‘Farnham Heath, the story so far’ talk 30th April 2019

We welcome Mike Coates from the RSPB to tell us about the birds and wildlife of this restored heathland. Once a gloomy conifer plantation, 100 hectares have been transformed into a beautiful heathland with views across the Weald, abundant with wildlife that includes roe deer, crossbills, nightjars, woodcocks and tree pipits.

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

Over the past couple of centuries Surrey has lost almost 90% of its heathland. As the habitat vanished, so did the species dependent upon it. A key feature of heathland is poor acidic sandy soils and areas of bare ground. These are important for many species of reptile and invertebrates. At Farnham Heath reserve there are now breeding Dartford warblers, nightjars, woodlarks, tree pipits, silver studded blue and grayling butterflies. Some species have also been reintroduced such as the stunning sand lizard and chirping field cricket.

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‘Plight of the Bumblebee’ talk 22nd March 2019

On Friday 22nd March 7.30pm, we welcome Dr Nikki Gammans from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. We’ll find out about the three types of bees -solitary, honey and bumblebee their lifecycle and ecology, their decline and how we can help focusing on gardening through the seasons. Nikki will give an introduction to bumblebee identification and also include her work on, The short-haired bumblebee project.

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

Information summarised from Bumble Conservation Trust website:- Declines of bumblebee populations in the last century have occurred with large-scale changes to the way the countryside is managed. Bumblebees only feed on flowers and because of their colony-based lifestyle, need to have enough flowers available to sustain 40-400 sterile worker bees for the lifespan of the colony (potentially several months March-October) in order to produce the new reproductive individuals – males and queens – at the end of the colony lifecycle.

We can all help bumblebees by planting some bee-friendly plants in our gardens, to flower between March and September. As gardens cover over one million acres in the UK, this presents a great opportunity to provide food for bumblebees. By using these spaces more effectively, everyone can get involved in making the landscape friendlier to bumblebees, and help reverse the declines of the past century. Whether you have a window box, allotment or large garden, bee-friendly flowers can help boost your local bumblebee population. In return, they will dutifully pollinate our flowers, crops, fruits and vegetables.

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Froyle Wildlife photo competition 2019

What better way to connect with nature than to capture images of what you see.  So get out and about with your camera or phone to record what makes Froyle appealing to you. The competition is open to all.

Photographs must have been taken within the parish of Froyle and could include views, wildflowers, trees, animals or insects -whatever you enjoy about local nature. See previous entries and our photo galleries.

The winning photos will be displayed on the Froyle Wildlife website along with at least one photo from each person entering. Entries from under 14’s will be judged as a separate category.

Please submit up to 4 entries by 31st October 2019 either by email to info@froylewildlife.co.uk or at one of our walks and talks. Images should preferably be in landscape format sent as .jpg files or prints maximum 7”x5” size.

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Tribute to House Sparrows in Froyle

House Sparrows – On our north facing wall we have two house sparrow terraces each of which has 3 nest boxes and a neighbouring house has many suitable places under its eaves for nesting.  In January 2019 around 25 sparrows come down to feed on sunflower hearts and suet pellets thrown out or vie with goldfinches on the hanging seed feeders.  Being gregarious the sparrows gather in an old evergreen Lonicera nitida hedge intermingled with ivy just outside our back door, which every so often bursts into a cacophony of chirrups; every one of the sparrows seemingly has something to say.  What are they doing in there?  Squabbling for the best perch, chatting up prospective mates?  We don’t know but we do know how important that hedge is to these birds.  It’s not smart or modern but no matter, it is part of their habitat and provides safe dense cover and a good place to roost on cold nights and we wouldn’t be without it.

The House sparrow is a UK Bird of Conservation Concern and on the Red List.  The BTO reports that house sparrow populations in the UK have declined by nearly 71% since 1977.  There are 67 birds on the red list including grey partridge, lapwing, cuckoo, skylark, starling, song and mistle thrush, linnet, and yellowhammer.

National Nest Box Week; 14th -21st February 2019. Are you thinking of putting up a nest box?  If so the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) is the place to go for advice on what to look for when buying a box, where to place it and how to look after it.  There are also plans and instructions for making your own.  See www.bto.org/about-birds/nnbw for more information.

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AGM and talk about Wildlife near Farnham, Thursday 25th Oct 2018

Join us for our brief AGM at 7pm followed by a talk entitled ‘Surrey Safari –garden birds and local wildlife near Farnham.  Our entertaining speaker Geoff Lunn will begin with photographs of birds and other wildlife taken in the garden then move to the countryside near Farnham for the more wary animals and birds.  Non-members are welcome and drinks and nibbles will be available during the evening.

There will also be a display showing some of the flora and fauna seen in Froyle and a pictorial review of this year’s events.  The talk will start at 7.30pm and doors open at Froyle Village Hall from 6:30pm, entrance fee £2 members, £3 non members.

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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.

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Walk at Magdalen Hill Down 1st August 2018

Join us on Wednesday 1st August 2018 for a walk at Magdalen Hill Down near Winchester. Enjoy a leisurely amble (about 1 mile) over chalk downland that is managed by Butterfly Conservation.  We anticipate seeing wildflowers and butterflies including the Chalk Hill Blue which breed on Horseshoe Vetch.  Some of the paths are steep and uneven in a few places so sturdy footwear is recommended and close focus binoculars are handy. Meet 2pm at the small gravel car park on B3404 (Arlesford Road) SU511294.

Update after the walk: Guided by reserves manager Jayne Chapman we had lovely views from the steep, south-facing hillside. Ten species of butterfly were seen including Chalkhill Blue and Small Heath as well as 3 day flying moth species, a Wasp Spider and wonderful wildflowers such as Clustered Bellflower, Harebell, Common Rockrose, Horseshoe Vetch and Kidney Vetch.  Two species of Robberfly were photographed, the Downland Robberfly (a rare species) being new to the reserve.

Hornet Robberfly
Downland Robberfly has caught a Common Blue
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Pond dipping Froyle 26th August 2018

Update 25th August CANCELLED: The weather has beaten us again with a forecast of heavy rain.

Family fun –join us for a 1h dipping session on Sunday 26th August (postponned from 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 2pm or 3pm 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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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!

   

 

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