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  • Jo Appleford-Cook

Nature Notes

It’s wonderful how the sight of a clump of golden daffodils can cheer one up. Suddenly, there are daffodils all along Thornhill Way, on Lillymill Chine, and a mass on the corner opposite the new play area beside Busy Bees Nursery. I was pleased to see lots of primroses on the verges now that the road works have finally finished, as I was worried that the diggers had removed all signs.The gardens are joining in the gaiety with the yellow of forsythia, the white of viburnums and cherries and surprisingly the bright red of the new leaves on photinia "Red Robin". The birds have been actively collecting food for their nests and I saw a baby dunnock standing beside its mother on the patio. This is the first youngster I have seen. My friend accidentally knocked two younger ones out of her tree last year and had to rush them to an animal sanctuary (they survived). I’m not sure if the magpies have forsaken their nest since the last hurricane, but I have not found any eggs on the ground and the adults don’t appear to be moving around. On the A33 past the church at Sherfield where the snowdrops had flowered, I was pleased to see the ground covered with celandines, casting a bright glow over the area. More patches of these flowers appeared in sunny spots on that road and I have noted them in Chineham, although they are usually cut down in their prime by the mowers. Marian notified me that she had seen a red admiral butterfly in her garden at the beginning of the month. We think it may have overwintered in a hedge of ivy, clematis or honeysuckle and came out for sustenance on a sunny day. My butterfly book stated that they did not survive our winters, but migrated up from the Mediterranean each spring. The date of the book was 1980! Which was right? I shall investigate later. I was delighted that Mick of Highmoors has had three hedgehogs since last year, so maybe they will breed. Will the residents of Chineham please watch out for droppings, then leave some food and water. I know that in the past there have been sightings all over this neighbourhood. Ginny Wright

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Chineham is a village, civil parish and part of the Chineham ward of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council. The borough council is a non-metropolitan district of Hampshire County Council.

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