Oxhill News

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

South Warwickshire, England.

The Oxhill News

June 2010

This months News



Nature Notes (and Owls)

As you read this the installation of our five owl boxes is well under way, and a very big thank you to Niall Conway and his merry crew for actually doing the hard work of getting them up into the trees – the Barn Owl box weighs a ton!  We has a very good response from all round the village and parish for the offer of trees or barns in which to erect the boxes.  Some were more suitable than others because there are quite a lot of different criteria when siting these boxes.  Thank you to those of you who are hosting a box and to those who also offered a site.  Perhaps you could host a “bug hotel” – details later in the year.  For obvious reasons I don’t want to divulge the location of the boxes and it is important they get as little disturbance as possible.  We will of course let you know if we get any results.  I am not optimistic for this year as we really should have had them in situ last autumn, but who knows?

Many of you may recall that in 2000 a Parish Appraisal was conducted as to basically what residents wanted or would like to see within the village.  When asked “do you think it is important to take special steps to preserve the following”:

Wild Flowers - 93% said yes
Birds             - 94% said yes
Wild Animals - 83% said yes

Also 85% wanted hedges protected and 74% wanted to see more trees planted.  At that time 82% of households had responded to the Appraisal, which is topical in political terms as a village landslide victory to fauna and flora.  So, OWLS’ next project is to address the wild flowers issue and later, tree planting.  We will be looking for suitable sections of verges in and out of the village, waste ground, and hopefully “God’s Acre”.  Of course all these areas have to be surveyed first and then managed in respect of cutting.  It is quite a task, but achievable, and just imagine the joy of seeing swathes of wildflowers in and around the village.

Also later in the year we will be running the photographic competition again, so get snapping.

I am still keen to know if the kingfishers survived the hard winter; any sightings, please let me know on 680664.

I am glad to say I have not noticed any huge decline in our garden bird population, although long-tailed tits are said to be down by about a third.  Hard winters always take their toll on the smallest birds, but having said that we have several wrens in the garden, and I’m pleased to say this year two or more song thrushes.    The other morning I noticed one thrush in the space of about an hour catch and eat nine snails – cracking their shells open on the garden path.  Meanwhile at the front of the house another thrush was also cracking snails on our front doorstep – bring on the thrushes I say!

More good news, our nesting pair of curlew are back.  Some of you early morning walkers may have heard that long drawn out trembling spring song, very melancholic and haunting.  On the subject of bird song, I have recently been asked what two bird songs are and they are in fact from the same bird, which is the chaffinch.  Its first is a monosyllabic call note, a sort of plaintive ‘pink’ or ‘spink’; the second is its song, a simple three-second burst with two or three notes repeated several times, followed by a rapid flourish or cadence.  Chaffinches are known for the many regional variations; in Kent it was thought to be saying “If we wait another month we shall have the wheatear”, in Hampshire it was said that when the yellowhammer sings “a little bit of bread and no cheese”, the chaffinch replies “I haven’t had a bit of bread and cheese these five years”.  The chaffinch in our garden sings (this one’s for Formula One fans!) “Come on, come on, come on, Sutil”.  Chaffinches used to be trapped and sold for their singing ability.  During Victorian times a good singing bird was extremely valuable and would change hands for 20 to 50 shillings apiece.  Thank goodness trapping was made illegal in 1896.

As spring lamb becomes available, ladies take heed from The Gentlewoman’s Companion 1675:

“Do not venture to eat Meat so hot, that the tears stand in your eyes, for that thereby you betray your intolerable greediness; neither fill your mouth so full, that your cheeks shall swell like a pair of Scotch bagpipes.  Gnaw no bones with your teeth, nor suck them to come at the marrow”.

Grenville Moore

This site is maintained by villagers of Oxhill for the benefit of the community and those interested in the history, news and activities that make the village such a pleasant place to live.

Send mail to the editor of the Oxhill News at news-editor @ oxhill.org.uk.

©2010 Oxhill Village (Terms and Conditions of use)

Last modified: June 09, 2010