Near the bridge into the caves car  park I saw the flash of a black and white tail - a  Wheatear!  It was only passing  through.  They come up from sub Saharan Africa about now on their way to upland areas of  Wales or Exmoor, but it could go as far as Norway or even Iceland. A huge journey for such a small bird. Just  for an afternoon delighted me with its company. img1.png
img2.png I wonder if any of you will hear the cuckoo this spring – they very rarely heard  near our village these days .  Ham Walls on the levels is a good bet. 
The Wells SWT have a walk there on Tuesday  3rd of May, meeting in the Ashcott corner car park. at 7.00pm (ST449397).  Ham Walls is a real hot spot for all sorts of birds and other wildlife – If you haven’t heard them before it would be a chance to hear bitterns booming!  img3.png


 Les      C:    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   

Early nesting birds: 

 The winter thrushes, the Redwing and the Fieldfare  have left  us for their northern breeding grounds.

img1.png img2.png

but we still have our own three residents:  


Picture – looking down on winter floods from high ground

Most of us can be pretty smug, not much of our village floods, but my heart bleeds for those poor people up north that have been flooded time after time. In Somerset it is a bit different.  The levels are supposed to flood!  If we are going to have more exceptional weather events as Global Warming accelerates it will happen again and again. Dredging to upper Parrett is only a partial solution – and will probably mean the water will rush off even faster and flood Bridgewater!


Our British climate is, if possible, getting more changeable – and with Global Warming it will continue to become more and more extreme.  The effects on wildlife are a good indicator of how our climate is warming.  Over my lifetime wild flowers have been blooming earlier and earlier. But in the present winter the effects are even more extreme than anyone could have predicted. The Botanical Society of Great Britain, who do a regular New Year’s day survey of wild flowers found in bloom, usually count less than thirty flowering in the whole of GB- but this year they recorded 600!

I hear there is a mink in the valley- they are devils and will kill anything they get near. They are not  native and have no natural predators, apart from man. Some misguided animal liberators released them from mink farms and had a lot of adverse publicity a few years ago – but  American mink were already well established in most of the UK long before that, as escapes or deliberate releases from uneconomic mink farms. (it is not commonly known that there were at least 30 farms in UK where mink were bred for the fur trade in disgusting  conditions - till wearing of fur became unfashionable.  

I have the skull of one in my collection that came up the Axe a few years ago – only to meet it’s end by attempting to climb a drain pipe after swallows nests – but slid back down and drowned in the rain barrel !

All the conservation bodies in Somerset now have a policy of trapping the little brutes.


image.png  Picture – mink killing kingfisher from Halcyon River.BBC 


So, apart from Mink, here is a wish for peace to all the Almighty's  creatures and for the world in 2016

Happy Solstice/Christmas

Les C

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