Heavy rain, cold, and Wimbledon semi-final all conspired to make our bat event on 6th July a very small one! However the barbeque was enjoyed and we were fortunate enough to hear and see lesser Horseshoe bats in the farm buildings, as well as Pipistrelles and others ( including possibly Serotine?) coasting about near the pond and over the tracks linking the buildings. The following day I heard that 34 Bechstein bats had been counted by the woodland monitors, and at the weekend, new guests to the B&B were thrilled to watch the spotted flycatchers bringing food to their nest, and, because it was so cold and I’d put out seed again, also saw woodpeckers, nuthatch and others on the feeders. Now we have yet more swarming bees, who have decided to live under some eave tiles on the granary roof. Numbers have appeared in the house, seeming confused and out of sorts, and I wonder if they have been affected by insecticide locally, as it has been proved to upset their homing sense (if it doesn’t kill them altogether). How I wish that people when buying their food and drinks would make the connection and insist on crops grown without these sprays – but perhaps our own intellectual faculties are similarly affected, or is it just laziness?
Further walks are planned, possibly another bat walk later in the summer when it is warmer (?), and in the winter we are looking forward to an interesting and educational morning learning how to prune traditional orchard trees with a view to wildlife, landscape, and productivity, led by Janet Lomas. I hope to then have the time over the winter months to apply these lessons, though there is plenty of other HLS work to do to hedges and ponds. The Higher Level Stewardship Scheme (HLS) is demanding and the weather can play havoc with our plans! We do our best. The new pond we made this spring is already full of ‘wiggly things’ and several hedges have been protected by new fence lines. With the help of the AONB we have also planted hedge trees, oaks, and disease-resistant elms which will help maintain important features of the traditional landscape for future generations.