Pond dipping Froyle, 19th and 21st August 2022

Family fun –join us for a 1h dipping session on Friday 19th and Sunday 21st August to see what underwater creatures we can find in the wildlife pond near Gid Lane, Upper Froyle (see location 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 10 am or 11.15 am session.

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Walk at Old Winchester Hill 4th August 2022

Join us for an afternoon walk 2pm on Thursday 4th August 2022 at Old Winchester Hill, National Nature Reserve for flowers, views and butterflies. Most of our 3 mile, 2h route along the hilltop is relatively flat but it should be worthwhile to descend the steep ‘south slope’ where the chalkhill blue can sometimes be seen in huge numbers on sunny days. The flower rich grasslands have developed on the thin chalky soils that are low in nutrients, and prevent vigorous species from dominating the finer herbs.

Meet 2pm at the public car park OS Grid ref SU646213, about 2km south of West Meon or share lifts from Froyle Village Hall leaving at 1.20pm. For more information about this NNR, a leaflet can be downloaded as a .pdf from Natural England.

Note: The date may be changed at short notice if the weather forecast is poor.

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‘Drop-in’ at Froyle wildlife pond 9th July 2022

Call in anytime between 10am and 4pm on Saturday 9th July to visit the wildlife pond and meadow, near Gid Lane, Upper Froyle. There should be plenty to see especially if it’s a sunny day.
Members of Froyle Wildlife will be on hand to assist with identification of wildflowers, dragonflies’ and butterflies. Wildflower species to look out for include; knapweed, lady’s bedstraw, sainfoin, self heal, purple loosestrife, water figwort and bird’s-foot trefoil. Last year on the ‘drop-in’- day 12 species of butterfly and 8 species of dragonfly/damselfly were noted; ladybirds, hoverflies, bees and grasshoppers were also seen. No need to book, anyone can just pop in and see what you can spot.

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Moth identification evening Froyle 10th June 2022

Find out what flies after dark?  We plan to run a moth lamp on Friday 10th June at the meadow surrounding the wildlife pond near Gid Lane (weather permitting).  Come along anytime, starting 9.30pm until late, warm clothing and torch are useful.  Also we will have a bat detector to hear the echolocation calls of any nearby bats.

There are nearly 2000 species of moth that occur in Hampshire. Moths and butterflies are useful indicator species for the health of our natural environment.

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Fallen Cedar tree has new life as log seat

A local landmark on a hilltop field in Froyle was the Cedar of Lebanon that stood there for over 150 years as a sentinel tree. The cedar fell during gales in 2020 and an 8ft long section of trunk was kindly donated by Belport in April 2022. Froyle Wildlife arranged for a local chainsaw artist, Jona Cleaver to carve out a wonderful new seat from the log, weighing about 2 tons.

It is located on Froyle recreation ground (with permission from the Parish Council) next to an area of perennial wildflowers and cornfield annuals. A grant from East Hampshire District Council covered our costs for this community project.

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Walk at RSPB Farnham Heath, 21st May 2022

Join us at Farnham Heath on Saturday 21st May for a 2h guided walk by RSPB reserves warden Mike Coates. Centuries ago heathland developed from Common Land that was used for grazing and digging turfs. It is now a rare habitat, Surrey having lost 90% of its heathland. In 2004, an area of conifer forest was cleared in sections over 10 years. The heather seeds, which had laid dormant for decades, sprung to life and this attracted a number of rare birds including nightjars, woodlarks, and Dartford warblers; reptiles including endangered sand lizards; and invertebrates including field crickets and silver studded blues.
Froyle Wildlife members Meet 10.30am at Tilford Rural Life Centre car park Reeds Road, GU10 2DL.

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Flora recording Upper Froyle 8th May 2022

Flora recording amble on Sunday 8th May, around Froyle organised by Alton Natural History Society. Walk led by botanist Isobel Girvan, meet 10am at Froyle Village Hall.

Bugle

This joint project with Alton Natural History Society recording plant species in Froyle started in 2021 as an update to a previous survey in 1991. The variety of locations surveyed includes roadside verges, field and wood edges alongside public rights of way as well as other areas with landowner’s permission.

All welcome, come and find out what plants occur locally and learn to identify them. See link to Froyle churchyard.

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Attracting Wildlife to your Garden, talk 13th April 2022

Find out about a variety of projects that you can take in your garden in order to attract wildlife. Susan Simmonds will cover both large and small actions ranging from window boxes to creating wildlife ponds. She will look at some of the pollinator plants you might like to consider introducing to the garden and talk about the huge benefits of some of our very common plants such as dandelions and ivy.

All welcome to join this virtual meeting via Zoom, talk starts 7.30pm, free for members, £3 non-members.

Note:- The Zoom invitation will be emailed beforehand to members and to those on our mailing list. Anyone else who wants to join the meeting can request an invitation through our contact us page.

Susan has a lifelong passion for wildlife and has worked in the conservation sector for Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT) for over 20 years. She is also a sessional lecturer at Sparsholt College and enjoys passing on her knowledge through running training courses like plant species identification and mammal tracks and signs.

See blogs written by Susan https://www.hiwwt.org.uk/blog/-susan-simmonds and a series of short YouTube videos https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%27susan+simmonds%27.

 

Summary written after an excellent talk: The chief take-away for attracting wildlife in your garden is to let your garden grow wild! Those present who happened to also be members of Froyle Gardening Club were faced with a dilemma. Do we tidily weed our gardens or do we allow these native plants to flourish because they are well-liked by pollinators (dandelions, germander speedwell), or are good for butterflies to lay their eggs on (nettles, garlic mustard), or provide nesting places for birds and hibernation sites for butterflies (brambles and ivy)? Susan also suggested that we leave at least some of our lawn to be uncut and we might be surprised what springs up – Susan found a wild orchid. Alternatively, you can scarify or remove a section of turf and sow wild flower seeds – it could just be a small patch.
Non-weed plants that benefit wildlife include mixed native hedges (buckthorn is used by brimstone butterflies), honeysuckle (for moths), scabious (for many pollinators), primrose (for bee-flies). Be aware that some ‘pollinator friendly’ plants at non-organic nurseries may have been sprayed with pesticides!
Less of a dilemma was the introduction of a pond. It helps to have a shallow edge or ‘beach’ for easy access by amphibians and also some marginal planting such as water mint or purple loosestrife. The wildlife, including dragonflies and newts, will find their own way there. But don’t stock it with fish as they will gobble them up. Also, log piles and ‘bug hotels’ allow insects such as ladybirds and cardinal beetles to overwinter, and compost heaps do the same for slow worms and grass snakes. Blogs written by Susan Simmonds can be found at https://www.hiwwt.org.uk/blog/-susan-simmonds.                 Nigel H

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Talk about ‘Bird Songs and Calls’ 24th March 2022

We welcome Hampshire’s County Bird Recorder, Keith Betton, to tell us about the songs and calls of birds around Froyle – using recordings and photos. Keith lives in Farnham and is an author and broadcaster, and apart from previous talks to our group you may have spotted him on BBC TV’s Springwatch programme.

Doors open Froyle Village Hall 7pm for talk to start at 7.30pm. All welcome, entrance £3 for non members, members free. As a precaution, some windows will be open for ventilation, chairs will be spaced and we encourage you to wear a mask. A list of names attending will be kept.

Do you know the difference between the song of a Robin and Wren? Or do you just enjoy hearing a Springtime dawn chorus. Find out why birds sing and how to identify them just by listening. The RSPB has some examples on their website at https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/bird-songs/what-bird-is-that/ of the common birds you’ll find in and around your garden or local area.

Keith appeared in Springwatch 2021 with Chris Packham episode 4 to visit a Stone Curlew nest in Hampshire, see https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000wgzw/springwatch-2021-episode-4 and forward the recording to 48min 30sec.

 

Summary written after an entertaining and informative talk:  ‘Bird Song Around Froyle’ In March, Hampshire’s County Bird Recorder Keith Betton gave an enjoyable and informative talk on bird song that can be heard in Froyle. Keith explained that birds sing to establish and maintain a territory, and to attract a female. That is not to say that singing is restricted exclusively to male birds. Female Robins for example sing in Winter when they separate from their partner and establish their own territory for a time.
Keith used recordings from the Collins Bird Guide app (available for Apple and Android devices) to illustrate the songs of birds likely to be seen and heard in Froyle. Some of the more striking songs of the common birds are the rich ‘chocolatey’ song of the Blackbird, the note and phrase repeats delivered by the Song Thrush, and the powerful, loud and fast song of the tiny Wren. If you hear a bird of prey in Froyle, it is most likely to be the mewing sound of the very vocal Buzzard. Other notable sounds include the territorial tree drumming of the Great Spotted Woodpecker. The Green Woodpecker on the other hand mainly uses it’s loud ‘yaffle’ or ‘laughing’ call instead. The quality and variety of bird song is important to the birds themselves. When attracting a mate, the variety of sounds a male has in his repertoire suggests to a female that he is an older, more experienced, individual who would make a good partner to start her next family.
Getting to know songs of birds is helpful to identify the presence of birds that are not easily seen, such as the Bullfinch, and to identify birds that look alike. For example, the Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler look similar (apart from different coloured legs), but they sound very different indeed.
Keith closed by updating us on the Peregrines nesting on Winchester Cathedral. Live streaming on the nest activities is viewed by many people around the world. The link is: https://www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk/explore/peregrines/.          Alan D

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How do butterflies survive the winter?

When the weather turns cold, you may wonder what happens to these insects. Winter poses a problem for butterflies as they cannot get warm enough to become active.  They enter a dormant phase either as an egg, larva, pupa or adult insect, dependent upon species.  This isn’t simply a random choice but is a way of ensuring that the insect’s awakening the following year corresponds with the peak availability of its main food source.  Amazingly the Painted Lady avoids winter conditions completely by migrating long distances to regions in North Africa and the Middle East.

Eggs, larvae and pupae tend to be hidden away, though you may find Large White pupae attached to the walls of your house.  Those species that overwinter as dormant adults include Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Comma.  The Red Admiral, which has become a common sight in British winters of late, doesn’t enter a proper dormancy but can become active on any suitable sunny days.

The Comma has its name written on the underside in the only white marking, which resembles a comma. When resting with wings closed this butterfly has excellent camouflage, the jagged outline of the wings giving the appearance of a withered leaf, making the butterfly inconspicuous when resting on a tree trunk or when dormant in winter.

The sea urchin-shaped eggs of the Brown Hairstreak are laid singly on the bark of blackthorn, typically on one- or two-year old growth that is in a sheltered area exposed to the sun.  Within the 1mm pin-head sized egg, the larva partially develops before entering hibernation for the winter.  Overwintering eggs are particularly vulnerable to hedge-trimming since they are laid on the youngest growth of the foodplant.

The Orange Tip pupa (or chrysalis) is formed on an upright plant stem that provides a suitable overwintering site, attached by a silk thread girdle.  Green when first formed, the pupa turns light brown to more-closely match its surroundings.  Several crucifers are used as foodplants, especially Cuckooflower in damp meadows and Garlic Mustard along road verges.  It also lays its eggs on Honesty and Sweet Rocket in gardens. The chrysalis will not survive winter if the plant stems are cut down before the adult butterfly emerges in spring.  Leaving part of your garden naturally unkempt helps to benefit other wildlife aswell.

Barry C.

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