Walk at Old Winchester Hill 7th August 2019

Join us for an afternoon stroll 2pm on Wednesday 7th August 2019 at Old Winchester Hill, National Nature Reserve for flowers, views and butterflies. Most of our 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.

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‘Drop-in’ at wildlife pond, Froyle 7th July 2019

Call in between 10am and 4pm on Sunday 7th 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.

Members of Froyle Wildlife will be on hand to assist with identification of wildflowers, dragonflies’ and butterflies.  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 emperor and four-spotted chaser dragonflies and meadow brown, large skipper and marbled white butterflies amongst others were on the wing.  Do pop in and see what you can spot.

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Walk at Noar Hill SSSI 26th June 2019

Join us for a walk on Wednesday 26th June 10am at Noar Hill SSSI when we hope to see at least 4 species of wild orchid.  This 20 hectare nature reserve, managed by Hampshire Wildlife Trust, was originally formed by medieval chalk workings.  Over hundreds of years the mounds and hollows were colonised by a great variety of beautiful chalk downland flowers now rare in the wider countryside.  Many species enjoy the micro climates amongst the undulations with over 30 butterfly species recorded.

Meet there 10am or preferably share lifts from Froyle Village Hall leaving at 9.30am. as there is very limited roadside parking, OS grid reference SU737321 near Charity Farm.

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Woodland coppice walk 27th April 2019

Join Mark Howard, hurdle maker for a Spring walk through Coppice Woodland near Crondall on Saturday 27th April at 4.30pm. Appreciate the benefits of traditional woodland management and hedge laying to wildlife. Please let us know if you plan to come along (by email to info@froylewildlife.co.uk) so that we have an idea of numbers.

Meet at SU785483 (see map) T-junction on the Well Rd at Jonathan Kilns Cottages to look at some hedge laying first then on to the wood. As parking is limited, please share lifts if possible from Froyle Village Hall leaving at 4.15pm sharp.

Mark says that he set out with a simple philosophy 25 years ago; to supply sustainable woodland products from local ancient woods, which, although they had probably been managed by man for at least two thousand years, had sadly been neglected previously. Based on a traditional management practice called coppicing, which relies on the ability of many tree species, after being cut, to produce new shoots, these rods or poles are harvested after a number of years and the cycle begins again. This management over the centuries has created a unique ecology for a diverse range of species such as our much-loved bluebell, nightingales and fritillary butterflies.

Update after the walk: We braved the end of Storm Hannah for a fascinating and entertaining afternoon, some photos taken on the day are shown below.

 

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‘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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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 30th September 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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‘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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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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