Double flowers

If you are planting your flower beds and hanging baskets this weekend, keep our dwindling population of pollinators in mind and please don’t plant double flowers.

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The Cycle of Life Continues!

by Simon Knight

After my amazing weasel encounter, which showed the daily fight for survival that happens within the park, and to which many people are oblivious; I was fortunate to witness the opposite of the weasel encounter – this time life being created. 

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A gallery of squirrels

We know they are an invasive alien species that inflicts terrible damage on our trees every year – but they are also much loved, long term park residents.

Header picture by Simon Knight

Park nightlife

Wildlife photographer Simon Knight has been sneaking up on our badgers. Click the green button for a little peek into the park’s nightlife.

Header picture: badgers at a bird feeder in Lambrok Close: by Jude Summers

A hunter in the trees

by Simon Knight

My walk in the park was short and definitely sweet last Sunday morning. My first sighting was of a sparrow hawk.

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Buff tailed bumblebees

The aerodynamically unlikely buff tailed bumble bee queens are out of hibernation and, buzzing around between the park’s spring flowers. Here is a video about their surprising flying skills:

Blunt-tailed Snake Millipede

The blunt-tailed snake millipede (Cylindroiulus punctatus) is tiny: it grows up to 25 mm. It is pale brown and its segments are coloured in a way that makes it look striped; it often has darker spots along each side. Its native habitat is the rotting wood and leaf litter of deciduous woodlands but it is just as happy to live in the untidier places in your garden. All millipedes feed on dead plant material, they are essential nutrient recyclers.

Both photographs are by Christophe Quintin.

An irresistibly astonishing fact!

At more than 70 years of age, Wisdom the Laysan albatross has hatched another chick. While we admit that the chances of seeing an albatross in our park run from highly unlikely to nil, some facts are just too astonishing and irresistible to be ignored.

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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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Returning chiffchaffs

Has anybody heard our chiffchaffs yet? This is the time of year when they come back from the Mediterranean and Africa to nest in the park and their unmistakeable call is a welcome sign that spring is here. Message or email us if you have heard them .

All these pictures were taken in the park by DKG.

The Eurasian collared dove, Streptopelia decaocto, seems ubiquitous: one of the park’s noisiest and most common species. But it wasn’t always so.

How come?

Endangered flight corridor

Of the 18 species of bats native to Britain, 13 have been identified in Southwick Country Park, in Southwick Court, and in the green fields between Trowbridge and Southwick. The thirteen includes the rare and endangered lesser horseshoe bat, a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, and the internationally protected Bechstein’s bat, one of the rarest mammals in the UK.

Read on to see how proposed development will harm the bats’ habitat

Nesting

At this time of year, the reserve’s blue tits are looking for nest holes in our old trees. The ash tree at Fiveways harbours a nest every year and the newly fenced oak near at the bottom of the Arboretum seems to have attracted more than one pair already.

Here is a video of a female blue tit building a nest while, outside, the male guards the site from marauders and thieves.

Video from The Nest Box
Header picture by Simon Knight

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