Pond dipping Froyle 29th July 2018

Family fun –join us for a 1h dipping session on Sunday 29th July to see what underwater creatures we can find in the 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 thrived in 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.

The wildflower meadow surrounding the pond will be in flower attracting butterflies and other insects. Explore the paths to see what you can spot.

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‘Drop-in’ at wildlife pond, Froyle 1st July 2018

On Sunday 1st July 10-12am & 2-4pm call in to visit the wildlife pond and meadow, near Gid Lane, Froyle. There will be plenty to see especially if it’s a sunny day, so do come along and see what’s flying and flowering.  Members of Froyle Wildlife will be on hand to assist with identification of dragonflies, butterflies and wildflowers.

Last year we recorded 22 butterfly species, 13 dragonfly species and over 80 flowering plants at ‘Froyle Park Pond’, see species list 2017.

The pond area is open at all times to members of Froyle Wildlife and can also be seen from the adjacent public footpath. This project was funded by developer contributions through East Hampshire District Council and completed with the kind permission of Froyle Park Ltd.

Conditions of our access licence include visitors using only the stile for entry/exit (see plan) and no fires, BBQs or picnics. 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.

 

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Wild Orchids of Hampshire talk 15th May 2018

Bee Orchid

On Tuesday 15th May 7.30pm, we welcome Rosemary Webb -wild orchid expert and top photographer as our speaker. We’ll find out about some of the 30+ species of orchid found in Hampshire over a variety of habitats that include chalk grassland, heathland, marshland and woodland.  Come along and be enthused to seek out some of these beauties for yourself.

All welcome, teas and coffees, entrance £2 members of Froyle Wildlife, £3 non members. Doors open 7pm for talk to start at 7.30pm.

Several orchid species including white helleborine and bee orchid have been recorded in Froyle, along with other wild flowers (see list of species)

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Hampshire’s Amphibians and Reptiles talk 19th April 2018

Do join us for a talk about ‘Hampshire’s Amphibians and Reptiles’ by John Buckley at Froyle Village Hall on Thursday 19th April 7.30pm. John is a dedicated conservationist of our native amphibians and reptiles. Find out how to identify our frogs, toads, newts, snakes and lizards and the importance of suitable habitats.

All welcome, teas and coffees, entrance £2 members of Froyle Wildlife, £3 non members. Doors open 7pm for talk to start at 7.30pm.

A familiar visitor to Froyle, John advised us about the design of the wildlife pond near Gid Lane. Previously he also led our small mammal identification walk near Mill Farm, Isington. John is collating records for an Atlas on the distribution of Hampshire’s amphibians and reptiles which is due for publication in 2 years time.  John would really like us to help by sending in records of all species from those seen in our own gardens to those we encounter whilst out and about. Every record counts from the lone frog to a pond full!

There are free identification guides from ARC that can be downloaded as .pdfs for amphibians and reptiles. John co-authored ‘Amphibian Habitat Management Handbook‘ that can also be downloaded as a .pdf.

A handy form with instructions on how to record your sightings is here.

Note after the talk: We were encouraged to record sightings of these creatures (in our gardens or elsewhere in Hampshire) on ‘Living Record’. Alternatively records can be sent to Hampshire Wildlife Trust, thereby contributing towards an Atlas of Hampshire’s amphibians and reptiles to be published in 2020.  Data collected from such surveys inform conservationists which species are doing well and which are in decline and prompt further investigations.

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Discover British mammals talk 8th Mar 2018

Thursday 8th March – ‘My Family and 50 Other Animals’, illustrated talk – Froyle Village Hall – 7.30pm

We welcome Dominic Couzens, naturalist, trip leader and author of nearly 30 wildlife books. Dominic comes highly recommended and will tell us all about his family’s unusual quest; – to see as many species of British mammals as possible in a single year (no mean feat with a three and five year old in tow!)  Where did they go? What did they see? Do come along and find out and bring your friends to what promises to be an amusing and informative night out.

Doors open 30 minutes before the start of talk. Entrance fees: Members £2, non members £3, children under 16 free. Light refreshments, Raffle.

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Planned extension to wildflower area 2018

In Spring 2018 we plan to enlarge the wildflower area on Froyle recreation ground by sowing cornfield annuals.

Now all we need are volunteers to make it happen! Can you help on Saturday 24th February 2-4pm to roll up and remove turves? (The turf will have already have been cut by machine). If so please bring a garden spade and gloves, refreshments will be available. We will then cultivate the ground on Saturdays 17th March and 7th April at 2pm and again assistance would be appreciated. Update: The seed (Emorsgate EC2) was sown on 7th April after a total 40h of work by 9 different volunteers.

Previously in 2015 a 5x20m area of the recreation ground was stripped of turf and the ground cultivated to sow wildflower meadow seed mixture. In the following summer of 2016 cornfield annuals provided a magnificent display before the annual cut at end of July that allowed the perennials more space to grow. In late spring/summer 2017 the perennial wildflowers and meadow grasses all flowered well but were less colourful than the previous year. The end of July cut each year is essential to maintain the area as wildflower meadow. See photos at the link.

The plan is to cultivate a new 5x10m area and sow with cornfield annuals only. If sown before the end of April these should flower from July to September. This area would not be cut until the following year when the ground would again be cultivated in spring and sown with cornfield annuals. Volunteers from Froyle Wildlife would do this for 3 years to 2020 and then review with Froyle Parish Council. The area could then be grassed over again or continue as wildflowers.

An advantage of spring sown cornfield annuals is that they should flower at a different time of year to the perennial wildflower meadow area, lengthening the season to autumn. There should be a colourful display of cornfield annuals each year and more nectar for bees and other insects. The area will be lengthened in village hall direction and have a 2m wide grass strip between the cornfield annuals area and the perennial wildflower meadow area. The turf stripped from the new area will be put behind the existing stacks.

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Seabirds of Skokholm talk 9th Nov 2017

A talk about the Seabirds of Skokholm on Thursday 9th November at Froyle Village Hall.

The island of Skokholm off the south west coast of Wales is of international importance for its breeding seabirds including Manx shearwater, storm petrel and puffin. Local enthusiast Alan Wynde will entertain us with a talk entitled ‘Skokholm: Men, Goats and Birds, but mainly Birds’.

Starting at 7.30pm, doors open from 7pm, entrance fee £2 members £3 non members, all welcome.

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AGM and talk about Harvest Mice 19th Oct 2017

Join us for our brief AGM at 7pm followed by a talk entitled ‘The Harvest Mouse around Selborne –in search of an iconic farmland species’. There will also be a display showing some of the local wildlife seen in Froyle and an update of this year’s events.  All welcome and drinks and nibbles will be available during the evening.

Our interesting speaker Dr Francesca Pella aims to help the conservation of Harvest Mice, a species first described by Gilbert White.  Francesca will tell the story of how the Selborne Farm Cluster set about surveying for this tiny and seldom seen mammal (Europe’s smallest rodent) with only one official record in Hampshire in 1999 to go on.  Do come along and find out what happened next …

The talk will start at 7.30pm and Froyle Village Hall doors open from 6:30pm, entrance fee £2 members £3 non members, raffle, refreshments available.

 

Background about the talk: In 2014 the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) arranged an initial meeting in Selborne with a small group of key stakeholders, in order to discuss the creation of a farmer cluster. Soon this initiative incorporated other local stakeholders and the group was named the “Selborne Landscape Partnership”. The Harvest Mouse (Micromys minutus, Pallas 1771) Monitoring Initiative is one of the first outcomes of this partnership, which involves local farmers, the South Downs National Park, the GWCT, the Wildlife Trust, volunteers and others. Before the survey began, only one old record (1999) was known in the Hampshire records centre. Since 2014, 28 squares of the 91 square-km around Selborne have been surveyed and over 400 Harvest Mouse nests have been found.

The aim is to survey the majority of squares and to continue to collect habitat data that is suitable for publication and the creation of improved habitat management plans for the better conservation of the Harvest Mouse, which started its scientific beginnings with its first description by Gilbert White in Selborne.

The nests of Harvest Mouse have also been found in Froyle in November 2016 along grassy field margins between the hedgerow and crop.

Update after the talk: Zoologist Dr Francesca Pella gave an enthusiastic talk about her work on Harvest Mice in Selborne. First recorded by Gilbert White in 1767, the good news is that 11 local farmers around Selborne covering 10,000 acres are now working to improve habitats for key species including the harvest mouse.  The concern is that harvest mice numbers are declining nationally and the species is considered rare. Fortunately in the recent Selborne study over 400 nests were recorded in the two years 2014/5.

Their latin name is micromys minutus, or ‘smallest mouse’, which is apt as it is the smallest rodent in Europe, with a head and body length of 5-8cm and typically weighing 4-6g.  It is the only British mammal to have a prehensile tail able to grasp plant stems as they move through long vegetation. They have a reddish-brown coat, a white underside, short hairy ears and a much blunter nose than other mice. They are active day and night and they do not hibernate, but spend much of the Winter underground to keep warm and dry. Despite this Winter mortality is thought to be as high as 90%. Their life span is typically 6 months, the oldest having been recorded at 18 months.  Their range is about 400sq m and the adults are seldom seen.

Harvest mice appear to be residents of Froyle.  In a small survey last year 9 harvest mouse nests were found in one area, and 15 in another.  This does not necessarily suggest a sizeable population as a single mouse can create 4 or 5 ‘resting’ nests.

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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.

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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.

 

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