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
Can you identify Graeme’s bird photo with its gender? Answers by email or phone to Bridget before the 10th of March.
Share a close encounter with wildlife: We have had the biggest influx of Hawfinches for 40 years this winter. They are easily seen in Holy Trinity Church, Street and the large Church in Somerton where they have been feeding for the last three months on Hornbeam and Yew seeds. When they have exhausted these, they will probably turn to local nut feeders. So, keep an eye out in your local Churchyard and on your feeders, or go and see them.
Our visit to Steart was a day of glorious sun, cold, but blissfully little wind. It is a nature reserve of approximately 3 Km long and 1 Km wide, run by the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT). The access is free and it has good car parking and facilities - always a relief!!
The reserve is in two parts, the original peninsular and the WWT man made salt marsh. This was made by protecting the area with banks and breaching the Parrett River so that the brackish water washes over the enclosed area at the highest tides. Over the last five years this has altered the flora and fauna, creating a salt marsh.
WWT’s primary motivation for making Steart Reserve is that salt marshes are likely to be a rarer natural feature of our coast lines due to rising sea levels; the other is that the feature will be a temporary flood store to protect local houses and properties.
As promised, it was a good walk and our visit took in the furthest peninsula with the Tower Hide and then a walk along the salt marshland onwards to Combwich.
The bird list got to 47 different species. We were greeted with large flocks of Lapwings in the fields and a good number of Curlew. The car park proved a good place for small birds and we saw a variety of Waders and Ducks over the estuary and saltmarsh. A notable bird was a Greenfinch, it is quite unusual now-a-days, due to the disease Trichomonas gallinae, (a protozoan parasite). Twenty years ago, they were the most common birds on bird feeders. Don’t forget to wash your feeders regularly!
- Wildlife Group Archive
Litter is a danger to wildlife and unsightly, so anything that reduces it is a good thing.
You may have heard of the “new” Swedish craze to hit our shores, Plogging. I don’t know how the name arose. We have various names for similar activities Trash runs and Pick n’ run sounds fun and useful. We go on a Pick n’ walk up our lane every year and I know Roger Yeoman has for many years organised the Village litter pick in Ditcheat. Whether you do this competitively, communally or off your own initiative, the best time is before the end of March, because the litter is visible. I wish people would stop dropping litter, but as they do, an alternative would be that everyone takes responsibility for keeping the area outside their homes litter free.
Photo Competition winner:
Paul is our winner from last month. It was a very pretty photo from Rafe Gill of a female Chaffinch.