Warm welcome back for migratory birds

MAY is one of my favourite months of the year because there is so much wildlife to see. There are plenty of birds around that have made their way back from over wintering in countries with slightly warmer climates.

I have already seen my first swallows of 2011 a few weeks ago and am looking forward to seeing my first swifts very soon. Of course there is more than just birds to see. With more plants starting to flower there will be plenty of insects including butterflies and bumblebees out and about feeding on the flowers.

More insects also means more bats, a favourite subject of mine as anyone who reads this column regularly will know. There have been a few bats out and about at dusk for a few weeks now due to the mild weather but bat activity will really increase in May so I am looking forward to getting out with my bat detector and doing some batting.

May is also a great month to get involved with wildlife events as there is so much going on. Check out events diaries and what’s on listings and see if there is something happening that you want to go along to.

I certainly know that the month ahead is a busy one for me. It starts off with the Paxton Wildlife Group, which I help lead, on the first Saturday of the month. I always enjoying doing this as Paxton House is a great site for wildlife and I really enjoy sharing my knowledge of nature with children. If you want to find out more information about Paxton Wildlife Group then please phone Paxton House on 01289 386291 for more details.

That same weekend I will be helping out, as a member of the Lothians and Borders Mammal Group, with some small mammal surveys in Midlothian before leading some Borders based small mammal surveys the following weekend.

I won’t have time to draw breath from that before Scottish Biodiversity Week kicks off the following weekend and as I am a biodiversity officer for a local authority I will be pretty busy coordinating and leading various events.

Keep an eye out for events happening between May 21-29. I know I am leading a walk at Paxton House of the 22nd. Somewhere in between all this I am going to be spending a day leading a scout troop looking at different aspects of wildlife.

So I hope you will get out and about during May and experience some of the great wildlife that there is around at this time of year. Also remember and keep an eye out for wildlife in trouble.

When writing this column a few weeks ago I mentioned some hedgehog surveys I was involved with. Details of one of these are now online at The Wildlife Information Centre website. Go to www.wildlifeinformation.co.uk and click on the hedgehog survey link. You can submit any sightings of live or dead hedgehogs there. That’s all from me for this week.

GRAEME WILSON

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