A regular visitor hogging limelight
PUBLISHED: 12:03 14 September 2007 | UPDATED: 23:03 28 May 2010
Have a regular hedgehog snuffling around my garden at night now. It is particularly fond of foraging on the grass where it searches for worms and slugs (which are at a high population level I understand because of the wet summer). For the last few years,
Have a regular hedgehog snuffling around my garden at night now.
It is particularly fond of foraging on the grass where it searches for worms and slugs (which are at a high population level I understand because of the wet summer).
For the last few years, I have found these spiny little fellows much harder to come by and it does seem as if there are fewer around in general, so it is nice to have 'one of my own' to keep an eye on now.
It is no doubt busy piling on the weight ready for hibernation. It must eat enough in the next few weeks to survive winter.
Down at Sutton Gault the other evening, a superb and unexpected finale to an evening's birdwatching watching an impressive variety of wading birds on a flood on the washes, came in the form of a group of noctule bats.
The most familiar bat is the pipistrelle bat and this is the one you are most likely to see flying around your garden or roosting in your roof or outbuildings.
There are actually two species of pipistrelle bat now, but they can be told apart only with the help of a bat detector that converts their echolocation ultrasound signals to frequencies that we can hear.
Scientists have recently recognised the soprano pipistrelle as a separate species to the common pipistrelle. It can only be reliably told apart from the common pipistrelle by its echolocation call, which is on 55 kHz rather than 45kHz.
I saw at least four noctules down at the gault that evening. They are considerably larger than the small, fluttery familiar pipistrelles and were performing feeding circuits over the paddock and road opposite the old Anchor pub.
Their ears can be seen in flight and they fly high in the sky on broad wings eating flying insects, such as moths.
Birds may start to return to your garden now after a bit of an absence while they visited the countryside. There should still be plenty of natural food left there, but I'm hoping that the blackbirds and thrushes return to take advantage of the reasonable crop of crab apples on my small, but becoming rapidly established tree.
I'm not sure if my six- month old rowan will bear fruit this autumn, but hopefully it will, as these berries are very popular with birds, too.