July 11, 2008

Don’t Let Dogs Endanger Wildlife

Martin the Lurcher, an old friend of many years, tells me he regularly sees at least two families of roe deer in a secluded woodland on his evening jaunts with his two dogs. He looked over a hedge recently to see a youngster lying there; a pleasing sight - and fortunately Martin's dogs are obedient.

I know I belabour the point at times, but where there are paths and tracks please keep to them and control your dog or dogs. It gives the majority of wildlife species a chance of survival. I have found a lot of ground and near ground nests this summer, with various bird species feeding nestlings in them; very vulnerable situations.

It isn't just birds, of course. Any time now grasslands should have grasshoppers and crickets everywhere and there'll be butterfly and moths' eggs and larvae, other insects, and small mammals - all needing some seclusion.

Bits from my diary. On June 11 around 8.30pm I glanced up through the skylight in my den to see about 100 swifts wheeling about as the flock made its way north-east. An exciting moment, as I have not seen so many together for ages - and they were all swifts, not a swallow or house martin among them. At 10.30pm it poured with rain - rather welcome after a few fine, hot days. It filled our water butts nicely as well as watering the garden and countryside.

It's St Swithun's Day on July 15. He was a Saxon Bishop of Winchester who wanted to be buried among ordinary folk, but so many miracles occurred at his graveside that his remains were removed to a shrine in Winchester Cathedral. So he wept in protest, causing 40 days of rain, and so it goes on.

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