Nature Notes – October 2023

In early September, I woke to find my car covered in Sahara dust, thanks to a huge plume of hot air from the south. Sahara dust is responsible for delivering an estimated 22 kilotons of phosphorous and other nutrients to the rain forests of South America. Local farmers will be only too happy to receive free fertiliser!

A minkI was surprised to see 3 moorhens in the churchyard recently as they are not common by the Swale. Some of you have reported seeing mink and these voracious predators are probably responsible for the demise of local mallard, coot and moorhen. Mink were introduced from the US into fur farms in the late 1920’s but were banned in 2003. There were escapees and deliberate releases into the wild and mink soon became prevalent in many UK river systems. Despite their negative impact on native wildlife, all governments have failed to set up eradication programmes. It is legal for landowners or their reps to trap and shoot them.

Look out for a Great White Egret by the Swale, it is as large as a grey heron.