Collared doves (Streptopeliadecaocto) bred in Britain forthe first time in 1955, in Norfolk. Within 20 years they had colonised every county in the British Isles, and had even reached Shetland and the Outer Hebrides.Continue reading “Eurasian collared dove”
Our web host, in its geeky wisdom, has updated us with a new editing suite, parts of which are still under development. Please bear with us; everything is taking twice as long as usual but we have been assured that the result will be worth it.
Lisa Burge’s photograph of a jay in flight prompted some research; we wondered how many jays our park could support.
Tomorrow is the second Wednesday of the month: a work party day. Come and join us; we meet at 9.30am in the main car park and we work until midday. Bring thornproof gloves, sturdy footwear and a coffee mug. Looking forward to meeting you.
We need to take carbon out of our atmosphere and hide it where it can’t contribute, as carbon dioxide, to global warming; the process is called carbon capture and sequestration. Above is the power industry’s solution to the problem; click on the link for FoSCP’s solution:
Simon Handley has reported a brown and white magpie in the park, at the top of the Arboretum; this is a rare genetic fault called leucism. Please don’t forget your camera next time you visit; we would love a photograph of it.
The Wildlife Wheel has been there, in the corner of Sheepfield, for almost twenty years. It has aged in those years, changed colour, split and grown a fascinating crop of lichens.
Kingfishers come to the park regularly. Many people associate them with rivers and are surprised to see them here, fishing in our little streams.
Today, FoSCP submitted the report of their objections to the Schedule of Changes to the Wiltshire Housing Site Allocation plan. The plan proposes that land at Church Lane, Upper Studley and Southwick Court should be made available for development; we believe that development at these sites will damage the ecology of Lambrok Stream and subsequently the ecology of the park.
A Brief Description by DKG
Click here to read more:
A tree creeper (Certhia familiaris) photographed in the park on Friday by DKG. Read on:
DKG’s regular report on Tuesday’s work party:
Tomorrow (Tuesday 30th October) is a regular work party day. Please come and join us; we meet in the car park at 9.30am and work until midday with a pause for coffee; there will be biscuits.
You will need sturdy footwear and thorn proof-gloves; the tools will be provided. The Met Office says it will be very cold.
This is fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) found, rather unusually, under a goat willow in the park; birch and pine are its preferred partners.
The Lone Oak is showing its age; it has dead and dying branches and parts of the trunk are being hollowed out by fungus. We have decided that it should be allowed to get on with being several hundred years old, providing habitat for a whole new spectrum of species; we are not going to interfere. Instead, we have fenced around the tree to keep our park users safe.
The alternative would be to chop bits of it off, in order to protect the picnicking public from falling branches. This summer it became quite the thing to picnic under the Lone Oak, a tribute to its elder status.
The tree will live a long time yet; the fence will mellow, warp, acquire its own little ecology, rot away and be replaced long before the tree is done. An ageing oak tree is a wonderful resource of nesting holes, rotting wood for beetle larvae and a hundred species of fungi, a prop for climbing plants, a garden of mosses and ferns.
With luck, the Lone Oak will stand in Cornfield for centuries to come.
Pictures by DKG
There are three kinds of pigment in a usually green leaf: carotenes which are yellow, red and pink anthocyanins, and chlorophyll, which is the green that masks the other colours until autumn.
Simon and Sarah Handley have sent in pictures of some of the many beautiful fungi in the park this month.
The park’s ivy flowers between September and November; each plant’s flowering season is quite short but a succession of plants flowers all through the autumn. The flowers are small, green and yellow, and so insignificant-looking that many people don’t realise that that they are flowers at all.
In the world of invertebrates, black and yellow signals danger. It says to predators: I am poisonous or I will bite you. Read on to discover more:
Words and pictures by DKG:
Apologies, for not getting these photos posted earlier. It was not only Ian having a senior moment on Wednesday (Ian forgot the work party; turned up late. Ed.) for some reason my camera was not set up correctly when taking photos that day. I have had to delete several as they were not suitably exposed. There were other errors, even though they seemed ok when I looked at them after shooting. I have managed to improve these to some extent in Photoshop to make a reasonable photos.
Click here to see the results:
The scientific name for the seven spot ladybird is Coccinella septempunctata; if you had the right wand, a spell like that would put red spots on anything.
Giant swarms of cannibalistic Harlequin ladybirds riddled with an STI are invading British homes: this is a headline in the Mail Online this week. No wonder our relationship with our environment is deteriorating when the country’s most-read news outlet uses such inflammatory language to describe a natural phenomenon. Swarm, cannibalistic, riddled, sexually transmitted infection, invade: could they have squeezed any more knee-jerk melodrama into a single sentence?
A message from Ian:
May be of interest to you: Jerusalem Artichoke, Helianthus tuberosus, identified by Lindsay Moore [County Recorder Flora]. Ali and I found it along the stream near the bridge at the bottom of the Blackthorn Tunnel. I’ve added it to the Census. Unusual, probably from some bird dropping seed.
An October sunrise photographed by DKG on Wednesday morning.
With every new post, we get an immediate and mysterious visitor from the USA. It could be a bot in Silicon Valley, crawling through our site, mining our data for Google’s next attempt at world domination; it could be the NSA checking the FoSCP for terrorist leanings or the US Forest Service looking for eco-tips.
We would like it to be a West Wilts exile, homesick for the Southwick of the 60s, or the grandchild of a Wiltshire girl who left the village after WW2 as a GI bride.
We know it is probably our service host checking us out but if it isn’t and you know who our faithful American visitor is, or you are that American visitor, please get in touch. We would love to hear from you; there is a comment box below, a contact form and an email address in the main menu.
Seed dispersal is an annual problem for a lot of trees and shrubs. If seeds just fell down and germinated under the parent tree, they would compete with the parent for nutrition, water and eventually light. Trees need a way to send their seeds away to a new environment where their germination will not pose a threat. Read on: