The Messenger Online

Nature's Notes - October

First up, here’s a brief visit report from the Earsham Wetland Centre, which Jenny and I came across last month. The Centre lies just off the A143 this side of Bungay and is in beautiful location by the river Waveney that reminded me of the area around Flatford Mill down in Essex – Constable Country. There are Suffolk Punch horses there as well as various waterfowl, goats, sheep and a number of Storks.

We were thrilled to see a pair of Fallow Deer (sisters) during our visit to the Centre that we were able to closely approach as they had been hand-reared and were quite tame. Admission to the site is free - with donations being gratefully accepted – and there’s a small teashop. Recommended for a pleasant stroll around to admire the animals or, if you’re a painter, plenty of attractive landscapes to provide inspiration!

One item there wasn’t space to mention last month was a bird’s nest found empty by Jean Kemp on her lawn in early August. It was a tiny nest, being only about 5 cm wide, and was lined with the softest material imaginable – a comfy home for the baby birds! Being so small, and with conifer trees nearby, it was possibly made by Goldcrests and was presumably blown out of its tree by the wind.

Last month’s feature on the impressive caterpillar photographed by Colin Higgins has raised Ann Cottee’s curiosity who has delved into her reference books to discover more. Ann has come up with an alternative identification for the caterpillar – a Privet Hawk Moth. This fits the physical description and also can be seen between July and September in gardens of southern parts of England. That said, Colin notes that the caterpillar of the Manuca Sexta moth is widely used in UK research bio-labs due to its short life cycle so perhaps some may have gone native. We may never know!

Back in our own garden, we continue to be delighted by the number and variety of birds on the feeders. These have included the return of two favourites after a couple of month’s absence – Long Tailed Tits and Greater Spotted Woodpeckers. I’m also delighted to report that Mr Mole appears to have abandoned his work at the bottom of our garden – he was getting perilously close to our pond! Things have quietened down on the butterfly front, with just the occasional White now fluttering about. I think that my current total seen of 19 species might now be it for the year. 

Finally, shown opposite is another photograph of the visiting Alexandrine Parakeet mentioned last month and of the fledgling Green Woodpecker photographed by Peter and Jan Gray.

Happy Wildlife Watching!