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

Your Wildlife Sightings - January to March 12

Following our recent update of the website with the results of the wildlife gardening questionnaire it is time to let you know what residents of Sandford have seen in their gardens so far this year. Our very first wildlife report was spotted by Jake in January! Jake saw a hedgehog in his front garden and emailed in a couple of wonderful photographs too, have a look below. 

Hedgehog, by Jake

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

Parish Nature Notes for January - John Wright

Last year I wrote about some of the plants and animals seen on Great Ovens Heath through the seasons, although in reality I attempted detailed recording of plants, butterflies, dragonflies and birds etc throughout the Parish. In 2012, the second year of our Sandford heritage Project, I plan to continue with this rather ambitious undertaking, with help from other enthusiastic naturalists within the Parish. Hence, as the year progresses, I will be reporting on a few of my observations each month to encourage readers to enjoy the varied wildlife we have all around us.

The Sandford Garden Wildlife Survey

The ongoing survey - let us know what wildlife you see in Sandford. We are interested in hearing about all of your sightings, but one objective of the Garden Wildlife Survey is to record the distribution of five species of animals in the parish, and in particular, within the village of Sandford. The five species, and the months in which they are likely to be seen, are:

Common Frog (January to November)
Common Toad (February to November)
Hedgehog (March to December)
Sand Lizard (April to October)
Glow Worm (June to July)