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Nature Notes  March 2010
By Pat and Charles

So March has come in with sunshine, though still with frost. There were even butterflies seen around Bedfordshire on the 2nd, though we didn’t see any in Studham. A welcome change after the prolonged cold weather.  At last the hazel catkins are well out as are the alder catkins and snowdrops on East Common. Frogs seem to be starting to move; one was hopping along Holywell Close about 10 nights ago, going steadily away from our small pond!  Perhaps it was the one that popped its head up through a hole in the ice in the middle of January and later decided that it had had enough of our pond. Many frogs, toads and newts will be moving towards their breeding ponds as soon as the weather warms up more so we make our usual plea for care when driving in the evenings, especially along Common Road near Studham Hall Farm.

John Hanna phoned recently to say that he had watched a Barn Owl hunting, apparently successfully, around the edges of East Common, the first time that he has seen one there in all the years he has walked on the Common. This is great news but to sustain a breeding pair more rough grass would be needed for hunting territory both on the Common and elsewhere in the area. Barn Owls often hunt along road verges which makes them very vulnerable to being hit by cars. This could well happen along Byslips Road between Middle and East Commons as many people drive far too fast there.

 

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