A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE.
Over 70 Mallard on the Mere this week during the frost. (Verulamium frozen, suspect the entire population moved in to WWA. This is a record, and a damn nuisance also. Tomtits staking their claim to the nestbox by the block- house. Ducks already mating.
Ver well up, as is water on site after rain in the past week. Whole site kept getting drifts of fox scent, as last week. The fox must have been creeping about on the site as we were there, I think. The overburden of Mallard have now gone. Think they came while Verulamium lake was frozen? Mark found a small puffball fungus and managed to poke it into puffing spores and take a photo at the Same time.
Los Dorer has brought back 'Oscar' and. 'Camilla' (Mahmee Jones thinks NOT Camilla) and released them near the site. They have come back to us, but 'Arthur' and 'Guinever' are there also. Oscar is trying to assert his old territorial rights, but his age and spell in hospital have taken their toll and he hasn't managed to drive them away yet. Should be an interesting week.. Sunday saw them all still there, Oscar doing his thing. He has chased the other pair (of whom the pen is the most defiant) down to the Russo allotment area. All will hand-feed, except Oscar, oddly enough. He was always the first to rush up and grab grub from your hand in the past.
Oscar swan is attacking all 3 of the other swans. The little female released with him is most probably NOT Camilla, as her ring, which Sheila and Howard have read, does not correspond at all. The Site still pongs of fox. Snowdrops on Joe Masi's Ver path full out, despite his ravaging of the bank there. Other Snowdrops on site showing white. One Primrose plant and one tiny Daffodil (!) out already. The ferns have lasted all the Winter but heavy rains and high winds of late have splatted them. Songbirds have been 'singing territory' for some time now. Have found 2 Hedgehog nests, one under the beehive, and one in the snake heap. Both carefully pre- served and camouflaged after discovery to prevent disturbance.
Next report (Feb 2002)