Wet days can be great days…

Why do people let a bit of rain get in the way of their plans – it’s only water, and if the weather is otherwise warm, what’s the problem? Yes, a winter storm, with ice cold sheets of rain and strong winds, chilling you to the bone can be a bit off-putting but if you wrap up in warm, waterproof clothes, it still shouldn’t stop people going outside for a bit of fresh (maybe bracing would be a better word) air.

Yesterday was a brilliant wet day, which started off with the May Breeding Bird Survey at Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s Blakenhall site, went on to include scrub clearance at a bog near Oakmere just off the A49, followed by some womble habitat improvement in my back garden and finished off with a few beers down my local. All but the latter included a bit of heavy rain – thankfully the survey was completed before the water started falling as rainy conditions can reduce the chase of seeing or hearing the birds but it chucked it down as I walk back to my car.

The survey at Blakenhall was slightly disappointing as I only recorded 17 species, compared to the 28 and 24 recorded on the previous two visits.  However, I did see four lapwing (hopefully two breeding pairs) – these birds are a red listed species and have suffered very significant declines over recent years.  The scenes at the reserve have changed so much since my first visits there late last year.  The trees are nearly all fully out in leaf and the ground cover is growing quickly – my next and final survey visit, in June, might require the use of a machete!

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As I arrived at Oakmere to join the other Crewe & Nantwich Conservation Volunteers, the heavens opened and there was serious talk of going straight home. Fortunately, we all agreed to stay and get on with the task.  The task was on a privately owned Site of Special Scientific Interest and we were removing birch and pine saplings from a bog to help restore it back to its previous boggy state.  We removed a significant section of the scrub but there will need to be quite a few more shifts there to remove it all.

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I’ve bought a hedgehog (womble) shelter and have put it under the hedge in my back garden. I’ve also bought some hedgehog food and am now trying to entice them into my garden. I’ve already found hedgehog scat on my driveway but at present there’s no way for them to get through to the back as there’s no suitable hole in gate or fence – this will have to be rectified!  The heavens opened again as I was installing the shelter under the hedge but I didn’t get too soaked.

Hedgehogs are in serious decline and there is a campaign ‘Hedgehog Street‘ to encourage communities to work together to improve habitats for these spiky creatures.

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