By Margaret Waddingham

Articles published in the Caundler Magazine
Bumble Bees

I like bumble bees, especially the really large, nice cosy, hairy ones

Out on Genevive one afternoon one day, I stopped to watch an enormous bumblebee that peeped through someone’s picket fence.
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Injustice to Starlings

Late last autumn, I found my peanut holder on the lawn - again - its contents spilt all over the place. Blow those starlings, I thought, because I always blame starlings for any garden mischief.
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Richard the Robin has a lion heart and a crusading spirit

I have my own robin. I suppose everyone says this because we all get possessive about the one bird that comes to share our garden with us.
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I’ve been watching the hogweeds

The hogweeds remind me so much of the moor when we lived in Hatherleigh. At that time I become particularly interested in why different insects seemed to prefer different parts of the plant.
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In June I went up my usual lanes with the purpose of counting insects

Up Holt Lane I spotted a tiny iridescent beetle, one bumble bee and several butterflies. Down Rowden Mill Lane I found about six bumble bees and several little brown butterflies, probably gatekeepers.
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Campion and bluebells

The miracles of nature

The Red Campion too, which had been in bud on the previous occasion that I had been there, were now fully out, sturdy and rich, and misty Bluebells were growing at the foot of the hedges.
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Snowdrops in March

All that is needed to nature watch is to go quietly and pay attention to the surroundings

I suppose I’ve done a lot of nature watching in my time, and, like so many of us, I haven’t been conscious that was what I was doing.
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In the middle of a dull winter’s day, it’s nice to think of summer

Good heavens, Christmas is almost upon us again. Since the last few months have gone past in a bit of a haze and I haven’t been able to get out very much, it seems a good time to think back to a heady day in summer.
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Woodpecker on bird feeder

Birds can be hugely entertaining

If a woodpecker gets to the feeder when the starlings are around, they line up on top of the arbour and scream abuse at it but it doesn’t take much notice, just gives them a dirty look now and then.
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Field of flowers

The recent months have given nature a breathing space

The recent months have given us a chance to see what the world would be like without the heavy hand of man putting his foot in it, if you’ll pardon my mixed metaphors.
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Tell me, is Stourton Caundle the centre for woodlice?

As I expelled the latest half dozen woodlice from the kitchen one morning, I decided it was about time I found out more about the little wretches.
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House sparrow

Feeding birds on a feeding station

I recently read a controversial article in a newspaper telling me that feeding birds on a feeding station of any sort is not to be recommended.
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One morning in October I discovered that my pond had been vandalised.

A visiting friend said, ’You’ve had a badger in here. They’ll eat frogs. Probably too full to eat the fourth leg and those coils, which are its innards, it found too indigestible.’
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Rooks Nests

New neighbours have moved nearby – there are a lot of them

They are living in a crowded, high rise tenement, are extremely noisy and, questions have been raised as to whether it is they who have scared away some of the long term, nearby residents. In other words, we have a rookery,
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Elephant hawk moth caterpillar

Elephant hawk moth caterpillars are a treat to see

The head is very small compared with the rest of his body, and if alarmed, he withdraws it into his thorax which causes two large eye spots to stand out to terrify predators.
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Swallow Flying

The hottest February days on record

How, I wondered, as did many of my friends, had the swallows managed to come back here in time to enjoy the hottest February days on record?
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Dunnock (Hedge Sparrow)

I like dunnocks. Or rather, hedge sparrows, though sparrows they are not

The Middle Ages got us all confused by its practice of calling any small bird a sparrow, but now we know better.
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Spiders Webs

A fascination with the macabre and morbid side of wild life

It all started with my father, when, at the outbreak of the last war, he decided to keep bees.
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About Margaret

Margaret WaddinghamI was born in Middlesex in 1935 and educated at a convent in Rickmansworth. In 1954 I moved with my family to Cranleigh in Surrey where I met and married Brian. We have two daughters and five grandchildren.
For 21 happy years we lived on the outskirts of Guildford, moving to Hatherleigh in North Devon when our children had fled the nest to get on with their own lives.

My love of writing goes back many years but it was not until I retired from RHS Rosemoor Gardens in 1995 that I was able to devote more time to this and my other favourite pursuits, gardening and the countryside.

For many years I was a regular contributor of short stories, poetry, nature and other articles to three women’s national weeklies, periodical regional magazines and local newspapers. I also had a book of the history of a neighbouring village and a couple of books of poetry published.

One day our daughters phoned to suggest, very gently, that they couldn’t get to us quickly in an emergency and that’s how we ended up in Stourton Caundle.

We couldn’t have chosen a better place and although Brian sadly passed away in 2018, I have come to appreciate the village more and more.

Genevieve (my mobility scooter for those who haven’t met us) and I wander the local lanes, drinking in all that is around me and when I can no longer do this I will still have a small, peaceful garden to sit in where nature comes to visit me.