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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Bentley parish wildlife group 12th April 2019

Are you interested in wildlife and reconnecting with nature? Then come along to the Bentley Wildlife Launch Event on 7.30pm Friday 12th April at Bentley Memorial Hall. Come and hear illustrated talks on

  • The Story of Froyle Wildlife by Barry Clark

and

  • Wildlife Recording in Hampshire by Lizzy Peat from HBIC*

followed by Q & A session and discussion to take the Bentley Wildlife Group forward.

We need a logo! Bring your designs along and you decide which one should be the Bentley Wildlife logo! All entries will be recorded on our facebook group.

*Hampshire Biodiversity Information Centre

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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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‘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. Species to look out for include; knapweed, lady’s bedstraw, rough hawkbit, self heal, purple loosestrife, water figwort, bird’s-foot trefoil, emperor dragonfly, four-spotted chaser, azure damselfly, meadow brown.

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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Heathland walk at Broxhead Common 27th July 2018

Join us on Wednesday 27th July 2018 for a walk at Broxhead Common. Enjoy a leisurely stroll (about 1 mile) over this SSSI heathland to see Silver-studded Blue butterflies which breed on the heather. Specific to heathland habitat this rare butterfly is small so close focus binoculars are handy. Meet 2pm at the layby on B3004 (Broxhead Farm Road) SU803373. Parking is limited so share lifts from Froyle Village Hall leaving at 1.40pm if you wish. The weather forecast is sunny 25C, so you may need hat, sunscreen and water.

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