A red squirrel?

We received this, by email, from Simon Handley: Dear FOSCP, My good lady is convinced that she saw a red squirrel in the park the other day. I saw it too (a fleeting glimpse) and at first I thought it was a chipmunk (??!!) and then thought it seemed a lot redder than grey. Is... Continue Reading →

Neighbourhood Plan Questionnaires

All the houses in Southwick have recently received a questionnaire about Southwick Village's Neighbourhood Plan. This is part of a consultation which will end on Wednesday 27th June. A Neighbourhood Plan, properly registered with the local planning authority, gives residents the power to influence the direction of development in their area. In the case of... Continue Reading →

Beautiful demoiselle

This is a damsel fly: a beautiful demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo), another species indicating  the unpolluted quality of the water courses in Southwick Country Park . This is an immature male, it has the iridescent blue body of the mature male but not yet its dark blue-black wings, which develop over the first ten days of... Continue Reading →

Meadow browns

A message from Ian B on Tuesday of last week: "Had a walk around the park this afternoon and did a bit of a butterfly transect.  The park is  looking good. I saw 3  speckled woods, 7  small skippers and 43  meadow browns – the latter were in perfect condition as though they had  just... Continue Reading →

Scarce chaser

Scarce chasers are just that: scarce. They are a species of dragonfly that is considered rare, its small local populations at risk. They are listed in Category 3 in the British Red Data Book which documents rare and endangered species in the UK. Category 3 lists species that are estimated to exist nationally in only... Continue Reading →

Peacock caterpillars

Ian found and photographed this nest of peacock butterfly caterpillars on Tuesday. The female butterfly mates in the spring and lays her eggs, several hundred of them, under the topmost leaves of new nettles growing vigorously somewhere sunny. About two weeks later the eggs hatch into black spiky caterpillars with white spots . Like small... Continue Reading →

Hundreds turn out for special NHS parkrun in SCP

Last Saturday Southwick Country parkrun  celebrated the 70th anniversary of the NHS. Hundreds of runners took part, many of them in fancy dress. This is Cathy Warner photographed by Martin Pearce (flickr credit: dungey2002) and FoSCP is willing to bet real spending money she's not in fancy dress; she's running in her work clothes. Well... Continue Reading →

Song thrush or mistle thrush?

It is difficult to tell if this is a song thrush (Turdus philomelos) or a mistle thrush (Turdus viscivorus). DKG, who took the photograph, thinks it is a mistle thrush but there is dissent among the FoSCP. A mistle thrush or a song thrush? Here is a link to a British Trust for Ornithology article... Continue Reading →

The structure of orchids

We sent DKG, and his macro lens, to look at the common spotted orchids in Village Green.     Orchid flowers appear very variable but are, in fact, all built to a unique but simple pattern. Orchids have three sepals, three petals and a column which contains the reproductive organs. Sepals are the petal-like structures... Continue Reading →

Reasons to scoop poop: £1,000

This is the fourth and last of our spring campaign lectures about scooping poop in the park. Scooping poop may save you a £1,000. Southwick Country Park belongs to Wiltshire Council. It is categorised as an open space to which the public have access. Therefore, despite its being rented out for agricultural use, it comes... Continue Reading →

Common spotted orchids

A message from Chris Seymour: "Just wanted to share my photos of the orchids in the country park. I have been waiting for months to see them flower." Thank you, Chris, for such beautiful pictures. These are common spotted orchids (Dactylorhiza fuchsii); the three deep lobes in the lip of the flower and its spotted... Continue Reading →

An evening stroll with DKG

 by DKG. . . A few photos of an evening stroll in the park on Wednesday (23rd May). I have been visiting the blue tits' nest in Sleepers Field every day for the past two weeks and I am sorry to report that the nest may have been predated. On each visit this week I... Continue Reading →

Drinker moth caterpillar

This is the caterpillar of the drinker moth (Euthrix potatoria) so called because the caterpillar is believed to drink drops of dew on grass stems. They like damp and marshy places best, riversides and fens, but anywhere grassy will do; grasses, particularly cocks-foot and canary grass, are their main food plants. This is a species... Continue Reading →

During the few snowy days at the end of the winter, Chris Seymour sent in a series of photographs he took at dawn. A local artist, Anne Lynch, has turned one of them into a painting; thank you for sharing it with us, Anne.     Click for more of Chris's work         

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