Images courtesy of Simon Booker stokerpix.com
A group of enthusiastic South Stoke naturalists have got together to form the South Stoke Wildlife & Conservation Group. We are Paul Jenkins, Ian Haslam, John Lindley and Ali Brazenor, with some expert helpers from around the village. We’d like to welcome people of all ages to get involved in learning more about the wildlife in the parish of South Stoke, and find ways of helping it thrive.
Our aim is to confirm what wildlife there is in the area, record it, map it, and then help protect, enhance and conserve it. We also hope to improve the management of some areas, to maintain and enhance biodiversity, and create new habitats for wildlife where possible.
It’s an opportunity for everybody in the parish to be part of - with lots of fun and learning along the way!
Wildlife as diverse as otters, water voles, turtle doves, Soprano Pipistrelle bats, the wonderfully named Cetti’s Warbler and Azure Hawker dragonflies have all been spotted and recorded locally.
We’re proud of our wonderful parish and its natural environment and want it to be protected and improved!
Most importantly, whenever you're out and about in the countryside, please be aware of and respect the five main points of the Countryside Code:
Be safe, plan ahead and follow any signs
Leave gates and property as you find them. ...
Protect plants and animals and take your litter home. ...
Keep dogs under close control. ...
Consider other people
Wildflower Growalong participants - please check your 'junk' mail just in case an important project update email has slipped in! (Friday 16th April 2021)
******RIVERBANK & PRIVATE GARDEN DRAGONFLY WALK UPDATE!!!!***** For all those who have signed up, please put Sunday 23rd May into your diaries. If your plans have changed please email so that we can reallocate your place(s) to somebody else. If you'd like to join in, there are still a few spaces left; please sign up. Full details of the walk here
New activity mid July: GLOW WORM VILLAGE WALK & SPOTTING SESSION has been added to the Projects & Activities form. Book now as spaces will have to be limited!
Are you ready for 30 Days Wild? Sign up now
HEDGEHOG PROJECT update! Historical sightings map and survey update results here
WILD BEE TALK - Roselle Chapman a Trustee of Wild Oxfordshire and Community Ecologist will talk all things 'Wild Bees' on Wednesday 21st April at 7.30pm. Roselle studied bumblebee ecology and genetics for her Ph.D and is a much-renowned speaker. The talk will cover why wild bees and other pollinators are so important, but still the unsung heroes of the environment, gardens and countryside and continue to decline in number and range. Roselle will identify what we can all do to help wild bees and, in so doing, assist biodiversity as a whole. Book your space here.
Hedgehog Superhighway - Woodcote Conservation Group are hosting a Zoom talk on Thursday 29th April at 7.30pm presented by Stephen Powles. Formerly a vet, Stephen changed career to pursue a lifelong passion for wildlife, wildlife photography, filming and conservation. Stephen has made a number of TV appearances, featured in the national press and won major awards. Stephen will describe how his brother, Chris, inspired the villagers of Kirtlington to take an interest in their hedgehogs and how they went about creating a “Hedgehog Superhighway” of interconnected gardens. Chris will be present to answer questions.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register to attend and they'll send you the Zoom link the day before the talk.
And two more 'talk' dates for your diary from our local wildlife neighbours; Hagbournes & Upton Group for Sustainability https://www.hugsustainability.org/
1. Save our Swifts – Rachel Pearson and Colm Ó Caomhánaigh from the Oxford Swift City Group Thursday 15th April at 7.30 pm
Meeting ID: 815 0160 4406, Passcode: 862185
2. Looking out for Garden Ladybirds – Helen Roy, Professor in Ecology, UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Wednesday 21st April at 7.30 pm
Meeting ID: 832 3958 8216, Passcode: 117136
17th March 2021. Councils across England are transforming roadside verges to support wildflowers as pressure grows to reverse declines in wildlife, as reported by Plantlife
Renowned local bird experts Simon (Stokerpix) and Paul will do a DAWN CHORUS WALK in June. Simon will write a “Birdy Booklet" for attendees. Date to be advised. Watch this space!
March 2nd, 2021. Watch the inspirational hedgerow project film from Watlington Climate Action Group
February 26th, 2021. 'Ecological Emergency' declared by South Oxfordshire District Council.
For a pdf of SODC's Corporate Plan 2020-2024 including the sections 'Protect & Restore our Natural World' and 'Action on the Climate Emergency', please click here
February 16th, 2021. Great news! Our Wildlife and Conservation Group has been awarded a grant of £1000 from South Oxfordshire District Council, arranged for us by our local district councillor, Maggie Filipova-Rivers, through her 'Councillor Community Grant'. She is keen to support new environmental initiatives in the area and the timely launch of our conservation group seems to fit the bill perfectly. The money is planned to be used on equipment needed for our upcoming species surveys, including a couple of trail cameras, planting and possibly laying some hedges and covering expenditure in setting up and maintaining the website. We'd like to thank Maggie, and Bryan Urbick who facilitated the application, and look forward to using the money to further the aims of the group.
February 24th, 2021. We have just launched our brand-new website and its sister Facebook page. We are looking for people who are interested in helping us do stuff. We hope to get some projects going but how much and how soon will depend on who comes forward. Please contact us and let us know what you can do; whether it's planting trees, reporting sightings, doing surveys, writing articles, providing photos or helping with our accounts, any help will be welcomed!
Locked Down Britons Turn to Birdwatching
The annual end of January birdwatching survey benefitted from a surge of interest. Read more here
Click here for some great ideas on what you can do to protect and enjoy the flora and fauna around you.
Beetle Mania. Do you know what the most famous beetle in the UK is and that there are over 4,000 beetle species scuttling all around us? Click here for the answers and to discover 17 of the most colourful British beetles. More beetle mania links on our Top Tips page
Blooming April. Spring has sprung and WILDFLOWERS are appearing. Plantlife have published brilliant 'Spotting Sheets' to help you identify wildflowers month by month. Have fun and please join our wildflower survey!
Hedgehogs have been hibernating over winter and may be starting to become active again. Please keep an eye out and use our Species Sighting Form to let us know if you see one!
WILD GARLIC - responsible foraging and yummy recipes
THE TOP FIVE SIGNS OF SPRING - find out which bird uses cobwebs to make their nests, and which gets their gladrags on for the breeding season.
Hedgehog Myth Buster: it's a common misconception that hedgehogs enjoy a saucer of milk. On the contrary, hedgehogs are lactose intolerant and must never be given cows' milk or milk products. It can cause severe digestive upset and kill them.
WHICH BIRDSONG IS THAT? The RSPB's guide to identifying some of the most common contributors to the spring dawn chorus
Handy and fun guide to identifying agile hunters of the sky.
THE PERFECT PAD FOR BLUETITS & ROBINS. There's lots of house hunting going on in your garden right now with many birds on the lookout for a place to nest.
events of interest
22nd April 2021 - Earth Day https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2021/
2nd - 8th May - Hedgehog Awareness Week https://www.twinkl.co.uk/blog/hedgehog-awareness-week
2nd May - International Dawn Chorus Day
May 2021 - 'Be Nice to Nettles Week' - is it really a thing?!
20th May - World Bee Day https://www.un.org/en/observances/bee-day
30th May 2021 - Otter Day
27th June 2021 - Open Farm Sunday
5th June - World Environment Day https://www.un.org/en/observances/environment-day
8th-10th July - Moth Night https://www.mothnight.info/
July 2021 - National Meadows Day
Late July - Dragonfly Week https://british-dragonflies.org.uk/what-we-do/outreach-projects/dragonfly-week/
27th November 2021 - National Tree Week
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