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South Warwickshire, England.
The Oxhill News
The midsummer month named after Juno, the great Roman goddess of
the moon, of women, and of childbirth.
Summer is well and
truly here and the countryside is an exuberant carpet of green.
Wildflowers are springing up and fledglings abound.
I mentioned some months ago the small flock of long-tailed tits
visiting out nut-hanger, but the other morning as I was crossing the
footbridge to the long meadow behind the church, I became aware of
boisterous bird chitter-chatter and realised I was in the middle of a
small flock of these delightful birds feeding their first flight of
fledglings. I counted five
fledglings and approximately eight to ten adults, who ignored me as they
dashed backwards and forwards feeding their young.
They were so close that I could have touched them, and one
fledgling was not more than 12 inches from my head.
They are the daintiest of the tit family, the adults being no more
than the size of a golf ball, but the fledglings were no larger than a
spherical ten pence piece with a long tail sprouting from the back.
They build a beautiful nest of a globe of feathers, moss, fur and
any other soft material with a tiny entrance hole, all bound together with
cobwebs and covered with lichen. In
Warwickshire in the 1920s and 30s these were known as Bum Barrel’s
nests, the Bum Barrel being a local name for this pretty little bird,
along with Buttermilk Can!
June is probably the
best month for wildflowers and one of my passions is for orchids.
Unfortunately this part of Warwickshire is not a good spot for
orchids, so I sometimes go to Oxfordshire and Berkshire to see them.
However, if you go up Lady Elizabeth’s hill out of Tysoe towards
Epwell, half way up on the left-hand bend there is a large piece of verge
(with the road salt barrel on it) and by mid June you can see a large
group of Common Spotted Orchids. As
the name suggests, it is the commonest of the wild orchids, but
nevertheless a real treat to see.
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Last modified: November 29, 2003