Oxhill News

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

South Warwickshire, England.

The Oxhill News

June 2011

This months News




A new project for 2011-2012 is to survey parish hedgerows and roadside verges with the intention to create better awareness and increase the ecological value of these important areas of our environment.

Hedgerows can support hundreds of species of plants and animals, including small mammals and they also form valuable nesting sites for a variety of birds such as song thrush, tree sparrow and yellowhammer.  They are also an important winter food source.  The sheltered herb-rich margins can support many butterflies and invertebrates.  With the massive loss of unimproved grassland, roadside verges also provide an important habitat for plants (approximately 700 recorded nationally) birds, mammals and invertebrates.  Typical flowers found on roadside verges include umbellifers like hogweed, vetches, bedstraws and knapweeds.  One roadside verge has Warwickshire’s largest population of rock rose and pyramidal orchids along with a good population of the regionally scarce brown argus butterfly, which feeds on the rock rose.

Hedges and verges are also very important wildlife corridors, particularly in areas of intensive agriculture, where they provide good links between conservation areas; also country gardens, which are increasingly becoming their own micro wildlife areas. OWLS has recently linked up with the Whatcote LBAP group and we want to encourage and improve the wildlife corridor between our two villages.  Whatcote already have a wildflower churchyard.  We are currently liaising with the District Council Highways department regarding the mowing schedule for our parishes.  We are also very keen to see more verge areas within the village left ‘wild’.  This doesn’t mean ‘no mowing’ it just means mowing with care and consideration for the flora and fauna….if you are in doubt go and look at the verge outside Peter and Ann Hale’s house…a pure picture.

My particular passions in wildlife are, in no particular order, birds, wild orchids, reptiles/amphibians and butterflies.  Of all these, butterflies are surely the most beautiful and varied with their myriad of colour combinations; they are a joy to see and for me, lift the spirits; but bad news!  Butterflies are currently Britain’s most threatened wildlife group.  Their numbers have been declining over the last few years and this loss will reflect directly onto other groups of wildlife.  At the moment no one is quite sure for the reason for the decline; the recent hard winters and climate change have not helped, but certainly loss of habitat both in the countryside and in our gardens, where over-zealous clearance removes their feeding and egg-laying plants.  The majority of our flowers and vegetables are pollinated by bees, butterflies and moths, so all of us can really help in sustaining the status quo for these beautiful creatures.  Please come and learn how at ‘Gardening for Butterflies’ on Tuesday 7th June.

OWLS is also taking part in ‘The Big Butterfly Count’ between 16 to 31 July (supported by M & S) and we are very keen to get the whole village involved.  We will be popping ID sheets through your doors next month.

Grenville Moore

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Last modified: May 31, 2011