Parish Nature Notes for May 2013 - John Wright

May 1st was warm and sunny and cuckoo-flower (also known as lady's smock or milkmaids) was visible as splashes of pale pink in damp grassland south of the Sherford River. However, this year it was flowering around two weeks later than is usual. The name cuckoo-flower came about because in a normal season the first flowering tends to coincide with the arrival of the cuckoo in mid-April.

Heath Dog Violets & Heath Milkwort

Sandford Beavers and Brownies out with UHP Team on Great Ovens Heath

The Sandford Beavers and then the Sandford Brownies groups were out with the Urban Heaths Partnership Team on Great Ovens in late May 2013. Claire Platten UHP 'West' Area Ranger, whose responsibility includes Sandford Heaths and Great Ovens, took Beavers and Brownies on Exploratory Walks. One of the groups out with Claire were lucky to spot Dartford Warblers and the Brownies had a good haul Pond Dipping.

Brownies Pond Dipping on Great Ovens

Parish Nature Notes for April 2013 - John Wright

At last, spring seems to be making progress, but not before the first ten days of the month retained a wintry feel with cold easterly winds and winter thrushes (redwing and fieldfare) still searching for food in local fields. Fortunately, favourable winds from the south brought in many spring migrant birds around the middle of the month, but in late April, the weather turned cold again with northerly winds discouraging migration. Likewise, flowering plants and insects are still appearing later than is usual.

Cuckoo - photo by Aidan Brown

Parish Nature Notes for March 2013 - John Wright

As I write, it appears that spring has been put on hold and meteorologists tell us that this March has been the coldest for 50 years. Of course, here in Dorset we have escaped the genuinely severe conditions, but nevetheless there is ample evidence around us that plants are slow to develop, there are few insects on the wing, resident birds are slow to nest and few spring migrant birds have arrived.

Male Grey Willow (Pussy willow)

Your Wildlife Sightings - January to March 2013

The focus in this late winter wildlife sightings round up goes beyond the 'Sandford Goes Wild' 5 species. The range of sightings is growing and sightings of some bigger mammals feature this time.

Badgers (Meles meles)

At Sandford House a trip camera set up by local residents captured 2 Sandford Badgers feeding at night. The quick thinking Sandfordian put out food the night before and realised it was eaten so adeptly set up the trip camera to capture this brilliant image - 'BBC Springwatch' watch out!'

Badger Feeding from a bowl at night

Sandford heritage: have your say

The Sandford Heritage Project has ended and a Sandford Heritage Community Group has been established with the initial aim of applying for funds for future projects. The group is holding a public meeting on Monday 4th February, 7pm, Sandford Community Hall under the theme "Sandford Heritage: what we hope to do with your donations."

Parish Nature Notes for December - John Wright

Have you noticed the lack of berries on many holly trees this winter? This native evergreen has separate male and female plants so, some trees will never bear the red berries we associate with Christmas. However, our wet summer appears to have hindered the flowers from setting much seed and as a result the abundant crops of berries of recent years are unavailable to both resident and winter thrushes this year.