Oxhill News

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

South Warwickshire, England.

The Oxhill News

February 2010

This months News




A big thank you to everyone who returned their wildlife surveys.  Our village has approximately 120 residential households, which includes a variety of house and garden types, and I received 19 returns, which is a 15% response.  Now anyone in  marketing will tell  you that this is a fantastic response, and these returns come form all parts of the village, so I think we can take this as a very good average and guide to what we have in the village.

OWLS was run from July to the end of October and consisted of a small list (as per Warwickshire Nature) of the more common species.  28% of people supplied extra observations.  Of the total who replied, 72% wish to take part in a more detailed survey, and a bit of a surprise, 66% have ponds, which is 12 ponds which does not include the large double pond belonging to John Baker.  If you wish to take part in a detailed survey this year, but did not for whatever reason send a survey back, please contact any member of OWLS.

Although we have a good number of ponds, one of the most worrying things is that there were only three sightings of frogs and three of toads.  Earlier in the year people reported having no frogspawn in their ponds.  Some years ago during the breeding season we would have a procession of toads coming up Back Lane, but for some reason we have had a dramatic decrease in frogs and toads over the last few years.

During 2009 83% of those who responded reported seeing hedgehogs and up to two or three individuals in more than one garden.  Let’s hope they have survived the cold spell.  Although nationally house sparrows are declining, 77% have them in their gardens, and of those 85% reported seeing an average of seven to eight at any one time, which suggests many of us have a breeding colony.  Also, good news, 77% of respondents have large bumblebees.  We really have to encourage these (details to follow).

Other findings include:

50% - have song thrush
77% - had Peacock butterflies
72% - had Red Admiral butterflies
66% - of gardens have a long/branch pile
50% - of gardens have a long grass area
77% - have taller shrubs or hedges
38% - have bird boxes
65% - have bee/insect boxes
44% - use only peat-free compost
42% - only use environmentally friendly slug pellets

We saw a total of 52 species of birds and 20 species of butterflies and moths.

We had great-crested newts, common newts, grass snakes, fox, muntjac, grey squirrels, and roe deer, not forgetting the five species of bat discovered on our bat walk.

I am still in the process of collating all the information so I will post a full list of what we all saw on the new OWLS web site www.oxhill-owls.org.uk.

January this year sees the launch of the International Year of Biodiversity.  During this year OWLS hope to tackle the following:

1) Circulating a detailed survey to all those who volunteered to take part.

2) Constructing and installing swallow/owl/kestrel bird boxes.

3)Surveying areas in and around the village for wild flowers with the object of creating wildflower areas.

4) Surveying ponds in and around the village.

5) Circulating “How to Create a Wildlife Area” details to every household.

6) 2010 Photographic Exhibition – start ‘snapping’ now.

7) A night time ‘Moth Watch’.

We cannot do all this by ourselves – we still need extra volunteers for future work parties, so please sign up. 

Don’t forget the RSPB bird count on 30 January 2010.

Grenville Moore

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Last modified: February 14, 2010