Similar to last year, April’s weather has been dominated by a cool northerly airstream, but without the devastating frosts. Consequently cherry and magnolia blossom, daffodils and tulips have been good and long lasting. Our first swallows arrived on the 13 April, closely followed by the odd house martin, blackcap and most unusually, a number of willow warblers which do not nest here but, after feeding for a few days, continue north. At the moment a pair of nuthatches are nesting in a hole in a plane tree on the village green. It is situated to the left of the notice board about twelve feet from the ground. The hole was originally about five inches in diameter but the birds have reduced it to roughly one and a half inches by blocking the entrance with mud, so only they can squeeze in.
Occasionally, unusual natural visitors are seen in the village. Peter Williams reminded me of the time he had complained of a heron taking his fish, then Caroline Byrne told him she had recently seen an otter go through his gate! More recently Stephen Elmer saw a young roe deer buck on the green near his garden gate.
At night foxes and hedgehogs are out and about in the village. Recent sightings include five little egrets, a kingfisher’s nest and an osprey all near the island at the Swale. Look out for swifts and cuckoos. One cuckoo is already back in Scotland.
by Andy Johnson