Q) Several pairs of swifts breed under the eaves of our house every year. This year we rescued a young bird that was grounded, and then successfully launched it into the air. Before releasing it, we removed four large, flat flies from its plumage. Could these have been the cause…

Small tortoiseshells

Q) After two summers when I hardly saw a single small tortoiseshell butterfly, they are suddenly back in good numbers. What caused their disappearance, and their welcome return? R. COLLINS Somerset

Aggressive nursing jill

Q) One of my favourite jills has had a litter of kits, which are now two-and-half weeks old. However, the nursing jill won’t let me go anywhere near the nest. This seems to be out of character, as other ferrets I have bred in the past have been fine. Am…

How can I get a transfer licence to buy a shotgun from Spain?

David Frost You need to contact the Spanish Embassy in London and ask them – Alternatively the Ministry of the Interior has a website at and the main Spanish shooting organisation has one at – both are in Spanish but your relative may speak the language if…

Introducing the stop whistle has slowed my dog down!

Gundog training: My Labrador’s training is progressing well but in one respect he has actually gone backwards. He has always been fairly fast on the outrun to a dummy but now that I’ve introduced the stop whistle, he has slowed right down.