Summer Wildlife at Mr Straw's House

William Straw's collection of bird’s eggs

Although Mr Straw’s House doesn’t have a large amount of land associated with it, the gardens and orchard in this quiet part of Worksop are actually a haven for wildlife.

Did you know that William Straw Junior was a keen birdspotter? Amongst the collections at the house is this well- thumbed bird spotting book, no doubt used when the Straw brothers were out on one of their favourite walks or working in the garden. Also in the collection, and more controversial today, is William’s collection of bird’s eggs.

Collecting bird’s eggs was a fashionable pastime for Victorians, and the hobby continued to be popular into the 20th Century. In the pre-television and internet era, collecting specimens would have been a way of studying and documenting bird populations, and with William’s scholarly interest in wildlife, it would have been an absorbing hobby for him.

We know that most of his collection was not personally gathered by him, but was purchased from other collectors. He kept meticulous lists of the eggs with notes on where they had been found.

Bees in the garden at Mr Straw's House
Bees in the garden at Mr Straw's House
Bees in the garden at Mr Straw's House

Nowadays of course, there are far more acceptable ways of studying garden wildlife. Surveys have shown a decline in some common garden birds, such as thrushes, cuckoos and starlings.

However, there is still plenty to see around the garden and orchard here at Mr Straw’s – why not come along and see how many different types of birds you can spot? We have a resident robin who appears around the garden, and in the orchard we have seen wrens and, plenty of pigeons and magpies.

The gardens are also teeming with insect life. We often spot bumble bees working on the lavender bushes in the front garden of No.5 Blyth Grove, and ladybirds, butterflies and other creepy crawlies are to be found everywhere. See what you can find this summer in the Straw’s garden and orchard. Why not keep a list- William Straw would approve!