by Andy Johnston
Graham Bourne recently complained that he had ‘mole problems’ in his lawn. Sure enough there were the tell tale mole hills. I was somewhat surprised at this, as during drought conditions, moles operate in a deep underground network of tunnels which can be hundreds of metres long. Here they collect and eat worms which fall from the tunnel roof. Those that aren’t eaten are stored in special chambers. The worms are immobilised by a bite to the head segment and up to 470 worms have been recorded in one chamber. Under normal weather conditions the worms are close to the soil surface and the moles create networks of temporary tunnels in order to catch them. This is when they form characteristic mole hills.
During the recent heat wave, swifts have been collecting in the evening sky above the village and in tight-knit flocks they scream low past their nesting sites. This is an indication that their young are ready to fledge and in the next few days they will go. Many will form huge flocks and perform spectacular aerial displays as they feed over large lakes and reservoirs on their way south.