asked where she might acquire more dedicated hedgehog
food as her supply was exhausted and she had two hungry sharing her offerings every night
and occupying a house in the garden every day. The best moist food is called Spikes but is
rarely found in the shops, although Waitrose claim to sell it, so ordering it on line seems one’s
best bet.

Margaret Chewter in Basingfield Close spotted three young Song Thrushes recently, so given
the time of year it’s a sure indication that the parents must be on their second, possibly third,

Tony Vines who often contacts me about various sightings reported seeing a Mink on the
afternoon of 18th July as it crossed the path from the river to the old fish ponds about halfway
between the road bridge and the viaduct. These nasty pieces of work have been seen here before
and it’s no coincidence that the duck and moorhen broods are scarce again along this part of
the Loddon. What’s needed is a concerted effort of trapping perhaps from the Environment
Agency but getting action is a whole different matter. To save some of the indigenous wildlife
in this vicinity it’s essential that the mink is eradicated as soon as possible.

Colin and Viv Williams, last month’s correspondents about bees, had an odd visitor to their front
door a couple of weeks back, a Stoat, nosing around in the porch as if it was quite the normal
thing to do. One sight of Colin sent the streamlined mammal zipping off into the undergrowth.
Perhaps it had kits to feed and was finding the hot weather unhelpful to fulfil this need?

Don’t forget to send all your nature related photos to
Richard Bourne – tel. 01256 321108; email:
For ‘Bird Drop-ins’, use answerphone 01256 842722

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