Oxhill News

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South Warwickshire, England.

The Oxhill News

February 2003


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Nature Notes for February

FEBRUARY -The month of Purification -named from Februa, the great Roman Feast of purification.

What a surprise, January 1st New Year's Day, to see a hedgehog walking jauntily up the road outside the Chapel; the warm weather had obviously woken him from his hibernation. On picking him up I found him to be very thin but quite lively. We took him up to the top of the garden and gave him a plate of dog food -he ate the lot! We watched him make his way under a wood pile, hopefully not to re-emerge until winter is over.

It's a good idea to make up, in a quiet corner of your garden, a wood pile; bricks, stones, planks, anything will do, but make sure they are not packed too tightly; try and create small 'chambers' to provide winter quarters. Toads, hedgehogs and other small creatures will certainly use it: the rotting logs and wood will also provide insects for that all important 'Spring breakfast.'

If, like us, you have nut balls/cages hanging around your garden, look out for the gang of Long-tailed Tits that rush in all chattering and then are gone as quickly as they came. The other morning I counted 14 hanging on our feeder with their tails pointing in all directions -it looked rather like a porcupine hanging in the tree Another fantastic bird visiting us at the moment is the male Bullfinch with his deep rose-red breast; he is surely one of our prettiest small birds. Not often seen in gardens, he actually is a bit of a pest, especially to fruit farmers as they love to strip the young fruit buds from the trees. The collective noun for finches is a "charm" - how appropriate.

February 24 is St. Matthias' Day and the time to coppice woodland for fuel (Luke's Almanac 1627) and, of course usually in February (but this year on March 4th) is Shrove Tuesday.

"But hark, I hear the Pancake Bell, 1, The fritters make a gallant smell."   (Poor Robin's Almanac 1684)

Grenville Moore.  

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Last modified: August 30, 2003