Nature Notes – April 2023

by Andy Johnson

Rook in nestThose of you who live near the Green or at the top of Ham Hall Lane are well aware of the rooks. As colonial nesting birds they are both very noisy and litter the ground with branches. We currently have approximately sixty nests between both rookeries, yet less than five years ago there were none at Ham Hall. Most of the rooks will now be sat on eggs and by July the young will have flown and peace and quiet will be resumed.

In the last few days chiffchaffs have arrived and the odd sand martin has been spotted by the Swale. Ospreys are migrating and it is only a matter of time before they nest near Scruton. Last year a pair raised two chicks on the Bolton Estate and the male was regularly seen fishing on the lakes at Nosterfield.

Recently, while walking along Ham Hall Lane towards the level crossing, I saw two pairs of lapwing in a nearby field where the males were doing their wheeling display flights. Suddenly a peregrine falcon attacked one of the males but missed. The falcon continued its attack for a further three or four attempts but each time the lapwing flipped and escaped comfortably. By the end of April swallows, house martins and blackcaps should all be back, adding to the dawn and evening chorus.