The Government has decided to allow the emergency use of the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam on sugar beet in England in 2021, despite objections from conservationists. The decision, in response to pressure from England’s farmers, will permit the treatment of sugar beet seed to combat beet yellows virus, which is spread by multiple species of aphids.Continue reading “Neonicotinoids”
Every year redwings are among the park’s winter visitors; we are their winter migration’s destination.Continue reading
Over the years, we have seen just the faintest of signs that there are dormice somewhere in the park. We have worked to make the hazel copses in Cornfield and Simpson’s Field good dormouse habitat and every year we hope to add them to our species list. At this time of year they will be deep in hibernation.Continue reading “Dormouse hibernation”
There are 2,300 species associated with oak, 320 of which are found only on oaks. Here is a gallery of wildlife photographed in the park’s oaks.
Header picture: Oak Bridge by DKG
by Simon Knight
Along with everything else going on in the world, I was beginning to find the recent dull weather slightly depressing. I have also found it frustrating from a photography point of view, as I only like to take pictures in good light, and you don’t get good light without the sun! The recent dullness has been especially frustrating as I have had a new lens to test which needs good light for me to be able to get the best out of it.Continue reading
A squirrel factoid
Grey squirrels can’t hibernate; their metabolism won’t let them put on enough weight to sleep through the winter.Continue reading
There is a family of Eurasian wrens (Troglodytes troglodytes) sharing a winter territory in the copse to the north east of the big pond. Have you seen them?Continue reading
The park’s twelve drummers drumming are great spotted woodpeckers. They begin drumming at the end of winter as part of a courtship ritual in which the male marks out his territory and advertises his presence by drumming his beak against hollow wood 10 to 20 times in just 2 seconds, and the females replies briefly as she enters his territory.
Here is a video:
Video recorded in March 2019 by George Ewart
…eleven pipers piping
Honey bees make a sound that apiarists call piping.Continue reading “On the eleventh day…”
On the seventh day of Christmas
my true love sent to me seven swans a-swimming.
Mute swans (Cygnus olor) come to the park to graze, not to swim or raise chicks. They break their long journey to some faraway lake or river, to rest and eat in the park’s green fields. We are a swan service station.
… a review of 2020’s species list
by Ian BushellContinue reading “On the sixth day of Christmas”
Not calling birds, according to the experts, but colly birds. Colly is an old word for soot or coal dust and a colly bird is a blackbird. We have tuneful blackbirds by the dozen in the park.
Audio by Beatrix Saadi-Varchmin (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) xeno-canto.org
my true love sent to me:
…unfortunately, we have no French hens. In fact we don’t even know what French hens are and, try as we might, we can’t find out. The top two theories suggest that they were either fashionable domestic poultry in 1780, when the song was first published, or an allegorical representation of the Holy Trinity.Continue reading “On the third day of Christmas”
my true love sent to me…
…two turtle doves. We have collared doves and woodpigeons by the dozen but no turtle doves. Sorry.Continue reading “On the second day of Christmas”
my true love sent to me
a partridge in a pear tree. The park’s partridges are Perdix perdix, the grey partridge, not the pretty little North American plumed partridge, Perdix plumifera, sitting in our Christmas card’s pear tree. Neither does the park actually have any pear trees: cherries, plums, sloes, apples and pedants aplenty but no pears at all. Nevertheless…
Christmas greetings from the Friends of Southwick Country Park.
Not a partridge in a pear tree…
but a wood pigeon in a willow tree.
A wood pigeon in a willow tree, fluffed up against the cold of Wednesday’s bright, frosty morning.
Some of our residents are really quite hard to see. Here are some of DKG’s pictures of the well-camouflaged.
Header picture: public domain.
Here’s a clever carrion crow (Corvus corone) bringing a piece of dried bread, from a bird table somewhere in Studley Green, to soak it in our pond until it is soft enough to eat.
Since our report that there are tawny owls in the park, we have had several more from park-going night owls and early risers. Here are some tawny owl facts:click here for tawny owl facts
Fieldfare (Turdus pilarus) and redwing (Turdus musicus), migratory thrushes from mainland Europe, are common winter visitors to the park. They are easily confused; here is a video to help you distinguish the two species.
Header picture: Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris) by Teresa Reynolds (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Three well camouflaged roe deer in the Church Lane fields, photographed yesterday: a doe and her kids. Typically, a pair of roe kids is one of each sex, and here, the male is in the middle of the group; you can just see the buttons covering the pedicles, the places from which his antlers will grow.Continue reading “Church Lane fields”
Here’s an interesting thing:
among mammals, otters have the thickest fur. In every square inch of a Eurasian otter’s skin, there are around half a million hairs. For comparison: the average dog has 15,000 hairs per square inch and the average human, only 1,000.
Thanks to Sarah Gould for reminding us that the tawny owl’s classic tu-whit tu-whoo noise is, in fact, made by two birds in conversation.Click for audio
The Winter moth (Operophtera brumata) is one of the few moth species that can cope with winter’s freezing temperatures in its adult stage. They are endothermic which means that they can produce heat internally by biochemical processes, just as warm-blooded creatures do.Continue reading “Winter moths”