News – Page 5

Nature Notes


Jean Powley

The Orange Tip, a springtime butterfly
Photo: Jean Powley

Nature Notes

Dangerous Times

As I stood at an upstairs window, I looked out in horror as a newly fledged Blackbird stood in the middle of the road, obviously waiting for a delivery of food from one of its parents. Sure enough, a few seconds later, dad came along and fed it some grubs. Knowing the speed of some of the cars whizzing up and down my road, I felt I had to act quickly in order to get the fledgling to a safer place, otherwise it would be yet another roadkill victim. I ran downstairs, put on some shoes and grabbed the keys. No sooner had I unlocked and opened the front door, the young bird had disappeared, and a cat ran past me down the road. It was with great relief that it held nothing in its mouth. The young Blackbird had lost two of its nine lives!

These are dangerous times for young birds. In the garden we can take steps to provide cover for them but even then, it is not 100% effective. Unfortunately, we are not always able to control what happens outside of our gardens. There are so many dangers involved. Not only traffic but also cats, Sparrowhawks, corvids such as Magpies, squirrels and you may be surprised to learn, also the Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Here are a few tips to help our birds keep safe. To prevent cats from predating birds, a bell on a collar may help. It is also recommended that you keep cats in at night time and let them out well after dawn as this is when birds are more active. In order to prevent squirrels and woodpeckers predating nestlings in nest boxes, fit a metal plate to the entrance hole. They are then unable to gnaw at the wood to enlarge the entrance hole. Where Sparrowhawks are concerned, it is a question of positioning feeders. Move them around the garden if possible so that the Sparrowhawk can’t predict where to find its prey or position your feeders close to cover so that small birds have somewhere to hide. Some bird feeders come with cages round them nowadays so they too could be helpful in foiling a predator. Avoid placing feeders near to a window. A young bird can be panicked in to flying into a glass window and either kill itself or be injured. Through the glass, it sees a reflection of the garden and thinks it is an escape route. Similarly, avoid ornamental mirrors in gardens for the same reasons.    

Much to look forward to…..

On a brighter note, we are now well into spring. We enjoyed wonderful weather over the Easter break, and it was so lovely to get out into the garden and the countryside. There are already a few butterflies on the wing including Brimstones, Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshell, Holly Blues and Orange Tips. Ponds are now full of tadpoles wiggling their way around and hedgehogs are once more on the move searching for a mate.

Swallows and House Martins have just started to arrive back in Britain. Swifts won’t arrive until the middle of the month, and once more we will see them flying low over the village, screaming out as they go along. What a wonderful sound they make. Chiffchaffs are one of the first warblers to arrive here in spring and they are now being joined by Willow Warblers, a very similar looking bird, but with a different song. Whitethroats, Lesser Whitethroats, Sedge and Reed Warblers will also make an appearance over the next couple of weeks. Already, there are reports of Cuckoos arriving. I do hope we are lucky enough to hear one around the environs of the village. According to the experts, they say in a few years’ time, we may no longer hear the Cuckoo. This is a bird that many of us have grown up with and to think that our great grandchildren may never hear one is very sad.  

This, of course, will be my last nature article as the Woodborough Web is ceasing publication. I have been writing for the Woodborough Web for the last ten years and I do hope you have enjoyed reading my articles as much as I have enjoyed writing them. I have one ask – please encourage wildlife into your garden. The wildlife in this country is declining at an alarming rate and our fellow creatures need all the help they can get. If you have a garden, you can help.

Jean Powley

Sparrowhawk on the look out for a meal
Photo: Jean Powley

We at the Alzheimer’s Society have just launched our new Dementia Connect service in Nottinghamshire. Free to use and easy to access, Dementia Connect is a vital new support mechanism for individuals with dementia and their carers, friends and family to gain support and guidance when they need it from one of our dedicated dementia advisers.

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If you are interested in receiving support yourself, or for a loved one, we would be happy to hear from you in order to agree personalized outcomes for you or your loved one to live well with dementia. Whether it’s around creating a dementia-friendly home, assistance with legal and financial documents, getting a signpost to dementia groups across the county or simply to know more about dementia, we can help!

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Route announced for Nottinghamshire stage of Tour of Britain

Tour of Britain

The eagerly anticipated Nottinghamshire stage of this year’s Tour of Britain cycle race will once again start in West Bridgford and finish in Mansfield.

It is the third time the showpiece event will take place in the county and follows the hugely successful staging of the race in 2017 and 2018.

This year’s race returns to Nottinghamshire on Thursday 8 September and will see the fifth stage begin on Central Avenue in West Bridgford and end on Chesterfield Road South in Mansfield.

During the rune the cyclists will approach Woodborough down Bank Hill from Mapperley top, before turning left onto Foxwood Lane and off to Calverton.

More information HERE and HERE

Woodborough Institute Bingo

Monday 2nd May 7.00pm prompt.

All proceeds to the Woodborough Institute