One of my wildlife talks is entitled ‘A Yorkshire Mixture’. It centres on our garden in the village of Kirkheaton, near Huddersfield and you could be a little surprised at how long it takes to run through the wildlife that visits here. Of course, I then include animals and birds from the village and far beyond, into the Yorkshire Dales and Yorkshire coast. My talks are meant to share the amazing discoveries our travels have produced, but also to encourage people to look around and enjoy what our own countryside has to offer. In particular, I like to encourage local people to see what we have in the village, without having to travel miles beyond our parish boundary.
Our village environment group has commissioned volunteers to record the flora and fauna in selected areas so that we can do what we can to preserve and protect the environment. I have spent a few hours, both alone and with friends, watching and recording what we have in our local quarry. Even though it is on my doorstep and I’ve walked around there often enough, I was amazed to find so much life when I took the trouble to stop, watch and listen. I think, at the last count, we had around 43 species of birds and mammals including tawny owls, buzzards, breeding lapwings, whitethroat, blackcap, green woodpecker, yellowhammer, kestrel, pheasant, skylark, red-legged partridge, badger and, also, great-crested newts, various butterflies and dragonflies. I could go on… It is a beautiful spot and well worth preserving.
The past few days have been a time for young ones. For the very first time in many years of having visiting pheasants to the garden, yesterday we had six chicks feeding on the patio. Today, we had only three and I fear for the welfare of the others. This morning, we were watching young blue tits, great tits, nuthatches, robins, tree sparrows, chaffinches and our first baby rabbit of the year.
Our village is blessed with a few open spaces where our wildlife can flourish. We need to get out and enjoy it, watch over it and protect it. If we don’t, who else will?