4.Wookey Hole Wildlife: Late summer
I had a phone call the other day from a chap living on the levels with a ‘road kill’ “Is this a Polecat?”
Not many years ago the wild Polecat was almost extinct, living in a remote area of Wales, then for some reason there was a rapid recovery across Wales , crossing the Severn, and arriving in Somerset only a few years ago. It is difficult to tell a Polecat from a feral ferret, they do hybridise, and have virtually the same markings. To be sure, an expert needs to check the DNA. They do well in areas where there are lots of rabbits. This one has been sent for an expert to look over. They are still enough of a rarity to need monitoring.
Swifts have gone, almost as mysteriously as when they arrived in late April.
Late July we saw them gathering in larger and larger family groups, high above, then the next day they were gone. They will be overwintering in sub Saharan Africa and won’t land again till they return here to their family nest sites in the village or in Wells church towers. The Swallows and Martins will be with us for some time yet - most years they will be urging their 3rd brood to ‘get a move on’ in late September/early October.
Useful wildlife tip: Birds give out a whole range of calls – get used to the ‘normal’ call of our House Martins – if it changes and become more urgent look out – it could be a Sparrow hawk, or a Hobby up from the levels, prospecting for an easy lunch!