Turtle Doves in Froyle, June 2020

In the last month, a pair of Turtle Doves has occasionally visited a garden in Upper Froyle. They used to be widespread but have suffered a 94% UK population decline since 1995. At this current rate of change if we don’t find a way to help them scientists calculate that complete UK extinction as a breeding species will be a real possibility within just a few years. In Hampshire there are just a few sites where these birds hang on. Finding extra food in gardens can be an important source of nutrition for the birds. Turtle Doves are ground feeders, although you may see them on a bird table and even at a hanging feeder. They often struggle to find sources of water in the summer so please do fill up any bird baths that you may have – or simply put out a shallow dish with water.

Keith Betton is the County Bird Recorder for Hampshire and is keen to hear from anybody who sees these birds around Froyle – or hears their gentle purring call when out on walks. If you can help with sightings (which will not be made public) please contact Keith on 07809 671468 or at keithbetton@hotmail.com.

Look out for day-flying moths in Froyle

There are quite a few moth species that can be encountered in the daytime comprising the true day flying ones and those that are easily disturbed from vegetation.  A free guide can be downloaded as a .pdf from Butterfly Conservation. Some you may see include Scarlet Tiger, Ruby Tiger, Mother Shipton, Silver Y, Burnet Companion, Cinnabar, Six-spot Burnet, Hummingbird Hawk-moth, and Large Yellow Underwing.  If you spot a day flying moth search ‘UK Moths’ for identification help or email a photo to info@froylewildlife.co.uk we may be able to assist.

Cinnabar Moth
Scarlet Tiger

To see what moth species have been recorded in Froyle, click on the .pdf. Other wildlife lists recorded in this Parish are available here.

What’s about in Froyle, May 2020

Lockdown in sunny weather has had its benefits; it was a great spring for bluebells and exploring the local countryside as everything dried out. Keen eyes will have spotted lots of insects flitting about the hedgerows and if you head out at dusk you will see the bats taking full advantage! Other insectivores made an early appearance this year – the swifts can now be heard shrieking over the roof tops, arriving about a week earlier than usual, although numbers so far look slightly down on last year. Swallows and Martins have returned and now it is starting to feel like a proper summer!

Walking through the field footpaths you can spot the solitary mining bees darting in and out of surprisingly small holes. Ashy mining bees are colonial and have been spotted in Upper Froyle, as has a very beautiful hummingbird hawk moth. These large moths don’t land when they feed, using their long proboscis instead, are also migratory, but since this one appeared in late April it must have over wintered here.

By mid-May, most of the native species of bird are fledging their first brood, and with almost no cold and wet weather it could be a good year for them. From my dog walks there seem to be more partridge this year and hares seem to be on the up, but stoats have also been seen, let’s hope leverets don’t get hypnotised as easily as rabbits!

Find us on our new Instagram page: @froylewildlife and share your wildlife photos using #froylewildlife. To see what bird species have been recorded in Froyle, click on the .pdf. Other wildlife lists recorded in this Parish are available here.

Alex M

Nature in Froyle carrying on as usual, despite Covid-19

In these surreal times with Covid-19, as residents of Froyle, we feel very fortunate to be able to walk out into the countryside and see nature moving forward as usual. This is a reassuring and positive experience during what is an anxious and, unfortunately for some, extremely sad time.  We enjoyed hearing and seeing a variety of birds whilst walking around Lower and Upper Froyle this April 2020 morning, some common and some birds of conservation concern.

We heard the ‘Pee-wit’ call of the Lapwing, whilst watching its relaxed tumbling acrobatic display. One of the Lapwings was sitting in a shallow scrape on the ground, presumably nesting. With a significant decline in its numbers recently the Lapwing is now a red listed species under birds of Conservation Concern. The call of the Lapwings was intermingled with the Skylarks song above the same field, another red listed species.

Blackcaps, a common bird, have migrated back to Froyle after spending their Winter in the warmer climes of Iberia and North Africa. We heard the melodic song of several males on our walk – a rich and varied warble, usually starting with a chattering and finishing with a flourish of flute-like notes. The sound of two pebbles striking each other drew our attention to the fact that one of the Blackcaps was concerned about our presence, as this is their alarm call. Perhaps we were venturing close to their nest on our walk.

Further on the walk we saw a pair of male and female Yellowhammers perched on the bare branches of a bush. As it is the breeding season, the male was striking with very vibrant colouring – his red brown plumage streaked with black, supplemented by bright yellow on his head and belly. The female was duller in colour. The Yellowhammer is also red listed.

Having had heavy rain overnight prior to our walk, the Ryebridge Stream was in full flow. Wondering where this water would end up, on map investigation I was interested to see this stream feeds into the River Wey, which eventually then flows into the River Thames!

Wrens, the UK’s most common breeding bird were audible in many places, although rarely seen, as they forage in cover. Their tremendous trilling loud song belied the wren’s diminutive size.  On completion of our walk, we were grateful to have been able to share the countryside with these, and many other, birds.

If you would like to explore the countryside around Froyle for your daily exercise, please see the link to footpaths.

Jayne F

Rybridge stream overflows Froyle Feb 2020

The wildlife pond and surrounding meadow near Gid Lane is adjacent to Ryebridge Stream that rises from springs in Upper Froyle and flows down to the River Wey. It’s seasonal flow usually dries up in summer and appears to be no more than small ditch. After this year’s exceptional rainfall in February the stream overflowed into the field like a river and made a temporary new lake about 200x20m in size. By mid-March the flood had subsided and the overflow ceased.

Wasp spider in Froyle August 2018

A Froyle resident spotted an unusual spider this summer while out walking and sent us some photos. Forbes said:-

“Living in Westburn Fields I regularly walk my dog Stanley around the Froyle Recreational Ground and especially enjoyed the wildflower area during the summer.  This summer I was fortunate to spot a wasp spider on the poppy stems.  With striking yellow and black markings and an impressive spiral orb web, the wasp spider makes for an impressive sight and I was pleased that the photos came out.  It was mid August with the early morning dew really showing off the spiral orb web.”

Forbes also included some photos of the cornfield annuals with poppies in full bloom at the beginning of July.

Wildflowers, butterflies and dragonflies thrive in Froyle, July 2018

One of our members, Simon sent us photos about his afternoon in Froyle, he wrote …

Visiting the wildflower area on Froyle Recreation Ground this Friday revealed a wealth of diverse wildlife. The meadow had a lovely mix of Common Poppies, Corn Flowers, Oxeye Daisies, and Corn Marigolds amongst others. Can you also see the Meadow Brown hiding in the wildflowers meadow picture. The Common Poppies are in various stages of development, from just appearing out of their buds as they un-crease and unfold, to losing their petals for bees to collect the remaining nectar, whilst others have lost all their petals with a 7-spot lady bird and soldier beetle racing to the top. Finally a Gatekeeper and hoverfly gathering nectar from Corn Marigold.

   

   

I then decided to visit the wildlife pond near Gid Lane, Froyle which was teeming with life. There was an abundance of Blue-tailed Damselflies around, as well as Emperor Dragonflies laying eggs in the pond. There was a Meadow Brown butterfly resting on a Knapweed, as well as a freshly emerged Common Blue butterfly on a spent Ox-eye Daisy. You can see many wild flowers in various stages of development, shown here with a dead and new Ox-eye Daisy side by side. There was also a pretty pink and white wildflower -Wild Carrot (usually white flowered). As I then rested on the wooden stump watching the Damselflies and Dragonflies, there was a crack of thunder, followed by a rapidly increasing downpour. That was my time to leave!

   

 

Pond dipping Froyle 20th August 2017

Family fun –join us for a 1h dipping session on Sunday 20th August to see what underwater creatures we can find in the new wildlife pond near Gid Lane, Froyle (see plan).  Children will need to be accompanied by a responsible adult.  All equipment will be provided and numbers are limited so it is essential to book by emailing info@froylewildlife.co.uk., stating preference for 1.30pm or 2.30pm session.

Dragonflies have already found the new habitat as well as pond skaters, water boatmen and whirligig beetles. Advice from wildlife pond experts is to let the pond colonise naturally over time. So please do not introduce any fish, aquatic species or pond plants because this could bring in diseases or potentially invasive non-native species.

Update: Some photos taken on the day and how it all went well.

   

 

 

 

On a breezy but sunny August day the new wildlife pond welcomed 19 children with their accompanying parents and grandparents. It was perfect weather for pond dipping and children and adults had lots of fun finding and identifying many interesting inhabitants of the pond. These included greater and lesser boatmen, juvenile ramshorn snails, damselfly nymphs and at least three different species of dragonfly nymph.

Sam, aged 3 remarked, ‘I liked catching all the different creatures’. And Joe, aged 6 said, ‘My favourite thing was catching a massive dragonfly nymph’.  Frankie aged 6 said he absolutely loved it. Bea aged 11 said she thought it would be babyish but it wasn’t and she loved looking at the really tiny creatures under the microscope. Eryka said, ‘I’ve never been pond dipping before, it was so cool!  I caught a waterboatman.  I would like to do it again.’

It was a wonderfully fun and educational day and hopefully the first of many that Froyle Wildlife will hold in the future. Special thanks should go to the Froyle Parish Council who kindly paid for the pond dipping equipment.

Froyle dragonflies and damselflies July 2017

After visiting the new wildlife pond near Gid Lane in Froyle, one of our junior members William sent in photos of dragonflies and damselflies seen. A mating pair of blue-tailed damselflies settled on his sister’s hand just perfectly for the camera. The freshly emerged common darter has yet to develop it’s full adult colours.

 

 

 

 

Do contact us if you can help with ongoing maintenance of the pond and meadow or if you want to tell us your sightings.

 

Enjoying the Wildlife of Froyle, June 2016

Enjoying the Wildlife of Froyle

We have lived in Froyle now for nearly 12 years, relatively new residents compared to many, but every day I am appreciative of how lucky we are to live here, with the countryside and wildlife on our doorstep. This was highlighted on a recent two mile dog walk around Lower Froyle.

House MartinIt was a gloriously sunny morning. We left our resident house martins behind in the nests around our house. After their long journey back from Africa we are hoping they will be successfully breeding, to help keep up, and perhaps swell, their ‘amber listed’ population. Shortly afterwards we encountered a Red Kite, another ‘amber listed’ bird, magnificently gliding low over the houses and gardens. ‘Amber list’ includes species where there is falling populations or contracting ranges.

Log seat FroyleWhilst walking close to the quarry, Skylarks were in songflight, some so high in the air that they were barely visible. This is a relatively common occurrence here, but not typical generally for the UK now as Skylarks are on the ‘red list’ of endangered or vulnerable species. In the hedgerow we heard the ‘little bit of bread and no cheese’ song of a Yellow Hammer, another species on the red list.

A Roe deer doe was standing in the shade of a tree at the edge of a field behind long grass. Luckily the wind must have been in its favour as the dogs were unaware of it. It remained there just watching us, perhaps it had a kid nearby.

Grass snakeAs usual we stopped to admire the view from the thoughtfully placed ‘tree bench’ at the top of Hussey’s Lane. On returning down the lane, a Grass Snake slithered back into the vegetation at the edge of the track, having been disturbed from basking in the sun by our footsteps. A Blackcap sang its melodic song further down the track.

Sown wildflowers Froyle recComing across the Recreation Field, we admired the blooms of the ‘Wildflower area’. Once back in our garden, the hedgehog droppings were evidence of a visitor or two the night before, presumably consuming the food that we put out for them each evening.

Whilst I appreciate this is by no means an exhaustive list of Froyle wildlife, I feel very fortunate to be able to experience the sorts of encounters mentioned above.

Jayne Fisher

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