Max: Dog of the week

Max, photographed this morning while walking his human in Village Green. He is a Bavarian Munsterlander crossed with, of all things, a Shar Pei: very, very large, very friendly, not as wrinkly as you might expect.

1.Here is WHSAP Programme Officer Ian Kemp’s postal address for those who do not use or trust email:
Ian Kemp
Wiltshire HSAP Programme Officer
16 Cross Furlong
Droitwich Spa
Worcester WR9 7TA

2. Here is a webpage that has been set up to report on the progress of the WHSAP Examination.

3. The hearings in April will be held in public but only those who have applied to do so will be invited to speak; applications need to be made before 5pm Friday 8th March.

Spotting tawny owls

Has anybody heard or seen the tawny owl that was spotted in the park three weeks ago? We are hoping it is still here, perhaps with a mate, looking for nest sites.

Tawny owl calls are unmistakeable, the classic too-wit-too-woo, but their camouflage is excellent and they are difficult to spot against a background of tree bark. Here is a short video from YouTube to help with identification.

Contact details, if you have anything to report, are here.

More about tawnies:

Snowdrop factoid

Did you know that snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) are not native to the British Isles? They haven’t even been here a long time. They were brought from the continent in the 16th Century and introduced into Elizabethan gardens.

The first printed reference to snowdrops in Britain can be found in Gerarde’s Great Herbal, published in 1597, and they were not recorded in the wild until 1778, in Worcestershire and Gloucestershire.


This is the robin that sang for the Friends of Southwick Country Park as they hacked their way through the thicket of bramble and blackthorn at the rear of the car park on Tuesday morning.

First snowdrops

Ian Bushell has sent us a picture of the first snowdrops, taken today on the wooded side of the path along the edge of Lambrok Meadow. Lovely!

Volunteer – Tuesday 29th

Our next work party is on Tuesday the 29th of January. We meet in the car park at 9.30am; come and join us. The Met Office says it will be very cold but dry and the BBC thinks it will be very cold and wet; wrap up warm.

The Met Office says it will be very cold but dry . . .

You will need sturdy footwear and thorn-proof gloves. Bring a coffee mug; we will supply the coffee to put in it and there will be biscuits.

We are looking forward to meeting you. . .

Our chiffchaffs will already have started the long journey back to their breeding sites in the park. They have overwintered in the warmth of southern Europe or northern Africa and are making their way home in a leisurely way with lots of stops for fuel; the males are the frontrunners and they need to arrive fit enough to find and fight for a territory.

They will begin arriving in March; their song (chiff-chaff, chiff-chaff) is one of the first signs of spring.

Pictures by DKG

Related posts:

The kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) that DKG photographed at the weekend is a female. The male bird has an all black beak while the female’s lower mandible is orange with a black tip.

Kingfishers are highly territorial; they pair up in the winter but keep separate territories until the following spring. It is probable, therefore, that our female has already paired up with a nearby male.

A kingfisher’s territory covers, on average, a kilometre of waterway; our female will be looking for a nesting site either very close to, or in the park. The Lambrok’s steep clay banks may well be perfect.

Kingfisher at last

An excited email from DKG this morning:

” A few photos of our Kingfisher at last. After 5 years of trying to capture photos of the park’s resident kingfisher, yesterday (Sunday 20th) finally produced the photos I had been after. But these came about as usual with no intention of looking for it and if not for Ian, I would have even missed these shots.”

Continue reading “Kingfisher at last”


These are densely packed crustose lichens, on the bark of a young birch tree in Sheepfield Copse. Groups of lichen species are often consistently associated together, forming recognisable communities. It is probable this is a community, containing several species of Arthonia, that grows on smooth barked trees.

More lichens here

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