Parish Nature Notes for May - John Wright

May is always an exciting month to observe wildlife and the exceptional rains of April and early May, followed by hot dry weather later in the month have produced some lush vegetation and a wide range of wild flowers. In addition, birds are nesting and rearing young and increasing numbers of spring butterflies and dragonflies are on the wing.

Beautiful Demoiselle


How the use of the name Sandford has evolved.

The first written record of the name Sandford is in relation to Sandford Bridge and dates from 1597. The first consistent use of the name on maps for anything else dates from around 1800, and applied to the area west of the bridge and centred on Sandford Farm, which was sited where Sandford Lane Industrial Estate now is. The earliest record so far of the use of Sandford for an area within the present village dates from 1855. This use became firmly established through the naming of Sandford Pottery, Sandford Terrace and Sandford House soon afterwards. The focus remained around the pottery until housing developments that began in the 1930s shifted it eastwards to its present location.

Location of Sandford in 1800

Parish Nature Notes for April - John Wright

April has been declared the wettest on record for England and after a dry and sunny March, it felt as if the brakes had been applied to spring. Summer migrant birds have been delayed, butterflies have been scarce and flowering plants are appearing somewhat later than in 2011. However, the much-needed rain will bring benefit to both plants and insects in May as temperatures rise.

Male orange-tip Butterfly

Wildlife in the Garden (3) - Lena Ward

I have a rather overgrown garden pond (nearly 2 x 3 m) with mostly native pond plants, plus a small ornamental water-lily. My garden backs onto Great Ovens Heath Site of Special Scientific Interest. On a warm afternoon on 12/3/12 I saw an adult of the Raft spider, Dolomedes fimbriatus, on the paving by my pond, presumably after emergence from overwintering.

Adult Raft Spider

Results of the Wildlife Gardening Questionnaire February 2012

We are fortunate here in Sandford to live in an area where wildlife is abundant locally. There were 34 householders who responded to our questionnare about their interest in gardening for wildlife; nearly everyone was interested in looking after birds, 90% had plants with flowers liked by bees and 11% had fish-free ponds liked by dragonflies and pondskimmers. The results of the 5 species we asked you to report seeing in your garden - Frog, Sand Lizard, Glow Worm, Toad and Hedgehog are also
presented in this article by Lena Ward. Lena and the Wildlife Group and many others hope this interest in wildlife gardening will grow.

Wildlife Habitats in Sandford Gardens

Parish Nature Notes for February - John Wright

February will be remembered for some very cold weather during the first twelve days of the month. Although we don't have a garden pond, a friend of mine told me that frogs returning to their breeding ponds in January had their spawn destroyed by the freezing conditions of early Febuary. Having said that, some frogs and also toads were able to spawn as milder conditions prevailed much later in February.

Green Woodpecker