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Weekly Wildlife Notes 31st Jan - 6th Feb 2022

This week the longer days have continued to produce more bird song around the village and wider parish. The bird walkers braved the blustery weather on Sunday and were treated to this beautiful rainbow as well as singing skylarks, corn buntings and other birds. The windy and wet weather overnight unfortunately meant no moths this month in the churchyard but this will change as the year rolls on. A very exciting mammal sighting was a Weasel at Southward lane, a tricky mammal to spot. Siskins, Ravens and a Pygmy Shrew were also reported this week.

2021 summaries:

As we ease into the new year we have been reflecting on the wildlife sightings the amazing Aldbourne community have reported and exciting projects you have helped us establish during 2021. Thank you to everyone who has shared their wildlife experiences with us; it is so exciting to hear about them and share them on for others to enjoy. Understanding and exploring our local wildlife, engaging people of all ages and fostering a love for nature is critical for inspiring us all to protect the natural world around us.

Starting with mammals, we were delighted to hear from 38 households in the village who have enjoyed visits from hedgehogs this year. Nationally, 50% of rural hedgehogs have been lost in the last decade so please do continue to report hedgehogs so we can monitor how they are doing in Aldbourne. Only a couple of old historic records were known for harvest mice in the parish, but after a couple of local survey training days run in collaboration with Wiltshire Mammal Group, we have found harvest mice nests in 14/16 2km survey square within the parish (the remaining two squares only dipped into the parish). A great result. Other highlights include the wood mice and bank voles found with classes from St Michael’s school during the Church Count on Nature in June which all 7 school year groups joined us for wildlife monitoring workshops. In total 25 different mammal species have been recorded this year (there are historic records of 8 others around Aldbourne).

Our parish bird list for 2021 contains 80 different species. If you enjoy bird watching do check out the list and see if you can add any more; we’d love to hear from you. The peregrine pair continue to roost on the church tower and our monitoring of prey remains (as part of a national study) has revealed a varied diet with a preference for starlings in the spring and redwing in autumn. Our ringing project saw 197 birds ringed of 18 species in the village helping in the BTO national scheme to monitor population trends. It was a tough year for house martins but over 30 nests on buildings were recorded.

29 butterflies species have fluttered past observers and while the number of moth species is a staggering 263 species (105 of these being present in St Michael’s churchyard). 34 other insects were identified around Aldbourne 2021. Finally, 4 reptiles and amphibians have made it onto our lists.

Follow your nose to our website for more information including:

Projects page – including Peregrines, House Martins, Four Barrows bird walk and churchyard moths.

As always please let us know any sightings or updates about the amazing wildlife we have around Aldbourne and check out our sightings page to see what others have reported.

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