Bluetit factoid

Most birds can’t create pigments, other than melanin, on their own. This bluetit, high in the park’s canopy, can’t produce the pigment, carotene, that makes his tummy yellow; it comes from pigments in the green caterpillars he eats. The more caterpillars he eats and the brighter his tummy, the more likely he is to attract a mate.

Header picture by DKG; others CC0 from pixabay


Wood ear

Auricularia auricula-judae is one of the few fungi that produces fruiting bodies all year round. Winter hardly seems to trouble it and we found these specimens in the strip of wood between Lambrok Meadow and Kestrel Field, in the second week of January with the early sunshine just beginning to melt the frost that had covered them overnight.

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Who does this. . .

Who does this? Who wraps their dog’s faeces up in a green plastic bag and then throws it into the trees next to the path alongside Lambrok Meadow? There are bins specifically for dogs’ faeces at each end of that stretch of path and a bin for general rubbish somewhere in the middle.

What do they think will happen to their dangling green bag of poop? Who do they think clears it up? The Friends of SCP clear it up; that’s who.

We should be braver; all of us should be brave enough to say something when we see fellow park users do stuff like this. We should be polite and non-confrontational and, for the sake of the park, we should ask people to clean up properly after their dogs.


The Park’s Old Oaks

By Ian Bushell.

Southwick Country Park has a number of veteran oaks and one identified ancient oak, but what is a veteran or ancient oak? There are no hard and fast rules; in different environments and soils oaks grow at different rates. Here the underlying Oxford clay provides an excellent medium and the trees are large. One criterion for assessing veteran trees is those with a girth of 3.2 m are considered of potential interest, and those with a girth of 4.7 m as being valuable in terms of conservation.

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The whole thing

 “It is that range of biodiversity that we must care for – the whole thing – rather than just one or two stars.”   David Attenborough

Our park doesn’t have snow leopards or white rhinos. Our rarities are small and fragile: water voles, pondweeds, dragonflies zipping past so suddenly they make you jump, a visiting marsh tit, a linnet singing in the trees, little bottom-feeding fish. Then there are the hundreds of flowering plants, thousands of invertebrates and probably tens of thousands of species of fungi hidden away where we can’t see them.

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Fact of the week

Swan mussels have growth rings on their shells, inside and out, and you can tell a mussel’s age by counting the rings, just like counting the growth rings in a tree trunk.

Contacting the police

We have asked the police to help us to reduce vandalism in the park in 2019. PCSO Melissa Glover and Community Policing Team 5 are collecting intelligence. If you have information that you think will help or see anything in the park that you know shouldn’t be happening , please contact her or her team. The contact details are below:

Thank you.

Habitat fragmentation

Conservation is full of jargon, full of words and phrases that sound good, as if you really did know what you were talking about know. We all do it and we do it to save ourselves the trouble of finding out stuff.

FoSCP is going to begin 2019 with some eco-definitions. We’ll start here with habitat fragmentation, a serious problem for British wildlife in its intensely farmed and increasingly built-up environment, a particular problem for the park’s Odonata and water voles.

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More about migration

Our willow warblers are among the park’s smallest birds; at 8.7 grams, they are only half the size of a robin. Their migration route, though, is the longest of any of the park’s birds: over 8,000km all the way to sub-Saharan Africa, an astonishing feat of endurance, and in April they will come all the way back to the park.

Willow warbler migration

by keithwlarson (CC BY-SA 3.0)


Another migrator from the spring of 2018:
The Chiffchaffs are back

Winter song

Many of our little songbirds abandon their territories in the winter and flock, sometimes in large numbers; but not the robin. Robins stick to and defend their territories right through the winter and their winter song is part of that defence.

Singing in winter is a high risk strategy. It uses a lot of energy when food resources are low but hanging on to a good territory right through the winter gives a robin an advantage in the spring when the breeding season begins. His winter song is shorter, quieter and altogther smaller than it will be come the spring.

Header photograph by Suzanne Humphries

Church Lane site

The deadline for comments on RPS’s planning application 18/10035/OUT has been extended from the 14th to the 21st of December. The application had not been properly advertised at the beginning of the consultation period.

FoSCP feels strongly that development on this site will damage Lambrok Stream. There are protected and vulnerable species in  the park that live or breed or feed in the Lambrok. If you feel the same way, please comment on Wiltshire Council’s planning website.


Another Church Lane planning submission
Have your say

Car Park Super Heroes

Joan and Patrick Jones are the chairman and treasurer of the Friends of Southwick Park. They emailed us:

To all of the Country Park Team and all the wonderful extra helpers.

Joan and I would just like to extend our very biggest thanks to all concerned for the marvellous work that you performed on Sunday. We pulled in to the Country Parkon our way back today and were astounded by the amount and quality of the work you had done. Talk about “Dog poo fairies,” we reckon it was the action of “CAR PARK SUPER HEROES”.

Thank you all so much and we promise to be with you in March. See you Wednesday.

Kindest regards


Joan and Patrick

Text and Voicemail

FoSCP now has a phone number for text and voicemail.

0774708798

Use it to report litter, things broken or damaged, and abandoned or dumped; the phone will be checked daily by one of our volunteers.

Continue to report antisocial behaviour to the police; their contact details are in the menu.

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