Nature Notes

May 31, 2018 | Bits & Bobs

This lovely picture of an orchid was taken very early one morning by another Sue in our lane! The day after she sent it the council man cut the verges, but the orchids all escaped – possibly because both Sues have nagged him in the past! Whatever the reason – hooray! There’s a big campaign by Plantlife at the moment, reminding us how important for all wildlife these green edges are. So, let’s not shave them too close, and maybe leave some bits alone altogether?

Another escapee was this great spotted woodpecker. One of my go-to wildlife gurus, Peter Edmonds, was called to a friend’s conservatory to do the rescue. Peter managed to get him out, but as he said, “not before he’d made a small hole in one of my fingers” (Well, that’s the price a wildlife guru sometimes has to pay). As you can see the bird was a little hot and breathless but unscathed. They are such handsome creatures!

We have heard the cuckoo and a distant nightingale, and seen swallows and a few swifts, so summer is almost here. The trees are still in that gorgeous fresh green stage, and the fields are beginning to colour up with wild flowers, campion, buttercups, oxe-eye daisies, vetches, and with many more to come.  It all reminds me how lucky we are to live somewhere like this.

Yesterday we were in Kent – in more lovely open countryside – with a small crowd of primary school children, their teachers and several hedgehogs. And we all had the pleasure of sharing their  release – the hogs not the children! They’d all been found and rescued late last year, all underweight with little chance of survival. Hedgehogs need to be about 600 grams to hibernate successfully. Cared for overwinter, warm and well fed, they were now plump and healthy hogs.  Both teachers and children were so enthusiastic and happy to see them go back into the wild. A joyous time! And this event was all down to a devoted couple, Frank and Veronica, and their fantastic team of helpers, at Andrew’s Hedgehog Hospital in Appleby, Lincs.

There’s another keen wildlife couple up in Loxwood. They live in a splendid woodland, and we were very kindly invited to see pictures from their nestbox camera. Two tawny owl chicks are doing well so far, and we hope to get a chance to follow their progress. We also saw a fabulous family of kestrels, filmed in that same box in the past.  And they gave us tea and cake sitting in a gorgeous big garden – on a lovely sunny afternoon!  So that was the price we had to pay! It’s a hard life for us wildlife fans……

Sue J