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An Essex Wildlife Garden Update!

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Suzi View Drop Down
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    Posted: 27 Sep 2017 at 9:04pm
September and even August I seem to get frogs tuning up in the garden. Always from cover - never seen them.
Suz
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GemmaJF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Sep 2017 at 4:08pm
Thanks guys, much as Chris has said even after all the years, these things still give me a big WOW. It's been a bit of a battle to get the wildlife garden back where it was 10 years ago, but now I really feel all is right again.

Been up to the compost a couple of times since and not seen more, though I do not want disturb it too much while hatchlings are in there. 

Other news is returning male frogs. Several returned to the pond in past few days. They have been calling loudly in the day, they must think it is spring already!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Omlette Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Sep 2017 at 7:29pm
wow that was quick!!! great to hear!

Tom
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Sep 2017 at 9:33am
Wow Gemma! Brill!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Iowarth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Sep 2017 at 5:07pm
Wonderful Gemma - the kind of sight that still, after all these years, makes me go WOW!!
Chris
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Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme (RETIRED)
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GemmaJF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Sep 2017 at 12:42pm
First sighting today of a 2017 hatchling grass snake. Made my day to lift the plastic sheet on the compost and see the perfectly formed mini snake looking back at me. Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Liz Heard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Sep 2017 at 9:57am
Originally posted by GemmaJF GemmaJF wrote:

One of my interests in the optimum 'heap' is changing farming practice. Grass snakes once could rely on an abundance of muck heaps in the countryside, but they are getting less abundant with the changes in farming practice.


Funnily enough, i commented to a landowner last week, how good rural south Wales can be for reptiles, what with it's often much less intensive food production traditions, more frequent unmanaged 'wild' spots on farms and better connectivity to old habitats beyond.
Other than on say, premises contiguous to nature reserves perhaps, observing an adder on farmland in my area would be a noteworthy event, but as i have discovered first hand, not so much in places like Pembrokeshire.

He then related an anecdote that made me smile. A ageing neighbour with a large garden had recently asked for his help in moving the compost/muck heap to a more convenient position nearby. Deciding that the quickest and easiest way would be with his tractor, the farmer duly rolled up later, having first affixed his 'muck grab' to the front.
With the neighbour looking on, he firmly grasped the entire pile in one go, when suddenly the pair of them got an unexpected shock as "8 great big", panicking grass snakes shot out in all directions!    
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chubsta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Sep 2017 at 1:19pm
Originally posted by GemmaJF GemmaJF wrote:

If you get a lot of leaves in the Autumn, we found big piles of these are a real magnet for hibernating hogs, has to be a fairly deep pile though say 3ft minimum. Wink

Last year i had good intentions of going to the woods and collecting a few bags of leaves but didn't get round to it, this year will definitely give it a go and put a couple of big piles in the garden, hopefully one of two will hibernate in them. Hadn't really thought about the depth much but guess that it does need to be pretty big to insulate and be waterproof so will aim for 3ft then.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AGILIS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Sep 2017 at 6:32am
nice to see you have plenty of juvs in your reserve seems there is plenty round here to regards Keith
   LOCAL ICYNICAL CELTIC ECO WARRIOR AND FAILED DRUID
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Aug 2017 at 11:53am
Oh yes our new townies neighbours still talk about the slurry being spread last year and how dreadful it was. I thought it smelt rather wholesome LOL

We are mostly arable locally. 10 years ago most farmers still had at least some livestock, even if it was just a sideline and I have seen that decline to a point where now the majority of herds have gone. Since the recession also a reduction in the number of horses being kept locally. So at least round here there is a steady decrease in potential egg laying sites. Within just a mile circle around the house at least three large dung heaps are now gone.

PS just to add at least the poo shows they visit the habitat! Unless I go out after dark the only signs of hogs in our garden is the little presents they leave on my path to the compost heap. If you get a lot of leaves in the Autumn, we found big piles of these are a real magnet for hibernating hogs, has to be a fairly deep pile though say 3ft minimum. Wink


Edited by GemmaJF - 20 Aug 2017 at 12:03pm
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