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
The Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) is looking for nature loving volunteers to help wildflowers to blossom along miles of public highway. Read more and find out how to volunteer here
STAG BEETLES - our July 'top species'. The stag beetle is Britain's largest insect and one of the most well-known of all the beetles. The male is easily recognised because of his mouthparts which have evolved into enormous jaws, resembling the antlers on a stag's head. Read more stag beetle facts on the People's Trust For Endagered Species site. And, most importantly, please either use iRecord to update the national database or our Sightings Form to report any sightings and we'll update iRecord on your behalf
Berkshire Buckinghamshire Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) have published their 'top ten' species to spot in July. How many have you seen? BBOWT top 10
Chilterns AONB have announced that the @chilternsociety and Chilterns Conservation Board's project: "Chalk Streams & Wetland Meadows: guarding the irreplaceable for people and nature" has been awarded a grant from the government's £40M Green Recovery Challenge Fund. Read more here
How about a foraging and cooking course in Oxfordshire? Justine Gens does just that; teaching how to identify, harvest and embrace wild plants with a sustainable approach. Justine will be writing all about her ethos and work in the next issue of our e-Newsletter but, in the meantime, have a look at the website. We have it on great authority that the courses are well worth attending! https://www.ma-roemca.com/
SWALLLOWS - our June 'top species'. Swallows are small birds with dark, glossy-blue backs, red throats, pale underparts and long tail streamers. They are extremely agile in flight and dance around the sky. Numbers in the UK have fluctuated over the last 30 years with pronounced regional variation in trends. If you see any, please report them and we'll add them to our species map and also update the national iRecord datatabase.
'National Hedgerow Week' 29th May-6th June. Read all about why hedgerows need our help
Are you ready for 30 Days Wild? It's not too late. Sign up now
HEDGEHOG PROJECT update! Historical sightings map and survey update results here Plus...we're testing out a trail camera. It takes 20 second videos in night-time mode and will be available for villagers to borrow. Here's some recent footage captured on 9th and 10th May 2021
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.
worth a read
The insect apocalypse: insects have declined by 75% in the past 50 years – and the consequences may soon be catastrophic. Biologist Dave Goulson reveals the vital services they perform. Read the Guardian article here
Jays and grey squirrels get planting! Half the trees in two new woods were planted by jays scientists find. Read more here
Or worth a listen... Did you see Chris Packham telling Springwatch viewers that blue tit chicks eat 35 million caterpillars a year and then correcting himself to say 35 BILLION? And which figure is correct? Amazingly, and as explored by Radio 4's 'More or Less', the actual figure is 35 billion! You can listen here (wind forward to 8 mins 10 seconds)
One step closer to 100 year goal for Withymead Nature Reserve as 240 native trees and shrubs are planted: https://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/19336467.south-oxfordshire-nature-reserve-withymead-plants-200-trees/
End mowing of road verges to create huge wildlife habitat, says UK study
The Government will ban sales of peat products by the end of this Parliament, subject to public consultation
Converting arable land; what's your view?
Councils across England are transforming roadside verges to support wildflowers as pressure grows to reverse declines in wildlife, as reported by Plantlife
Click here for some great ideas on what you can do to protect and enjoy the flora and fauna around you.
Planting gorgeous sunflowers is one of the easiest ways to provide food for birds in your garden, and they’re excellent fun to grow. Find out more here
Why not build a swift box? Here's an easy to follow RSPB guide (although you'll need to set aside a couple of hours!)
How to make a splash in your outdoor space. A simple bird bath or a mini pond. Water adds tranquility and endless entertainment for wild visitors. Find out how you can add water and attract wildlife
Common Frog image courtesy of Roger Wyatt
Why not build a BEE HOTEL for your garden? Head to the Top Tips page for a simple guide on how to do it...
Planting guide for an insect friendly garden: the more diverse the flowers and plants you have in your garden, the more pollinators you will attract. Use this Wildlife Trusts handy monthly calendar guide to attract insects to your garden
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 May. 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 are starting to become active again. How active? Did you know that a hedgehog can swim and run up to 2km per night in search of food? 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.
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
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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