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
SSWCG has submitted a proposal to the PC for a Community Garden in the heart of South Stoke. We need your support and votes to make it happen! You can read a summary of the proposal and request more information here: Community Gardens Proposal
SSWCG are hosting a children's bug hunt and bug hotel building session on Sunday 5th December at 10am on the recreation ground. For more information, visit the SSWCG Facebook/event page
The final e-Newsletter of 2021 has been sent out. If you've subscribed but not received it, please check your Junk folder and add SWWCG to your safe sender's list. Happy reading!
The fieldfare, our November 'Top Species', is a migratory bird which is typically a winter visitor from Scandinavia. Fieldfare are seen on farmland with large hedges, scrub and woodland laden with berries. In late winter they will feed on grassland and field margins. Mixed farming systems are most suited to the fieldfare as they provide the range of habitats that they require. Their diet predominantly consists of berries, fallen fruit, worms, slugs and sometimes grain. Winter foraging will include earthworms, wireworm and leatherjackets. Their songis simple with a few chattering, fast and furious notes:
“Schack-schack-schack”. Please fill in our Sightings Form if you see one.
Hedgehogs, hedgehogs, hedgehogs everywhere. They were our October 'top species'. The south side of South Stoke village hedgehog survey and trail map is underway and will be published in December. Now is the ideal time to spot hogs; please help us and report any sightings and we'll add them to our maps.
Hedgerows - planting, laying and learning
There are many groups running community led hedgerow planting days this Autumn/ Winter. If you are interested in joining a party then contact firstname.lastname@example.org who will try her best to pair you up with one.
Wild Oxfordshire will be running 2 hedge laying courses for beginners this Winter. For further details please contact email@example.com
Wild Oxfordshire are also running 4 virtual hedgerow webinars as part of the Local Environment Groups Conference, with thanks to the support of Smiths Bletchington and CPRE Oxfordshire. More info on all these great initiatives - and more! - can be found here.
COMMUNITY WILDFLOWER PROJECT UPDATE:
Thank you to everybody who turned up for the wildflower preparation and subsequent planting sessions. Two sunny delights and the other a torrential rain endurance test! All extremely productive. Special thanks to Naomi and Kim for turning up to all three with the most delicious Boki coffee and CAKES!
Hedgehogs, click here for the South Stoke hedgehog survey update plus sighting and trail maps
RARE BEE SPECIES FOUND IN SOUTH STOKE:
If you attended the SSWCG ‘Wild Bee’ talk given by Roselle Chapman, you'll likely remember that she set the group a challenge to find a rare Yellow Loosestrife Bee…and John Lindley has only gone and done it! The ID has been confirmed by an expert and updated onto the national iRecord database. It’s a huge coup for all wildlife enthusiasts in the Parish and, in Roselle’s words ‘just goes to show what you find when you look’. You can read more about the Yellow Loosestrife bee in the next edition of the e-Newsletter (click here to sign up).
Trees should be planted without plastic guards, says UK study
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
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/
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.
Watch the inspirational hedgerow project film from Watlington Climate Action Group
worth a read
Ten ways to be more sustainable in your garden - practical advice from the RHS
UK dragonflies are benefitting from climate change. Read all about it
CPRE releases groundbreaking new research into hedgerows. Read more here
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/
Click here for some great ideas on what you can do to protect and enjoy the flora and fauna around you.
PLEASE DO NOT FEED PUMPKIN TO HEDGEHOGS
Whilst hedgehogs will happily eat pumpkin as they have a sweet tooth, Pumpkins act as a laxative and will cause the hedgehog to have diarrhea.The British Hedgehog Preservation Society suggest hanging your pumpkins in trees to allow birds and squirrels to eat the fruit.
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.
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
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
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!
Handy and fun guide to identifying agile hunters of the sky.
events of interest
United Nations World Soil Day, Sunday 5th December. Encouraging all people to participate, the Food & Agricultural Organisation has created a thematic website full of information, initiatives and material to spread the message through different multimedia platforms.https://www.un.org/en/observances/world-soil-day
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