Oxhill News

www.oxhill.com / www.oxhill.org.uk

South Warwickshire, England.

The Oxhill News

December 2003


This months News
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November 2003
December 2003


December Happenings
Couldn't Be Done
Service Times
Festival Choir
Cover Picture
PC Report 11th November 2003
Parish Council
True Countryman
25 Years Ago
Carol Singing
Garden Club
WI Report
Happy Christmas
Pate & Puds
Dating Game
For Sale
Calling Flower Arrangers
Holy Wreaths
Christmas Puddings
Tarts & Tartans
Xmas Lunch
Nature Notes
Xmas Wishes
Two Takes

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Nature Notes

The tenth month of the Roman calendar and the month of Christmas.

I am sure everyone in the village has at some time seen our resident Grey heron and if you have a pond in your garden you will most definitely have had a visit.  Herons usually roost in colonies, or heronries, building nests in large trees that they refurbish year after year and which can measure several feet across.  Country folk believed that a heron’s next had two holes in the bottom through which the sitting bird could dangle its long legs!  The Oxhill heron however does not roost in a large tree but more often than not in the middle of a large field or on a fence.  Besides fish, herons readily take small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, insects, and even the occasional bird.  I have seen our heron take a small creature in the middle of a ploughed field, probably a vole or such like.  The sexes are alike, so it is impossible to tell if this is a male or a female, but spring comes and goes and it remains single, although last year it was joined by another single bird for a short while, and then a pair for about a week.  Severe winters are disastrous for herons and the long freeze of 1963 halved the population, and in addition they have been persecuted by anglers and fish farmers, but numbers are currently high.  They are now a protected species, so don’t be too hard on our heron when he comes looking for a snack from your pond.  However, if you wish to protect pond life from herons, stretch two strands of wire 8 inches and 14 inches above the ground about one foot back from the pond edge.  Herons do not land in water but alight nearby and walk into it. 

Don’t forget now the cold weather is here that once you start feeding the wild birds, please continue because the birds in your vicinity will come to rely on you.  It is also important to put water out.

On a festive note, did you know a favourite decoration originating in medieval England was the “kissing bough”, which was a garland of greenery shaped roughly like a crown and adorned with fruit, coloured paper rosettes, candles, and most importantly, a bunch of mistletoe hanging from the centre.  We still mimic this when we hang a wreath on our front door and hang a piece of mistletoe in the entrance.

On 23rd December “observe the day on which Christmas falls; if Thursday the winter mild and summer very good and abundant – many great men shall perish”.  From The Knowledge of Things Unknown, 1729.

Grenville Moore

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Last modified: March 28, 2004