A natural history of the Hedgerows and Gardens in Clewers Lane, Waltham Chase.
Words and pictures by Gordon Larcombe
The month began with a warmer spell of weather, including some bright spells of winter sunshine. Walking down Clewers Lane on one warm December morning, just before dawn, I almost trod on a small hedgehog snuffling about in the verges. It was a youngster – known as an Autumn Juvenile – on the lookout for food. If it doesn’t get enough, then it probably won’t survive the cold of the winter. To help it through, I have started to put out some cat food for it on warm nights and it seems to be working. It gets through three tins a week and has been seen on several nights, very active. It has been nicknamed ‘Potter’ and I will report on progress in future months.
In the sun, winter gnats were dancing about and a pied wagtail was spotted on a nearby roof, – maybe attracted by these non-biting gnats.
As the leaves disappear from the trees and shrubs, the birds become easier to spot. A pair of jays has been using the hedgerow in Clewers Lane as a green corridor to travel east west across Jhansi Farm on their foraging activities. Similarly, small parties of long tailed tits regularly travel along the hedgerow in search of food, and occasionally stopping off at feeding stations in the gardens of Clewers Lane.
LONG TAILED TIT, CLEWERS LANE
Pairs of nuthatches can be seen climbing down the trunks of the trees in the hedgerow, looking for food, they too will visit feeding stations when the weather is very cold.
The starlings and house sparrows ‘sing’ throughout the day in the Jhansi hedgerow. The starling has his collection of strange whistles and the sparrow has his monotonous chirp chirp. After a while the sparrow flies off to his selected future springtime nesting site in one of the local roof spaces and begins to chirp from there. Occasionally he is joined by a female. At dusk, gangs of starlings gather in the hedgerow for their daily whistling competition.
A PAIR OF HOUSE SPARROWS, CLEWERS LANE
STARLING PARTY IN THE CLEWERS LANE HEDGEROW
The male dunnock is singing quietly in the hedgerow, occasionally perching on the highest twig and singing his gentle delicate song:
MALE DUNNOCK, CLEWERS LANE
As the birds become more visible to the human observer, they also become more visible to predators, and on one bright sunny December day, this buzzard appeared over the hedgerow of Jhansi Farm on the lookout for a meal:
BUZZARD OVER JHANSI FARM
The buzzard flew off after a few minutes of circling around, but not before scaring the daylights out of this grey squirrel as it made its way along the overhead electricity cables en route to safety:
GREY SQUIRREL, CLEWERS LANE
A surprise visitor was this grey heron, also on the lookout for a meal:
GREY HERON ON ROOF RIDGE, CLEWERS LANE
Birds spotted this month in the hedgerow and gardens of Clewers Lane: greenfinch, chaffinch, waxwing, magpie, great tit ,blue it, long tailed tit, coal tit, starling, crow, blackbird, song thrush, jay, nuthatch ,buzzard, robin, dunnock, house sparrow, goldcrest, pied wagtail, wood pigeon, collared dove and grey heron.
And here is a traditional Christmas symbol, to close out the year:
HAPPY CHRISTMAS FROM CLEWERS LANE WILDLIFE !
PLEASE FOLLOW THE MONTHLY UPDATES IN 2013