by Andy Johnson
When I left school, farming was simple. Produce food for people to eat, as much as possible to feed the nation. The more we farmers produced the better off we were financially. By the time of the Ethiopian famine, I thought that we could help feed the world.
We remembered a village event held on the playing fields, when people dancing in the rain caused worms to emerge. You may also have seen gulls ‘paddling’ their feet to lure worms to the surface.
With dusk falling earlier, now is a good time to see tawny owls sitting at high points in the village as they contest for winter territories by hooting. There are regular sightings of a barn owl sitting on posts between Fence Dyke Lane and The Grange.
Summer came to a sudden stop on Bank Holiday weekend with strong northerly winds significantly reducing the air temperature. Despite this we still have a handful of nesting house martins and a pair of swallows.
At this time of year, with many flowers in full bloom, butterflies are evident, especially brimstone, peacock, red admiral and small tortoiseshell. Occasionally we have a huge influx of painted ladies from Africa.
So far June has been anything but ‘flaming’ with strong north and easterly winds bringing cool, damp weather from the North Sea. Despite this the rooks have fledged and peace has returned to those who live near the Green! We have a good number of house martins nesting in the village, but only a few…
Storm Arthur has brought spring to an abrupt end, wrecking blossom trees and gardens and scorching Mary & Rory Clarke’s apple tree! On a brighter note, Audrey & Gordon McQuillen have had a song thrush nest in their garden and have watched the fledglings being fed snails and slugs.
April is the month when winter gives way to summer. The winter thrushes have been replaced by house martins and swallows, of which we have one or two already.
Spring has finally arrived, the dawn chorus is well underway and skylarks are singing. Daylight is rapidly increasing, encouraging the re-birth of plant and animal life. Those of you with ponds will no doubt have plenty of frog spawn (photo thanks to Liz Davies) which will be followed by toad spawn towards the end of…
February has proven to be an extremely wet and windy month with the Swale breaking its banks on three occasions. The large areas of flood land have attracted blackheaded and herring gulls, together with lapwing, golden plover and curlew, all of which will be dispersing to their breeding grounds within the next week or two.…