Nature and Conservation


Wildlife Ways November 2018



 Crisp autumn colours have now given way to damp, grey gloom, but as always, I am upbeat about the coming festive season.  For me, the struggle begins after the decorations are down and everything looks bare, with weeks to go until spring arrives.  During that time, it is hard to notice the nights are getting shorter bit by bit.  It is then, more than ever, when I need nature in my life – getting outside on a daily basis really helps me with the winter blues.

I am so very grateful to have Harry, our gentle giant, rescue pup in our lives.   Without him for the past 9 winters, there would have been no reason to drag myself out of bed in the dark to pull on my boots and coat and get some fresh air and exercise.  I would miss so much – the wren marking territory with its lung bursting song, the split second of eye contact with the startled deer or the amusement as Harry tries to jump up the trees to catch the slightly more agile squirrels.  

The chill in the air clears your head as you observe your own breath and discover intricate spider webs bejewelled with mist or frost.  We are so lucky to live just a few steps away from woodland or open fields.  Nature is amazing, and it is proven to have restorative powers, just a few minutes outdoors increases wellbeing, reducing blood pressure and stress levels and improving mood as well as burning a few extra calories – so why are we so obsessed with screens and negativity? Get yourself outside, what’s not to like ?? 

I’ve yet to spot any winter visitors from afar but we have had flocks of long-tailed tits visiting the feeders and the heron continues to pass over several times a day.  The hedgerows are alive with mixed finch flocks.  The hedgehog food that I am putting out is disappearing daily but I’m not entirely sure that it is the hedgehog that is eating it…I have suggested that, if he’s feeling generous, Santa might like to bring me a motion activated trail camera, so I can watch what’s going on night and day.  So watch this space…I am hoping I am on the ‘nice’ list this year and that the culprit is not just next door’s cat!  

I’ve disinfected the feeders and scrubbed out the bird bath, so we are ready to support the birds through the coming months.  There is also a bowl of fresh water on the ground alongside the hedgehog food and I’ve put some fresh hay in the hibernation box in the hope that it will attract a winter resident.  We have left the fallen leaves on the flower beds to provide shelter for insects and possibly our resident frog.  I am also optimistically hoping that the toad may choose to shelter in our hibernaculum – the pile of rocks and stones I dug into the ground earlier in the summer. 

I think the best advice is to leave everything uncut and undisturbed for as long as possible so that wildlife can feed on berries, shelter in shrubs and dead stems and avoid plummeting temperatures under leaf or wood piles.  It may look a little messy but you’re giving nature a home and come spring you’ll have even more reason to get outside ??

One last request – please do enjoy the festive season and perhaps put out an extra treat or two for the birds (don’t forget the fresh water too).  Eat drink and be merry and then get outside in nature to walk it all off – there’s no better cure for overindulgence - honest!  Oh – and don’t forget to sign up for the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch over the weekend of 26-28 January so you can count the wildlife that’s counting on you.


Please feel free to ask questions, send me your wildlife news or offer suggestions of what you would like me to include in future -113 Ermine Street or and thank you for all of the emails you have sent so far.