Nature Notes

Apr 30, 2020 | Bits & Bobs

When I finished my April Notes with an upbeat Hurrah for Spring, only a few weeks ago, none of us knew what was coming, did we?  Strange times indeed! And sobering too. So, before any wildlife reports – can I just say, please everyone stay safe and well, and also thanks for kind offers of support if needed.  What a nice village this is!

It was on one of our daily exercise walks that I heard the sound I’d been waiting for.  Passing the allotments, I heard the chiffchaff in great voice!  Couldn’t see it of course, as, like all LBJs they’re very good at lurking in the leaves. But it means Spring has definitely sprung, despite everything!  And there is still quite a lot to cheer us. The trees are handsome in their fresh green leaves, the blossom has been stunning this year, the cleaner air accentuating all the colours around us, and with less plane and traffic noise we hear more of the sounds that nature can offer.

The birds are well into parenthood, and once again feeders are constantly in need of refills! Ground feed attracts all our usual visitors – jackdaws, rooks, starlings, blackbirds, pheasants – and chaffinches galore this year, some with a variety of plumage, so almost certainly visitors from the EU! A yellowhammer came one afternoon too, the first one we’ve seen for about ten years. He sadly didn’t return, but a goldcrest made several trips to our small round window to pick flakes of bark for its nest. This photo doesn’t really do it justice – such a gorgeous tiny bird with its brow a stripe of gold.

From something so small to a much bigger creature. A friend who lives alongside the river at Pulborough was kayaking and saw this seal near Stopham Bridge just a few days ago. Someone else saw it in February too, and it appears quite content and in good health. Will it swim back down to the sea, I wonder?

Other sightings include the tawny owl – again in the daytime, so surely hunting food for youngsters – a little owl just along the lane – a raven is around – a jay, screeching happily – the deer are still here – and down in East Lavant many swallows are back in their nests at the stables. They’ll be here soon, we hope.

Also – having been inspected, and hopefully passed muster from the Red Kite last month, I’m delighted to announce that as we walked down the footpath behind us, between rows of blackthorn sparkling in the sun, we saw a pair of them above the trees this morning. Maybe thinking of nesting?? Fingers crossed!

And lastly – does anyone know what this odd creature is (left) – found on our freezer door? It flew off when I rescued it. I’ve looked up all moths etc with no success. There could be a special prize on offer!! A stick of vintage Champagne rhubarb – it’s been grown in our garden ever since Dick Carter lived here as a boy!


Sue J