Nature notes from John Holt
The 1st of October, the Swallows and Martins have gone, the harvest is in and by all reports a good one. The local maize is as high as an elephant’s eye, the trout fishing season is over and the pheasant (pictured) shooting season has begun – please note my message on the Hunton Cress beds! The starlings will be grouping up and starting their late evening aerial display, please let me know when and at what time you see them.
Our Indian summer has been pretty fantastic and our local rain men seem to disagree with the national weather men as to whether September was the driest since records began or not – Tim Finn-Kelcey certainly does not agree, Tim suggests Sept ’78 and ’97 were drier and he has recorded warmer. Peter Clark came in with a 9.5mm rainfall which was his first where Alresford was less than Stoke Charity at 17mm. Thank you Gents.
The water table and the river have held up well, the Kingfisher is quite active as are the Herons, we have a family of three, one adult and two young working the river between Stoke Charity bridge and Giddy bridge but fortunately at the moment they are preoccupied with reducing the frog and toad population which has exploded in the water meadows, rather than the fish in the river. I am sure this will change when the fish start to move up river to spawn in Nov/Dec.
Our two man team have completed removing the falled trees from the water meadow and the log pile is slowly reducing. With luck we will not need them back next year. The digger man has removed about 60% of the roots and stacked them down the field extremes to provide a beetle bank and habitat for a range of species. We have left an avenue of stumps to remind us of what was there before and if they grow shoots it will give the meadow a bit of character – if they don’t the digger men will be back.
The Stoke Charity/Hunton footpath is open and we have constructed a new bridge over the stream by the road, the council-built wheelchair-friendly bridge remains incomplete but navigable unless of course you are in a wheelchair.
Sightings from our kitchen window this month including Kingfisher, Multijack, Herons, Foxes, the usual squirrels and a moor hen family – why did I build a hide in the meadow?
Image of Pheasant from www.rspb.org.uk