Nature notes from John Holt
September, gone with the Swifts and Swallows, a pretty average month with rainfall of 71mm in Sutton Scotney and 77mm in Stoke Charity with a max single day recording of 42mm and 47mm on Sept 16th. These days, when it rains, it rains.
The river’s low but holding up and the Kingfisher has been seen in Stoke Charity and Wonston, better late than never. On the pond in the water meadow there has been a Cormorant, an unwelcome visitor as he is a great underwater swimmer and fish eater – must be fish in the pond, I will have to investigate. Last time I tried, to investigate that is, I had forgotten the finer and fundamental arts of coarse fishing, small hook, big worm, nice colourful float, the odd lead shot to stabilise and a fixed spool reel and off we go, except I was using a spinning rod which turned out not to be the best thing for casting a float. After several attempts, max casting distance about 15 feet, max tangle around my fixed spool reel made a cobweb look comparatively simple – on the second cut away I decided that home for a cup of tea was a distinctly better idea.
Another day and Alan Sherwood on hearing of my woes offered to loan me his coarse fishing rod – duly delivered I was called elsewhere in the day and never made it – so on retrieving the rod from the boss’ car we broke the rod tip – there is something stopping me going coarse fishing!
The Blackberries and Sloes are patchy this year but if you find a healthy bush the blackberries are very rewarding, in days gone by when we were kids we used to pick blackberries and take them to a local agent who would send them on to be used in manufacture of dye – I wonder if this happens today.
Sighting – on the pond on last day of September a female Teal (pictured), very early but could indicate that the frosts have come early to Russia and Scandinavia. The moorhen population outside the cottage have once again declined due to the local cats, only adults remain from the 2 broods of 4 chicks. With Brexit I think we should adopt Aussie rules for domestic cats – leave you to google.
Image of Teal from www.rspb.org.uk