On Wednesday, Ian found a dead hedgehog:

“Returning to the car park, towards the bottom of Simpson’s Field, I came across a dead hedgehog. It had been eviscerated, so most likely was killed and eaten by a badger. This is the first evidence of hedgehogs in the reserve since 2014.”

Here is a link to a recent post about the complicated relationship between hedgehogs and badgers.

Dog rose

Our hedges are full of dog roses. They are fragile, fragrant and short lived so come and visit them while the show lasts.

The header image is by Clive Knight.

Another new species

An ashy mining bee (Andrena cineraria) seen yesterday in the reserve, and photographed by Clive Knight. This is a female with two distinct bands of grey hairs across her thorax and a black, shiny abdomen.

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Pink hawthorn

Every year, sometime in May, somewhere in the reserve, there is pink hawthorn blossom; not uniformly pink and not always in the same hedge as was pink last year but definitely pink in places. It’s very pretty but we don’t know what causes it.

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Common vetch

Our common vetch (Vicia sativa) is just coming into flower. It’s a scrambling plant and you’ll find it among tall grasses, holding itself upright with the tendrils that grow from the tip of its leaf stalks.

Is a hibernating bat safe?

Underground bat hibernation sites, called hibernacula, can attract predators. Finding signs of predation among the bats overwintering in twelve World War II bunkers in Zuid-Holland in The Netherlands, researchers set up trail cameras to identify the culprits.

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Data collected by researchers from Lund University in Sweden show that common swifts spend almost their entire 10 month non-breeding period in continuous flight. Nearly all of the swifts returning to nest sites in and around Trowbridge this summer from their winter home in sub-Saharan Africa will have been in flight non-stop since they left us last year.

Whirligig beetles

Whirligig beetles are actually a whole family of water beetles called Gyrinidae, almost 700 different species globally, most of them very much alike and extremely difficult to tell apart. We have no idea what particular species live in the pond upstream of the wooden bridge but all the Gyrinidae share some fascinating features.

Read on for details and a short video

This is black sedge (Carex nigra), also known as common sedge. It grows along the Lambrok tributary either in the shallow water or on the bank and there is a bed of it in the woods just past the wooden bridge. We think there must be a spring there because the ground is always waterlogged, making it perfect for black sedge, which likes to keep its feet wet.

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A coal tit: Periparus ater.

Coal tits are small passerines, very similar in appearance to their close relatives, great tits, bluetits and marsh tits, also resident in the reserve. Coal tits have a distinctive white patch on the nape of their neck and a longer bill than most other Paridae.

A pair has been seen near the main entrance. Hopefully they are raising a nestful of chicks in a hole in one of the big oak trees at that end of the reserve.


Up in the heritage orchard, near the allotments, Ian Bushell has found two new species of bug for our lists: a hairy shieldbug (Dolycoris baccarum) and a cabbage shieldbug (Eurydema oleracea).

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Three butterflies photographed in the reserve this weekend: a female orange tip by Sarah Gould, a speckled wood sent in by Clive Knight and the header picture, a peacock by Mike.

We love to get your photographs of the reserve, please send them in to friendsofscp@outlook.com. If you are using a camera phone, make sure that the pictures are not automatically reduced in size when you share them; we need all the pixels we can get.


Grasses are flowering plants; they have all the same bits and pieces as a buttercup or a dandelion. The difference is that they are wind pollinated so they have not adapted their structure to meet the needs of insect pollinators; they have no scent, no nectaries, no colours or ultra-violet sign posts and no petals to make landing platforms.

Continue reading “Grasses”

Hawthorn blossom

The reserve’s hawthorns are in bloom and well worth a visit.

Header image taken in the reserve by Ian Bushell

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