We have made a big mistake. Last week we were having trouble with a heron who would not keep away from our fishpond. We put three nets over, in the end, and gradually the heron lost interest. But then we had a near disaster.
There have been two woodpeckers in our garden. All day I could hear their sharp ‘kick’ noise over the woodland as they bounced in the air from tree to tree, like trapeze artists. Then yesterday morning there was a little pile of woodpecker feathers on the path near the pond. A predator had been, probably a cat. We felt lucky this time as the woodpecker had escaped and only lost some of its tail.
But that was not the worst of it. This morning we found one of the woodpeckers trapped in the net over the pond. And it was our fault. To save our fish from the heron, we had inadvertantly put the woodpecker’s life at risk. It was calling and had a very frightened look in his eye. Mr T carefully disentangled its feet from the net and it flew away safely with an angry loud ‘kick’ call.
Whittington Green Fair was a big event for me at the beginning of this week. I had a stall with my Nature Notes and wildlife photos. There were lots of other stalls and events telling us about flora and fauna in our gardens, fields and rivers. There was information about the climate crisis and people wanting to know what they could do in their gardens to attract wildlife.
All of this is very important but the big excitement for me was meeting people. Some ‘old’ friends recognised me and came for a chat and a laugh. There were people on holiday and locals who wanted to talk about their experiences. I loved it when some said, ‘I read your column’.
Two of my photos which attracted attention were of the woodpecker and the heron. One person told of two adult woodpeckers on a feeder prising the nuts out and hopping across to give little bits of nut to their young. Some people could describe in detail where the woodpeckers drummed and their loud ‘kick’ calls.
A fisherman did not like heron which he thought were increasing in numbers and were taking young fish from the rivers. He once caught a grayling and put it on the bank whilst he carried on fishing. It was for a friend. But then he heard a slight rustling noise and turned, only to see a mink dragging his fish away.
The balance of wildlife and our own needs is not an easy one to solve.
The woodpecker was trapped in the net when it went for a drink