On the first 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.

Christmas robins

A Christmas Eve gallery of the park’s robins, photographed by DKG.

Mistletoe

What would Christmas be without mistletoe? There is only one species of mistletoe native to Britain, Viscum album, but there is none growing in the park. We would love to see it established here but we are not sure how we would go about it.

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PROJECTS PROGRAMME

Background

by Ian Bushell

The following programme of actions was taken as an outcome of the review of the park on 27th January 2013 by the Wiltshire Countryside Team and Friends of Southwick Country Park. It is intended that this is a living document: a record of previous projects, tasks undertaken, an update of works carried out during 2020, and a review of the park in general.

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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.

Real or fake?

A lot of people buy artificial Christmas trees in the belief that it benefits the environment, but environmentalists and energy analysts disagree. We need only look at a single element of the hundreds of thousands of artificial trees that will be put up and decorated this Christmas: they are all made of plastic.

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Camouflage

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.

Contractors have cut the hedge between the central path and the pond. It does look a bit brutal at the moment, we know, but all these stumps will make vigorous new growth in the spring.

Clever corvid

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.

The winter thrushes

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)

Otter

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.

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