4th February

4th February 2020. David Beeson

Is that it?

The oaks in Harewood are still skeletal, the ground wet and heavy yet the wildlife is thinking that winter could well be over. Personally, I think they’ve got it wrong and we’ll have a few more twitches before we can all agree that spring has sprung.

Why do I suggest the former? I expect our frogs to start to spawn in late February as we are 110m above sea level and have a slightly harsher climate than cosy-warm Andover. Not so this year. Amorous amphibians have started laying with twelve spawn masses visible. And it is not only Rana temporaria that is in spring-mode; some wild and Tenby daffodils are in bloom – again four weeks in advance of the norm.

In doubt? Well, pop your head out at 7am and you’ll experience the start of a dawn chorus.

Also, in our garden many of our wild orchids (all from seed) are above ground. Pyramidal orchids have been in their winter leaves since October, although more show every week. The Orchis militaris x simia is with us again and even some potted spotted orchids are showing their growing tips.

Our resident (Harewood) herd of fallow deer (Dama dama) is in mixed winter and the far lighter summer coats.

Want to get involved with conservation? Try this?

The Anton River Conservation Association

TARCA is a voluntary group set up in 2009 in the north of the Test Valley region to conserve, improve and manage the River Anton and its valley for wildlife.  Members come from all walks of life and a wide age range and include some experienced conservationists among the many keen workers.

The group carries out practical work on local nature reserves and other wild areas like Rooksbury Mill LNR, Anton Lakes LNR, Ladies Walk, Swatton’s Field near Penton and Balksbury Hill road bank.  Most are owned or controlled by local authorities or parish councils.  In summer time we provide talks and walks, activity days and do species surveys on moths, butterflies, dragonflies, plants, glow worms, bats and water voles to review the effect of the conservation work.

Membership is free as we believe people’s efforts are payment in itself. 

To find out more contact: antonriver@live.com




Phone: 07722 267138

You are welcome to join with us on tasks advertised on LNR notice boards to sample our approach and enthusiasm !  Please bring gardening gloves and also wellingtons if a waterside task is planned.  Young  people  under 18 must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

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