A day of discoveries
I am a regular reader of your publication and you may find the following of interest and worthy of inclusion in your next issue.
I am a member of a syndicate shoot on the edge of the New Forest. I get involved with our birds from the time of release, with daily visits to check on their welfare, and continue through to the end of the season, again with daily visits to check hoppers and feed under shelters. I must admit that this gives me as much pleasure as turning up on shoot days because you never know what you are going to see.
Today was no exception. When taking off the lid of a letter box-type hopper, you can imagine my surprise to find a willow tit inside. I can only assume it had been feeding on the maize chippings and, having got inside, could not manage to make its way out. It must have been extremely dehydrated as it flew into some hazel close to me and began drinking from the droplets of water on the branches.
Next stop was a spiral feeder. This time when I took off the lid, I found a cluster of hundreds of ladybirds. I have never given it much thought but, upon investigation, I found that it is indeed common practice for them to hibernate in large numbers, most usually under tree bark or leaf litter, etc.
So, all in all, an interesting day and one that again shows that shooting does, in fact, have a positive effect on our environment, giving both shelter and food to our wildlife.
Paul Wood, via email
JANUARY ISSUE WINNER Congratulations to A Hannaford from Honiton in Devon. The answer was CHRISTMAS GOOSE.