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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Underway Meade- Update 2

It has been an exciting few months for the Underway Meade with a £200 donation received from Combe Local Ladies and a donation of saplings from Monkton Elms, all reported on in the Chard and Ilminster News

Local Ladies donation

A Friends of Underway Meade Group was launched at the AGM and volunteers continued to work on making improvements for wildlife and the local community.

The meadow has been mowed, thanks to a local resident and his tractor and volunteers are now busily raking up the grass so it can be moved to ensure the soil is not provided with too much nutrient, which would deter wildflower regeneration. This is an ongoing task and we may have to think about different ways of achieving it in the future.

The ongoing survey of the flora has listed over 130 species so far and we expect this list to grow over time.

Last week, during a hot and humid few days there were a lot of flies hovering over the pond and this attracted a pair of grey wagtails. They used the water lilies as a base from which to bounce up and down catching the flies, which you can see were fairly dense!

We are also seeing a regular pair of mallards on the pond, which is nice, though they would eat any frog spawn / tadpoles, so it might be a mixed blessing.

Watch out for more news in the Cloveleaf magazine and on the parish website.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Swifts, hedgehogs and orchids, it's all happening!

It has been an exciting few days, with the arrival  of the The first Swifts arrived in the village on Saturday 9th May. I counted three over Wadeford and the same number later over Combe. By the middle of the week the numbers were up to 12 and the summer sound of them screaming through the skies had begun.

On Sunday, as we closed the blinds in our conservatory at about 9pm, my husband noticed a movement outside and to our great delight, there in the middle of the lawn was a hedgehog! I managed to get a few photos using a flash and when I tweeted the event I had a number of re-tweets and favourited notifications, which for me was pretty unusual.  I had obviously struck a chord!
It seemed healthy enough but was the first we had seen in the garden for a long time. My untidy borders must be paying off!

The next day whilst actually doing some gardening to make space for some plants a friend had kindly given me, I noticed that a pair of blue tits were visiting a nest box on the lime tree in the paddock next door.  They took it in turns to go and catch caterpillars and other insects, then dive into the box, reappearing after a few seconds and depart again very quickly. They must be feeding young so I must watch out for the fledglings.

It was quite hard to get a good shot of them, but after persevering  I managed this one as it darted out. They seemed unworried by my presence and I continued gardening.

Later in the week I went on a woodland walk arranged by the Chard History Group. It was to a small patch of local ancient woodland which was full of bird sound from chiffchaff to "chipping" woodpeckers and blackcaps to wrens but it  was also smothered in bluebells and amongst them were some beautiful early purple orchids.

I love this time of year, with everything looking so fresh and the migrant birds arriving and spring flowers blooming. Enjoy!