Aylmerton Nature Diary

Thursday 7th February

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Dunnock, in full song down the lane – first hint of Spring?

In marked contrast to the last few weeks, yesterday was positively Spring-like. With temperatures reaching double figures it’s not surprising that nature responded. All down the lane and through the park there were birds singing – Dunnock, Mistle Thrush & Nuthatch were all holding forth – and there were plenty of Snowdrops pushing up under the hedgerows. On the lake the cob Mute Swan is becoming increasingly aggressive towards last year’s off-spring, in preparation for the coming breeding season. Further down Scarrow Beck I was pleased to find the wintering male Stonechat but unfortunately I couldn’t locate his mate – not seen since New Year. Meanwhile, back at the dam, the National Trust staff and volunteers were in the process of finishing-off  work on the spillway and new footbridge. Provided that ‘Dragon Corner’ quickly re-grows and there is some re-planting around the old out-flow, the scheme will, I think, have improved the overall habitat in this area of the park.

Great work on the part of team National Trust in finishing-off the work on the ‘river crossing’ and re-opening the footpath across the dam

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On the disappointing side, however, I retraced my steps from the other day through Common Plantation and found a dump of around 30 new spent twelve-bore cartridges. Leaving aside the arguments about the dangerous proximity to the footpaths and the concern about what might be the intended prey, this is littering in the countryside on an unacceptable scale and although there are claims for ‘environmentally friendly’ gun cartridges, generally they are not bio-degradable!

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