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Wildlife round-up this week (15th May)

Sightings have been impacted by the weather but despite the cool weather the birds and flowers have decided to go ahead with spring anyway and we have had a few nice mammal sightings this week as well.

Bird highlights include a huge swift passage on Tuesday with thousands of birds passing through; it has been great to see groups of swifts screaming over the streets of Aldbourne for 2021, we look forward to more arriving as they make our village their summer home. There have also been some groups (20-30 birds) of House Martins which I must mention as these are my favourite bird in the whole world (Matt, ask me about them if you ever wish to be regaled for a few minutes!). There are still Yellow Wagtails, Wheatears and Whinchats near new barns just of the B4192 north of the village.

Wildflowers are truly glorious at this time of year and while the Wood Anemones are mostly over the Bluebells are at their peak right now and well worth a visit to Love’s Copse. There are also some Early Purple Orchids poking up flower spikes and worth looking for as well as some delicate Solomon’s Seal flowers. The chalk downland scene is also progressing with Cowslips in full swing and Chalk Millkwort taking off; a visit to High Clear Down over the next few weeks is highly recommended.

In terms of mammals the bats are now really active and Pipistrelles, Soprano Pipistrelles, Serotines, Noctules and Brown Long-eared Bats are all active around the village. A gorgeous family of Stoats were a very photogenic highlight while Roe Deer, Brown Hares and a Fox are also around made very welcome sightings.

A further sighting of Slow Worms, this time from Oxford road, is great news. Keep a eye out for these and please let us know if you see any. Also keep an eye out for their cousin, the Common Lizard, as these could easily be present in the Parish and are under recorded but should be out basking at this time of year, we would really to love to have any sightings of these (or any other) reptiles.

Insects continue to struggle in the cool weather with very few butterflies on the wing (although the number of species is gradually increasing) and fairly abysmal moth catches. The St Marks Flies are easily the stand-out insect this week and you cannot help notice these beautiful animals if you have been out in the fields this week – see our Nature Notes for more information on these conspicuous insects.

As always if you see anything of interest around the village, or anywhere within the parish, please do get in touch, we would love to hear from you or from your friends, neighbours or family if you have seen anything exciting, rare or any sightings which have brought you joy or a closer connection to nature – if you have enjoyed it you can be sure that other people will also benefit from you sharing!

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