May 2010 - Spring

Spring is well underway and our village is reaping the rewards of the planted daffodils. Hedgerows and trees are blossoming and the sun is warming us all. I’m so glad the ‘beware of ducks’ sign went up and hope that drivers take heed. A couple of years back the car in front of me hit a duck, hopefully that will not happen again. A few days ago as I drove over the bridge up Harts Lane there appeared out of no-where 2 male blackbirds fighting in the middle of the road undoubtedly over nearby territory. I slowed down to a crawl hoping they would fly away when they saw me- but they were oblivious. One had hold of the other’s neck in its beak, and it was not going to let go. I had to stop. They were virtually under the car. Luckily there was no traffic about. After a few seconds the underdog managed to get free and flew away with the other in hot pursuit.  I was able to continue my journey. That ‘duck’ sign could therefore also apply to blackbirds - and then why not pheasants as they never seem to have any road sense- and what about partridge and pigeon. The list could go on to include other animals such as hedgehogs. Driving responsibly helps to protect wildlife in general.

Going back to birds I saw something that interested me over Easter. While walking by the gypsy ponies I saw a Jackdaw on one pony’s back. The pony was continuing to feed without a care in the world totally disinterested in her avian jockey. After a few moments the bird flew off with a beak full of horsehair which it was obvious going to use for nest building.  I suppose that is one way of getting material for a nest! Naturalists say that the crow family, of which jackdaws are one, are extremely intelligent. I would be interested to hear personal experiences from any Bawburgh resident on intelligence relating to the crow family.

Bumblebee on blackberry (reproduced with kind permission of Lindsey Stephens)

With the change in the weather comes the growing of the grass. Many insects have survived the winter in and around the house and harlequin ladybirds in particular were sunning themselves all over the place when I cut our grass over Easter. I kept on having to stop the mower to lift them out of the way. I know that harlequin ladybirds have bad press but they are here to stay and still have role to play when it comes to greenfly and black fly control in the garden. As well as ladybirds we seem to have lots of queen bumblebees and queen wasps which are flying in and around the house presumably attempting to find suitable locations for nests.  I love to see the bumblebees but wasps - have been stung too many times. I have yet to see a honey bee this year. Hope you all enjoy your own sightings of wildlife in and around Bawburgh.    


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