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
Hedgehogs, hedgehogs, hedgehogs everywhere. And they're our October 'top species'! The south side of South Stoke village hedgehog survey and trail map is underway and will be published in November. 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.
CPRE Oxfordshire 90th Anniversary Lecture: The British Hedgerow
A Natural History of the British Hedgerow & What Comes Next. Speaker: John Wright FLS
Tues 2 November, 7pm
To book your space, click 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!
The latest e-Newsletter has been sent out. Sign up to read the latest South Stoke Hedgehog Sightings and Trails update, news on a very exciting rare bee sighting by our local wildlife expert John Lindley and an exclusive interview with a renowned and world travelled photographer.
And on the subject of hedgehogs, click here for the South Stoke hedgehog survey update plus sighting and trail maps
And our September 'top species' is the: HOUSE SPARROW. Please, please let us know if you spot any by completing and submitting our 'Species Sighting Form' or enter the data on iRecord. Want to find out more? For 'key facts' including the differences between male and female, have a look at this RSPB website page
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
Issue number three (July) of the SSWCG e-Newsletter is now available to read in the archive
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
BUMBLEBEES - our August 'top species'. Please let us know where you spot them by completing and submitting our 'Species Sighting Form' or enter the data on iRecord. Do you know how to tell the difference between a Queen Bee and a male? Have a look at the 'Top Tips' page for the answer as well as links to interesting and fun sites.
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/
Berkshire Buckinghamshire Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) have published their 'top ten' species to spot in July. How many have you seen? BBOWT top 10
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
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
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
worth a read
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.
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
International Walk to School Month. Encourage people to get out of cars and reduce air pollution by walking to school during the month of October. “Children who walk to school are more engaged with their streets and aware of the impact of cars than those who don’t, suggests new research released for the launch of International Walk to School Month.”
World Animal Day 4th October. The mission of World Animal Day is “To raise the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the globe. Building the celebration of World Animal Day unites the animal welfare movement, mobilising it into a global force to make the world a better place for all animals. It’s celebrated in different ways in every country, irrespective of nationality, religion, faith or political ideology. Through increased awareness and education we can create a world where animals are always recognised as sentient beings and full regard is always paid to their welfare.”
No Disposable Cup Day 4th October. Every single day in the UK we use 7 million disposable cups, many of which are not disposed of responsibly. The aim of No Disposable Cup Day is “1. We STOP using disposable cups for one day on 4 October, and 2. We STOP using disposable cups completely."
National Clean Air Day 8th October. Air pollution harms the health of millions. But there are lots of simple things that we can do to improve air quality and look after our own and other people’s health. Clean Air Day is a chance to find out more about pollution, share information with friends and colleagues, and help make the air cleaner and healthier for everyone.”
National Tree Week, 27th November
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