Wood pigeon

Wood pigeons (Columba palumbus) are our largest and most common pigeon. Gregarious, very adaptable and given to flocking in enormous numbers at this time of year, they are an everyday sight in British towns and countryside.

In towns they seem unafraid but in the park they are shy and wary. Often the first indication that they are there at all is the loud clattering and clapping of their wings as they take off and fly away. Their call is the lovely, familiar background noise of spring and summer.


Water Voles

 There are three species of vole in Britain: the short-tailed or field vole, the bank vole and the water vole, which is the largest of the three and by far the rarest. Water voles (Arvicola amphibius) have experienced one of the most rapid and serious declines of any British wild mammal ever…

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Protecting the Lambrok

In May of 2017, water voles (Arvicola amphibius) were identified by Wiltshire’s Countryside Team as resident in Lambrok Stream. Water voles are fully protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. They are protected against:

. . .intentional killing, capture or injury and intentional or reckless disturbance, obstruction, damage or destruction of their burrows.

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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.

Ivy flowers

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.

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Fact of the week

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?
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Crane Flies

There are hundreds of species of crane fly in this country and almost all of them go by the name of daddy long legs. The differences between species can be microscopically small but we think this specimen is either a common European crane fly (Tipula paludosa) or a marsh crane fly, (T. oleracea).

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One for sorrow, two for joy…

There are several families of magpies in the park. This year’s crop are, as yet, short-tailed, loud- mouthed and clumsy, hanging out in gangs and still learning to fly properly. But, despite their dramatic black and white beauty, their reputation is poor.

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Acorns

Oak trees produce thousands of acorns every year. Somebody has worked out that an oak tree can produce ten million acorns over its lifetime. In a good year, they carpet the ground under the tree.

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Roe deer

A roe deer doe, early on Sunday morning, photographed by DKG who said:

“A lovely morning in the park this Sunday. A few photos taken of three Roe Deer  spotted near the footpath leading from Studley Green; unable to get closer just in case I spooked them.”

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Wasps

By this end of the summer, the workers in a wasp nest will probably have finished raising and feeding the new queen larvae. The larvae have spun caps over their cells and begun the process of pupation. This indicates a change for the nest.

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Red tailed bumblebee

Twelve year old photographer, Neave Duggan, has sent us pictures taken in the park of a male red tailed bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius) feeding on creeping thistle flowers.

.o.

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We apologise for wrongly identifying this little bird. We thought it was a blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) but our expert has identified it as a marsh tit (Poecile palustris). This is the first sighting of a marsh tit in the park: a new name for our species lists.

Read on for more about the marsh tit

Dot Moth

A dot moth (Melanchra persicariae) caterpillar on a spindle tree, seen and photographed by DKG while the FoSCP volunteers cleared the undergrowth around the young trees at the top of Sheep Field. Spindle is not recorded as one of this caterpillar’s food plants, but sallow is, and hazel, nettles, docks and several other species growing in that plantation and its understorey.

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