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Hankelow Online Noticeboard

Information about the South Cheshire village of Hankelow

Under Development! - This is a first stab at a nature observation calendar for 2021.

If anyone has seen anything unusual, or which reflects the changing seasons, please email your observations to me at

July 17th

Barry has consulted Chris Knibbs, and he now thinks that the Pine Martens were in fact Polecats - apparently Chris has spotted them in the area before.

We saw a Muntjac deer in the paddocks behind the Green Farm yesterday. -JD

July 7th

There hasn't been much to comment on for the past month. The usual summer birdlife is all around, and the grass verges are largely either overgrown with nettles and cow parsley, or they have been trimmed.

One notable item is that Barry has reported a family of Pine Martens seen is his back garden, shortly after trees were trimmed at Hankelow Manor Farm. These are notoriously rare and elusive animals, so keep you eyes peeled if you are walking down Hall Lane! - J.D.

June 10th

Nantwich News have an article by Cheshire Wildlife Trust - a plea to help beetles amid fears of population.

In and around Hankelow the spring flowers in the roadside verges have largely faded, to be replaced by copious quantities of Cow Parsley, and increasingly Giant Hogweed, which can cause rashes and skin complaints if touched. - JD.

May 29th

May 29th is oak apple day, which commemorates the restoration of the monarchy after the English Civil War. When I was at primary school, any child not wearing a sprig of oak was in danger of being nettled by other children.

An oak apple is a gall which grows on some oak trees. It is caused when a gall wasp lays an egg in a leaf bug. The secretions from the wasp larva causes the gall to form, and it protects and feeds the larva. Here are a couple of photos of oak apples taken on Longhill Lane. The first is of a gall which still has a larva in it; the second is the wooden shell left when the larva has developed into an adult gall wasp. - Gin Foster.

May 28th

Masie in the Blueberry bushes, early May

Ashleigh has sent some video clips of ducklings which have hatched behind Ball Farm; you can download them here, here and here . I can't figure out how to make them play automatically yet! Ashleigh thinks the family have now moved on the the ponds at Hankelow Hall.

Also Kim J. has sent the picture on the left, of "Masie" on a nest in her blueberry bushes. And take a look at Adrian Leighton's latest article on dasies.- JD

May 16th

The Wood Anenomes and most of the Celandines have faded now. Bluebells and Lesser Stichwort are still flowering well, and the Wild Garlic is nearly at full bloom. Did you know you can make Wild Garlic Pesto? There are  many recipes online.

Adrian Leighton has another article on AOL - this one is about trees.

I saw a couple of Swifts during the week, possibly here for the Mayflies. There are plenty of those in Monks Lane! - JD.

May 7th

Bluebells in Lodge Woods (photo by Kim J.), May 5th, 2021

Wild garlic and campion are coming into flower throughout the area. Also this week there have been large gatherings of buzzards silently circling above the village - I counted 17 on Wednesday, and Gin Foster counted over 30! Kirk Shenton tells me there is an Oystercatcher sitting on three eggs near Hankelow Hall. - JD.
Kim J. sent the image (left) of Bluebells in Lodge Wood earlier this week.

April 27th

This morning, as well as the usual residents of Woolfall lake - Canada geese, greylag geese, coot, swan, tufted duck and little grebe, there were two infrequent visitors - a great crested grebe, and a gadwall. - Gin Foster

Adrian Leighton has added another excellent item on wildflowers on AOL. - JD.

April 25th

More wild flowers are appearing, for example Star of Bethlehem (Stitchwort) in Monks Lane, and Garlic Mustard by the side of the A529. - JD.

April 21st

Blackbird Fledgeling, April 21st 2021

Despite the cold weather spring is rolling on. The Bluebells are starting to bloom in earnest now, and other wild flowers are beginning to appear by the roadsides. Some butterflies are about, such as the small white. Fledglings are about, such as this baby blackbird. - JD.

April 6th

I spotted a lone Oystercatcher grazing in the meadow by Hankelow Hall this morning - JD.

April 4th

Adrian Leighton has published a note on AOL about the origins of some local wildflowers.

Gin Foster spotted a swallow over the lake by Longhill Lane on Saturday (the 3rd) and I heard a Blackcap while walking through the Spout. - JD

April 2nd

Empty Thrush egg, March 30th

Signs of spring - this eggshell means that in a nest somewhere, a baby song thrush has hatched, just in time for Easter. Gin Foster.

The warmer weather is bringing out butterflies and bumble bees. The hawthorn and blackthorn hedges are also stirring into life - if you didn't already know, the blackthorn blossom comes before the leaves, while in the hawthorn the leaves come first followed by the (May) blossom.

I also saw a red kite meandering above The Parkes yesterday. - JD.

March 27th

A whooper swan was spotted by John Vickers on the mere next to Woolfall farm on Thursday. - JD

March 24th

There was a large flock of linnets and/or redpolls circling around the trees near the pumping station in Monks Lane on the 22nd, and the odd hint of blackthorn blossom here and there. Daisies have been flowering in our lawn for a few weeks now, and the odd dendelion is also starting to flower. - JD

March 17th

Wood anemonies are flowering in Mill Lane.

A gang of wrens (well, at least three) have been busy in a pine tree behind the Green Farm for two weeks now, busily foraging for insects for hours on end. - JD

March 14th

The blackbirds are starting to sing as well now, with a song which is similar to that of the thrush.  If you can't tell the difference go here for a thrush and here for a blackbird. - JD

March 8th

The Song Thrushes have been very noisy for the last few weeks - there seem to be plenty around this year. In general the birds are singing a lot more now as the breeding season gets under way. I've also seen bees swarming in a tree down Monks Lane this week. - JD

March 3rd

The chiff-chaffs are back, and are warming up their Spring voices with the first tentative "chiff-chaff".

Also, for the bird-nerds, there was a lone Mediterranean gull amongst the black-headed gulls on the field near the canal. For those who don't know, a Mediterranean gull has a black head, while a black-headed gull has a brown head....Gin Foster

March 2nd

There are plenty of signs of spring now, although some of them started to appear much earlier in the year. The first daffodils were opening in late December, but now they are starting to flower in greater numbers. It's been a good year for snowdrops with some great displays throughout February, and the Lesser Celandines have been flowering in Mill Lane since mid-January.

The winter migrant birds will soon be leaving but there are still redwings and fieldfares about. Lesley Ross reports seeing a fieldfare with a white cap - possibly a form of leucism.

Kingfishers were seen on the village pond in January, and now the Mallard Ducks are starting to pair off and search for nesting sites. JD

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