‘Hampshire -Nature in Trust’ talk 20th Nov 2020

Join us on zoom for an entertaining talk by Mike Read, a freelance nature photographer specialising in birds, flowers, mammals and other wildlife as well as landscapes.  Living near the New Forest, he visited one Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust reserve each month through the year to capture the scenery and wildlife of each reserve.  The wide spread of locations produced a broad variety of habitats and showcases the great work that the HIWWT is doing.

Much wildlife features in this talk, from birds to butterflies, flowers to fungi and mammals to mites and it is delivered alongside Mike’s entertaining commentary. All welcome to attend this virtual meeting on Friday 20th November 2020 at 7.30pm.

Note: The zoom invitation will be emailed beforehand to members and to those on our mailing list. Anyone who would like to join the meeting can request an invitation.

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ACAN talk Protecting the River Wey in Alton, 4th Nov 2020

Talk organised by Alton Climate Action and Network (ACAN) on Wednesday 4 November 7.30 pm. Information below is copied from their website.

PROTECTING THE RIVER WEY IN ALTON: TALK AND DISCUSSION BY GLEN SKELTON, SURREY WILDLIFE TRUST

Zoom event – email altonclimatenetwork@gmail.com for the link.

Glen Skelton is the Wetland Landscapes Officer at Surrey Wildlife Trust. For the past 7 years he has been supporting local communities and groups across the River Wey catchment to monitor the health of their local river and apply practical measures to restore degraded stretches. In this talk he will look in detail at the River Wey as it runs through Alton, why this is a particularly important stretch of river and highlight some of the issues and opportunities for restoring our river to something we can be proud of.

Spring-fed rivers like the Wey in Alton are seriously threatened by climate change. Glen will suggest what we all can all do to protect this magnificent resource.

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Planned tree plantings on Froyle Rec Nov 2020

Several trees have died in recent years leaving gaps on the eastern edge of Froyle recreation ground (see photo) that could be filled. The tree species planned are Wild Cherry, Whitebeam and Rowan, these would be purchased from British grown stock. Planting by volunteers would then be done November 2020 at the earliest. Information about these tree species can be found in the proposal approved by Froyle Parish Council.

Small young trees will transplant better and after several years will outperform large planted trees. So this will not be an instant effect project but one that should benefit wildlife in the future as well as adding interest for people. Native trees provide food and shelter for local wildlife and give seasonal interest throughout the year. From cascades of blossom in spring to a blaze of autumn leaf colour and fruits.

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AGM and talk ‘Birds of the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica’ 15th Oct 2020

We welcome Keith Betton to tell us about the ‘Birds of the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica’ on Thursday 15th October 2020. As a Farnham resident, and Hampshire County Bird Recorder, Keith  is a keen world birder and has visited the Antarctic oceans three times. In this talk he takes us through some of the amazing birds that you can see, and he will explain how the wildlife of these areas fits together in a very challenging environment. All welcome to join this virtual meeting via Zoom, AGM starts at 7pm, talk starts 7.30pm, free for members, £3 non-members.

Note:- In view of Covid-19 restrictions we will be holding a virtual meeting. 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.

See link to .pdf  Froyle Wildlife Trustees’ Report.

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‘Drop-in’ at wildlife pond, Froyle 11th July 2020

Call in anytime between 10am and 4pm on Saturday 11th July to visit the wildlife pond and meadow, near Gid Lane, Upper Froyle (see location map).  There should be plenty to see especially if it’s a sunny day. Please ensure social distancing during your visit to keep the recommended 2m apart. Note change of date from 4th (poor weather forecast) to 11th July when it should be drier and warmer.

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, rough hawkbit, self heal, purple loosestrife, water figwort and bird’s-foot trefoil. Last year six species of dragonfly and ten species of butterfly were noted during the one ‘drop-in’ day. No need to book, just pop in and see what you can spot.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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