Nature notes from John Holt
Autumn is with us and the trees stubbornly holding on to their leaves have made it a colourful end to the summer.
With a little sunlight the trees and hedges have been pretty spectacular and the variation of colour on even the motorway banking has been a treat – obviously someone knew what they were going when they chose the species – well done that person.
The Redwings have arrived from Scandinavia and beyond but I have not seen the Fieldfares yet. The little Teal is still there and so is the Cormorant! Have you picked your Sloes yet?
I took my dogs out picking up for the local shoot at the end of the month (October that is) and for once it was a fine day – the local shoot normally attracts a lot of rain – and I must say I enjoyed the walk as we were treated to quite a nature spectacular, several Roe Deer, several hares, buzzards and a fair group of Redwings, plus the odd pheasant or two. Very pleasant.
David Small reported Gold Crested Wrens (pictured) in his garden and another pair were seen in Stoke Charity, this our smallest bird and will often be seen in the valley at this time of year, they are quite brave and not easily disturbed so close up viewing is generally possible – hedges by the water, conifers their usual first choice.
The river is low but holding up – it has been a dry four months but Tim Finn-Kelcey advises that rain fall to date this year has been above average – must say I haven’t noticed this in the water meadow. Readings for October were Stoke Charity 37mm, Sutton Scotney 33mm, thank you Clinton and 36mm in Alresford from Peter Clarke.
On a final note whilst walking on the water meadow always looking for sign of wildlife I came across droppings (yes, poo!) that contained the remains of several Signal crayfish – fox, no there would have been berries in it at this time of year, Mink, possible, but where there are mink most of the Moorhen and Coote population would have gone. Otter is probably the answer but I have seen no other sign – we shall look further.
Whilst you are reading this we will be on the run up to Christmas, have a safe and happy one.
Image of Goldcrest from www.rspb.org.uk