Saturday, 28 March 2009

Park drains

Work in Sandbach Park to lay land drains will alter some of the wildlife. The marshy slope at the bottom of the open grass will dry out more, so there may be fewer Lady's Smock in flower there come May - but I was pleased to see the work had carefully left in place the beautiful Marsh Marigold just starting to flower there. But the combined new drain will increase the water flow through the Park Pond, which can only be a good thing. And the marsh will be back, little by little! - George

Birds in order!

A cold day today - so I walked (briskly) the entire official Sandbach Environment Trail. And I decided to record the singing birds in the order I heard them. Some suprises! What would be first? Robin? Blue Tit? NO . . . . Old hollies below the Post Office - Goldfinch! Solitary car park Scots Pine opposite Brook Court (I'd never noticed it before) - Coal Tit! Both St Mary's hollow and Front Street - Wren. Churchyard - thought I heard a Mistle Thrush, but could not locate it. Old Tudor Cottage - Greenfinch. Park Pond - Robin, Blue and Great Tits (also two drake Mallard on the pond, now nearly all the rubbish has gone). Dingle - Chaffinch. Ravenscroft Close - er no, no ravens!! Adlington Drive - Starling. Waterworks Farm - House Sparrow. Opposite Filter Bed Wood - no singers but a fine Jay nipping across the road between vehicles. Post No 10 - Blackbird(s). Post No 11 - Dunnock. Upper Park - Woodpigeon. Commons - no singers but a Pied Wagtail flying fast downwind! High Street - no birds yet- only Easter Eggs!! But perhaps the message of Jesus' resurrection on the first Easter Day is the most important and wonderful thing any of us can hear - George.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Badger

A sad sight on the bypass yesterday was a dead badger, between Filter Bed Wood and Dingle Lake. Sad and a tragic indictment on our roaring traffic, but nevertheless an illustration of how much wildlife can be found near the Environment Trail and the town centre. In wildlife, as in faith, there is much that is far closer to us than we realise, and there are many things we should pay far more attention to in the Bible's picture of the Creator's work than we do. There are no badger setts currently in the Environment Trail area (that we know of) and this was probably an animal moving through from setts beyond the motorway or further down the valley of Arclid Brook. But its presence, and its loss, are equally poignant in our human world-zone. - George

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Litter but no rider!

A valiant assault on the litter round the majority of the Sandbach Environment Trail was made by members of the A ROCHA group - kindly aided and equipped by Dick Macaulay (& sponsors) of the Sandbach Clean Team. It amassed a huge volume of bags, cans, bottles, two footballs, one giant water pistol, one table, and even a bike and helmet (but thankfully no rider!), the latter being dragged out of the Park pond. Six group members "got their eyes in" very well as the excellent equipment helped them to make short work of a huge amount of mess obscuring several parts of the beautiful world we have to care for. The project was timed before spring flowers came up and birds (including the moorhens at the Pond) could be nesting. - George

Bees and Barbel!

The anti-litter expedition today, although not a wildlife trip, incidentally turned up nice records of Grey Wagtail (along the stream), Bullfinch and possibly Blackcap, Snowdrops still in flower, a couple of queen Buff-tailed Bumble-Bees (at the Dingle) and even a (dead) fish (caught by me while chasing a floating can in the river) which turned out to be a young Barbel - a new species for the Environment Trail and a good sign of the health of the stream. - George

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Bullfinches in town!

A nice sighting comes from Andrew Bailey, who heard Bullfinches (at least two) calling in the thick hedge bordering the service road to Waitrose and the Post Office, a little below the post boxes, on Wednesday 18 Feb. He does not remember hearing them near the town centre before. If you are not familiar with the call of the Bullfinch, it is a soft piping that is very often all you will see of these beautiful but shy birds. Both in the natural world God created for us, and in God's inner handiwork in our lives, there are many treasures only to be discovered in secret places - George