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 identify Clare Hogg’s photo of this coal-like fungus on an Ash tree? Answers by email or phone to Bridget before the 10th of January. Time to consider this difficult one over the Christmas period!
Share a close encounter with wildlife:
Some of you may want to see the Starlings at Ham Wall this winter. Dress up warmly and take a torch. It is worthwhile checking with the Starling Hotline before you go, to gauge where they might be: 07866 554142 (Oct-Mar)
Graeme’s evocative photo of Starlings in Brighton
Swallow and House Martin survey results 2016
Firstly, I would like to thank all this year’s participants and Clare Hogg who has helped me get back on track after falling behind with generating the survey results and getting them on the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) National data base ‘Bird Track’.
Happily, there was a turnaround from the previous year, where seven sites recorded no birds returning. This year that was down to one site and balanced out with one of the losers from 2015 having a pair return. Individually there were 9 pairs that failed to return (much better than last year with 19 not returning), There were twice as many nests with two broods rather than one, an almost complete reversal of fortunes from the previous year.
Predation: My Swallows were heavily predated by Sparrow Hawks, one Swallow couple losing both broods and the other couple losing a whole brood and at least one other fledgling. The hawk waits until they are just out of the nest and then pounces when the fledglings can hardly fly. The only option to help the Swallows in this situation, is to try and erect some kind of barrier to entry for the Sparrow Hawk, but which allows the Swallows in.
It was a very late spring and BTO advised that many birds stayed on the continent, this might have been a factor in lower than optimum numbers returning, although, our records show a poor breeding year in 2015. As usual, access to a muddy puddle is a big factor in nest rebuilding, as the early part of the nesting season was very dry and then the very wet June slowed the breeding down, so there were no third broods.
House Martin report: Similar numbers of breeding pairs returned in 2016, but the nesting story in 2016 is a sad one of predation by a Sparrow Hawk who routinely combed my yard for his (yes, a little male) meal. Six nests had no broods, probably due to adult mortality. The good news is the majority of birds managed to rear two broods. Not as good a breeding record for Stone as 2015, but then it was a cold Summer with intensive predation.
- Wildlife Group Archive
We will have a day outing in December or January at the Steart reserve. This will be quite a strenuous day. To register your interest contact me and I will keep you posted on the details. There will be limited numbers on this outing.
Photo Competition winner:
Congratulations to Stewart Gould who quite correctly used the common name of Ramping Fumatory for the plant I know as White Fumatory. This illustrates why the botanical name (Fumaria capreolata) is better for communicating identification!