Email from Clive: This plant has been slowly developing, it’s about a metre high now. My app says Wild Carrot but we all know it’s is not reliable so over to you. If you need more pics let me know.
FoSCP/NR: I am inclined to agree with your app, Clive. It looks like wild carrot (Daucus carota). If it has a single red flower (see attachment 1) right in the middle of the flower head, that’s definitive; not all wild carrot has it but if it’s there, it’s wild carrot. And it should smell like carrot; rub the lower leaves between your fingers.
The seed heads of wild carrot are very distinctive (see attachment 2): the rays of the flower turn inwards and make a basket shape. Tell Ian: it’s not on the species lists.
Message from Jude: Hi, wondered if you guys can help. ALL the small birds who used my feeders in Lambrok Close every day, all day, have completely stopped. Have you any idea why? Cheers.
FoSCP/NR: There are sparrowhawks in the reserve; if they have taken a couple of birds off your table, the rest may be reluctant to visit. Have a look at the chimneys and aerials; is there a sparrowhawk up there? Or perhaps birds with young in their nests might not be feeding their nestlings with the sort of stuff they find on a bird table. Try meal worms or something other than seed
Message from Julie: What is this? Are they marsh orchids?
FoSCP/NR: This is hedge stachys (Stachys sylvatica) It’s a recent find in the reserve, added to our lists in 2019, but it’s quite common in Wiltshire. It likes field margins and road verges. It’s flowers are SO beautiful.
Julie: They really are lovely. Thank you very much.
Mail from Kirsty: Hi, do we have to book and are dogs allowed to go swimming? Thanks.
FoSCP/NR: No, you don’t have to book; the reserve is open 24/7 all year round. We are a nature reserve and we try to discourage dogs from swimming in our ponds. A lot of people confuse the reserve with Hope Nature Centre, where you DO need to book and dogs are not allowed at all.
More from Jude: Hi, my son thinks that he just saw a red kite, we live on the Trowbridge side of the Country Park. Do you know if there have been any other sightings? Cheers.
FoSCP/NR: Yes. Lots of sightings of a pair of red kites this year hunting over the reserve. Tell your son to keep watch because if there is a nest anywhere around, we would really, really like to know.
Jude: Cool, yes will do.
I highlighted the sightings of Red Kites around Southwick in a post on the Historic Southwick site. I received so much information and great videos of sightings all around Southwick and neighbouring villages! I’m sure some included information of pairs nesting in the area.
PS. Also included is a reply I received from the British Trust for Ornithology regarding Red Kites in Wiltshire.
Is there a nest site near the reserve? In March, there was a pair doing their courtship dance over the fields in the western end of the park and we think their territory must include us. It would be good to know where they nested, particularly as red kite pairs return to the same nest site year after year.
I have put a message on the Historic Southwick site to ask about nest sites
Thank you Barbara. Keep us informed, please.