Ditcheat, Shepton Mallet
You can follow our activities by:
• joining our emailing list; contact Bridget above by phone or email
• through the FTN news (www.fossetrinitynews.co.uk) there is usually a monthly update on the Wildlife group
• www.ditcheatchurch.co.uk, this site publishes our meetings and activities as they are organised. The Wildlife Group has its own tag
• Watch out for notices on the parish notice boards
Photo Competition: Can you name these insects that Robbie Labanowski has caught in an intimate pose?
Share a close encounter with wildlife:
At last some Swallows have been spotted. Alan Cary saw them on the 9th April, but the old adage goes, one Swallow doesn’t make a Summer. How right, as the poor things have arrived to the cold and wet. This makes the plants and insects late, making a late Spring.
Wildlife Group Swallow survey:
Swallows & Martins are both Hirundines, Swifts are Apodiformis which are more closely related to Humming birds than Swallows. Swifts will not perch on telegraph wires or roof tops as their feet are very small. They mate, feed & can sleep on the wing, as well as drink while flying, catching airborne raindrops. Swallows & Swifts are Amber-listed as species of conservation concern. Drought & hunting threaten them in their African wintering grounds, they are also troubled here by loss of nesting sites & insect food as well as unpredictable weather.
Nesting sites: As they return year on year to the same nesting sites, demolition or restoration of old buildings can severely impact on suitable places to nest once they arrive, exhausted & hungry.
How to help them:
Join our Swallow survey if you have some Swallows, House Martins or Swifts.
When renovating buildings leave nooks & crannies in exterior walls or provide new nesting sites (I have a handout if you want some detailed information). Allow access to suitable sheds, garages or barns by cutting small sections from the top of doors, a large letter box size is all that is needed for a Swallow. In a dry Spring an upturned bin lid full of mud will provide a welcome source of materials for nest building. A muddy puddle works well and will need to be topped up regularly with water.
Manage gardens for insects (flowering lawns etc.) and having some open water will help for drinking and insects. Avoid using sprays in the garden and if you have horses or other stock replace mectin based livestock wormers with anthelmintic alternatives.
- Wildlife Group Archive
Be careful as you drive about the lanes - young birds learning to fly!
The “Chelsea chop” is a gardening term that is used for cutting some herbaceous plants back to about a third of their growth in May. The reason is to make them less floppy and leggy, the bi-product is that they flower later, especially Autumn flowering plants (Sedum spectable, the taller Asters, Echinacea and Golden rod) this prolongs nectar sources for insects well into late Autumn.
Photo Competition winner for April: Congratulations to Paul Newman identifying Hilary’s fern as a Rusty Back fern (Asplenium ceterach). A close runner up was Carolyn who identified the genus correctly.