Wild about Littlehempston

Lots of reports coming in about local wildlife – Chris Bone reports that the dipper is back under the village bridge, Jenny Galton Fenzi has got 4 baby slow-worms hatched in her garden – though one youngster now has teeth marks, possibly from a shrew. Val Hoare snapped this lovely pic of a shrew running across her drive. Jill Todd reports that they have a family of shrews living in a former rat hole that clamber up into the flower pots to get bits below the bird table.

And the annual moth-trapping event in July took place in an orchard in the village centre under the guidance of Rik Fox of Butterfly Conservation and local wildlife expert Terry Underhill. Three light traps were set and, though the weaher was not ideal, 45 different moths were trapped and identified, before being released again. Here’s the species list. Everyone was impressed by Rik’s expertise in identifying the small moths flying around the traps in the dark. A donation of £25 was collected for Butterfly Conservation. Moth trapping is said to be the fastest growing hobby in the UK – recommended to anyone who has room in the garden for a light trap and is interested in finding out more about these beautiful fascinating creatures. It is too late to start this year, but next year beckons! Equipment and literature can be obtained from NHBS on the Totnes Insustrial Estate. (Once the London-based Natural History Book Service, NHBS is now based locally and offers the world’s largest selection of wildlife, science and conservation books plus a range of ecology and biodiversity survey equipment).

Finally a couple of pleas. Lots of Chinese lanterns were recently found lying in the orchard where the moth trapping took place. The RSPCA have campaigned against their use, (more info here) as they pose a threat to animals as they can cause injury, suffering, and death, through ingestion, entanglement and entrapment, and are a potential fire hazard. And if you’re planning a firework display to celebrate, for example, a birthday, it would be really good if you could give advance warning to neighbours around you in case there are any pets or animals likely to go berserk when the bangs start. This would be much appreciated. And don’t forget that rockets can be a fire hazard to thatched roofs!