Nature notes from the Churchyard

We are delighted to let you know that all the wildlife homes, including the owl box and dormouse box, funded by your generous donations to the shared Eco-Christmas Card 2020, are now in place in the churchyard.

Already we have a needy local hedgehog, presently being treated at the local 'hogspital', preparing to take up residence in one of our beautiful hog-homes. A massive thank you to Andy and Janet Young who helped position the heavy concrete bases for these...sterling work!

The other day I was excited to see a male blue-tit pop his head, not once, but twice in the space of a couple of minutes, inside one of our boxes. Eye-ing up the facilities, I wonder? Or perhaps feeding a female already incubating eggs? Watch this space!

Also, there are regular churchyard visits from two pairs of blackbirds, a pair of robins, a jay and a pair of nuthatches, all enjoying foraging in the leafy compost, along the mossy oak branches and amongst the fallen acorns. Meanwhile, tiny gold-crests (the UK's smallest bird weighing a mere 6 grams) are performing acrobatics in the high conifers, whilst fairy-like long-tailed tits are collecting delicate spiders' webs and moss for their exquisitely crafted dome-shaped nests.

With the churchyard currently looking glorious, carpeted with a heady floral mix of primroses, late crocuses, daffodils, lesser celandine, early bluebells, sweet violets, green alkanet and forget-me-knots (to name only a few), I have observed regular visits from butter-yellow brimstone butterflies, a scalloped-edged comma, two colourfully eye-spotted peacock butterflies, plus several queen bumble bees, buff-tailed bees and early hover-flies gorging on the nectar-rich blooms in the Spring sunshine.

A queen bumble-bee enjoys feeding from a late March crocus- photo: Margaret Keane.

In fact, perhaps due to less disturbance over the last year, the habitat seems at present the richest with flying insects I have ever noticed over my 40 years of casual observation. Plenty of fresh food for our bats to enjoy when they emerge rather peckish from their winter hibernation!

Why not take a leisurely look round and enjoy this serene and blessed green space? Perhaps take some time to reflect on God's amazing grace and goodness after you add your symbol of hope to our beautiful Easter Garden?

Do let us know if you spot anything interesting or unusual. This will greatly assist us in our data collection and surveys.

Meanwhile, I'm off to see whether those blue-tits have decided to settle in!

More 'Nature Notes' next month.

Janette Jolly (on behalf of St Peter's Creation Care Group).

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