There was good attendance for Peter Garner's Wildlife Walk last month, when we ambled around the old sand pit and adjacent meadows, looking at the more unusual plants to be found on these sandier fields (most of the farm is heavy clay), before ending up in the farm kitchen for refreshments as usual. We found 'Townhall Clock' and also a large patch of Helleborines in the shady woodland in the old pit area. Many small toads (tiny, just developed from their tadpole phase) were observed, one tiny frog!, butterflies of course, although it was evening, and we heard a blackcap singing well. I am very grateful to Peter who has such a detailed knowledge of this area of the farm.
Since then it has been hot - I've been concerned about the trees and damper areas and was pleased to get some rain at last. A Spotted Flycatcher is nesting on my house and I am living peaceably alongside wasp and hornet nests. Just to observe the wasp nest being constructed and organised is awe-inspiring. Young birds are still turning up to the bird table for soaked bread (home-made!) and other left-overs, in particular Robins, Blue-tits, and Hedge-sparrows. A family of tawny owls regularly uses my bedroom balcony rail for their night-time parties and I heard a badger down below in the garden the other night. The wild areas in my garden are a huge success, with birds, bees and butterflies as well as amphibians and even a stoat making use of them. Each year they are cut back down in spring, to grow again such plants as thistle, dock, teazel, vetch, moon-daisy, convolvulus, willow-herb, wild rose, etc. We've added some feverfew, foxgloves and buddleia too. Its so easy! beautiful in flower, and rewarding to watch, even in the winter when the goldfinches and others feast on the seeds. The areas are about 15 foot across and surrounded by short grass which can be easily mown, and offset from each other so creatures can cross from one area to another in peace. I rather enjoy hiding in there myself!