Life is wild around Kibworth!

Although they describe themselves as “enthusiastic amateurs”, there was nothing amateurish about the presentation given by Julie and Ian Harrison. They detailed Kibworth area’s wildlife at Kibworth Community Library on 1st September. 

It was brilliantly illustrated with spectacular photographs taken by Ian. For many in the audience it was a real eye opener that so many species of birds, animals and insects are so close at hand, if one knows where and how to look.

In the Garden

Ian and Julie have seen 51 bird species either in or flying over their Weir Road garden. As well as the easily recognised, but endangered, House Sparrows and Starlings, they also see, especially in Winter, much rarer species including Goldcrest, Lesser Redpoll and Waxwing. An Osprey, probably from Rutland Water, flew over recently, as did a Hobby and a Marsh Harrier. 

These Harriers are not often seen away from marshland such as that in North Norfolk. Red Kites are a common sight having been introduced to the Rockingham area some years ago.

Also in their garden Julie and Ian regularly spot grey squirrels, pipistrelle bats and a family of hedgehogs. (That made me envious as we have been trying unsuccessfully to attract hedgehogs for years!) 

On Local Walks

On their local walks, particularly on Mill Lane and Debdale Lane in Smeeton Westerby and also during the lockdown on Kibworth golf course, a wider variety of birds and animals have been observed. These include: Tree Creeper, Tawny Owl, Buzzard, Kestrel, and Nuthatch. (The only bird that can walk downwards on a tree apparently.) 

A cormorant was spotted near Bridge 67 and Ravens nest in the conifers near there. The rarest bird they have spotted in this area is the Hen Harrier. These have been heavily persecuted over time as they feed on Grouse.

Julie gave us excellent advice about how to attract and spot wildlife. Water is crucial and they have several bird and insect baths as well as a pond in their garden. They use a range of different feeders to attract birds of different sizes and shapes. They don’t use chemicals in the garden and they plant insect friendly flowers which are often flat headed and on the blue-ish spectrum such as Scabious. Their strategy is clearly successfully as they recently saw and photographed a Hummingbird Hawk moth taking nectar from a flower.

Delicious cakes and tea were provided by Library volunteers Monica and Suzy to round off an excellent and informative talk, which left several of the audience determined to look more closely and carefully at their own local surroundings.

Carol Townend