Well, what with flooding and now the Covid lockdown, we are wondering what is going on with the wildlife at the Green Fingers site. We haven’t been able to visit the site for some time now, but before we left, we had noticed lots of toads gathering in the fishing pond, so there should be lots of tadpoles swimming about by now! Just before that, during the floods, frogs spawned in the floodwater and their eggs were left high and dry on the fishing platform as the floodwater receded. We gathered as many as we could and placed them in the pond.
Blue tits and great tits were already looking at our nest boxes and the roof of our storage container (where blue tits nested last year) for somewhere to nest and we had a close up view of a pair of goldcrests, Europe’s smallest bird species, when they flew down to low branches by the steps and the male spent time dancing and flapping about in front of the female! Staff and young people have now identified over 60 species of bird on and around the site using both sight and sound over the last couple of years and our birdwatching sessions have been very interesting.
Also, just after the floods, we found signs that an otter had visited our pond, leaving very little but fish scales behind to give itself away! We think it took maybe three of our fish, so not too bad for the future of the pond. Otters also eat frogs and water birds and their eggs, so lets hope our visitor is now happily back in the river!
If we were on site now, we would expect to be seeing spring flying butterflies and moths, bee flies, lots of bird species and possibly grass snakes….. we saw a few of these beauties last year in various parts of the site, including swimming in the pond. We would also be expecting to hear and, if we were lucky enough, to see cuckoos as they return from their winter homes in Africa! They are accompanied by sand and house martins and swallows, followed by swifts a few weeks later. Isn’t it amazing how far these birds travel to nest and raise their young here in Britain. Lets hope too that the many moles, voles and wood mice we know we have on site managed to find safety from the floodwaters. We certainly found at least one vole under our wooden benches in the bush craft area just after the waters receded.
We have been excited to see a lot of badger activity on the site over the last year or so, with them digging holes in the orchard to use as toilets (known as latrines). We have caught badgers and little Muntjac deer (see picture below taken by one of our young people) on our webcams on site, not to mention rabbits, hares and foxes too.
So, let’s hope that things get back to normal soon so that we can enjoy the wild sights we normally experience in the summer at the Green Fingers site. If we can get down there soon, we will set camera traps and try to upload footage to our website. Stay safe all!