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25th Anniversary Open Day. 16.06.2013 Clockwise from top left: Delia Twamley and Kathy Chicken cutting the cake. Visitors in the Willow “igloo”. The cake with pond and tree. Photos: Terry Wood and Janet Keene



Tree planting event in Northern Extension on April 20th Photo: OxTreeGen One of the main events this quarter was the tree-planting in the northern extension. It was originally planned for March 16 but the ground was too wet but finally the planting was done on April 20 by a group of volunteers from Wellers, a firm of accountants in Oxford. The trees were donated free as part of our TOE2 grant from a group called OxTreeGen and Mark Lay came along to organise the planting of 150 trees. We were trying to choose trees not present in any number in the rest if the park. We chose 50 small-leaved lime, 50 oak and 50 beech. The small-leaved lime was recommended by Judy Webb as its rich scent and copious nectar attract many bees. With the present ominous decline in bees in this country it is a very important tree to grow. The pond life and other wildlife in the park has been very sparse so far and although Alan saw a willow warbler, two comma butterflies and a peacock butterfly quite early in the season the appearance of wildlife in general has

been very much delayed. The refurbishing of the Kitchen Garden is going ahead steadily thanks to the work led by Jan Dight, Izzy Eustace and Mark Franks. A group of 16 boys from Magdalen College School came to Boundary Brook Nature Park in June as part of an Environmental Day when they spent the day doing work of conservation value in various sites in Oxford. They tackled a number of jobs on site including weeding between the newly planted trees in the Northern Extension and clearing the paths in preparation for the Open Day. We are very grateful for their help. Another group from the school also came to Holywell Cemetery, which our group manages for the wildlife there. The bad weather prevented many of the work parties from taking place over the last few months. Do remember to ring Alan before you set out for a work party to ensure it is happening. The number to ring him on is 07901 120 308 (note the change in number).



Past . . . Persistent heavy rail and then a day of snow meant that we cancelled the Spring Open Day at Boundary Brook. The ground was very muddy and much was covered in pools of water. There were certainly no early butterflies or active frogs that we anticipated when advertising it.

Another event, delayed by the weather was the Annual Fritillary Survey, which we take part in, on Osney Mead. Like all the other plants, flowering was late this year so the survey was delayed until May 4th. However, the miserable winter and the flooding has not damaged the fritillaries as a record number of flower heads were counted. The numbers have been steadily increasing since 2003 when 58 flowers

3 were counted. This year we counted 294 flowers and found 2 new patches in the meadow. As you will have seen above our tree-planting was also delayed The Oxfordshire Goes Wild event was held at the Earth Trust Farm at Little Wittenham as the usual venue, the Natural History Museum was closed for renovation this year. It was a beautiful event with many exciting and interesting activities for children. In spite of needing a car to get to it, there were a large number of families and our minipond-dipping and other activities attracted a constant number of participants as usual. The visit to the CS Lewis reserve, led by Rod d’Ayala, was fascinating. Although some of us had been before, we learnt a lot about the vegetation and development of the site. One interesting find was a tree with a “pond”, at waist height, in the base of the hollowed trunk. Rod told us that this was apparently the ideal place to find hoverfly larvae, as he put his hand in to go pond-dipping within the trunk (see the photo above). The lake, on the other hand looked beautiful but there was little wildlife in it at the moment. The reason is not clear but it apparently was not just the bad winter. As a result of unforeseen circumstances the AGM has also been delayed so the new date is Thursday July 25th see rear cover for details.


25 years of OUWG - The early days

Formation of the group

Oxford Urban Wildlife Group was formed 25 years ago on 6th June1988. The first minutes show that Malcolm Chandler opened the first public meeting of Oxford Urban Wildlife Group when a 14 people gathered in the Town Hall. These 14 include Sue Antrobus who was our Chair for many years, Grace Donnelly who also chaired later, Jo Cranston a member for many years and Peter and Janet Keene who are still members! After an introduction he outlined the aims of the group. “It was stated that the group wish to raise the awareness of the people in Oxford to the wildlife and around them. It was emphasized that there are a lot of different habitats in Oxford which were at present undeveloped. It is seen to be important that these sites are set aside for wildlife and for the enjoyment of local people and their children in the future. To help promote interest in wildlife within Oxford, walks and talks will be arranged and surveys carried out. The group is presently conducting a hedgehog survey and a botanical survey of the city. Other aspects the group hopes to develop is to encourage wildlife gardening by giving general advice on this topic and to start a quarterly newsletter for its members.” Later on it plans an introduction of a newsletter. “The newsletter (provisionally called ‘Oxford Wildlife News’ unless somebody comes up with a better title!) is to appear quarterly. What goes in it is up to you and some ideas were suggested. Many of you seem interested in wildlife gardening. There will be a question and answer page, programme of events, and descriptions of wildlife sites worthy of a visit within Oxford, a children’s corner and much more. Please send in any ideas you might have or articles you wish to write yourself . This is your chance to air your views about the city you live in!”

The First Newsletter OXFORD WILDLIFE NEWS - NUMBER 1 - AUTUMN 88 On the first page is a picture of Holywell Cemetery by Peter Keene and on the other three pages are reports on the hedgehog survey, butterfly gardening, urban foxes as well as a programme of events and some drawings and cartoons by Nigel Dobbyn. Sue Antrobus and Nigel produced the newsletter for the first 4 years until they left Oxford. We are now approaching our 100th issue and have expanded to 12 pages and we would still like your articles, drawings and cartoons! A weasel by:

Nigel Dobbyn


Open Day and 25th Anniversary Celebration

Our open day started with a gloomy sky and the threat of rain. Soon it started to drizzle and then periodically it rained in earnest so were quite surprised when people turned up, usually with one or more children. Many of the children went to Larkrise School and knew the park well so they tended to make straight for the pond to do some pond-dipping. As usual Chris Lewis was there to guide them and to help them to identify their catch. Surprisingly they found no frog tadpoles even though we had rescued numerous frogs when the hay meadow was being mown in the autumn. They did however find newt larvae. As many of the visitors had children with them they chose to take our pamphlet with a map on it and descriptions of the various areas rather than have an organized guided tour. One day we must make similar leaflets for the northern and eastern extensions – any offers? We had a gazebo to protect the books for sale, the puzzles for children and another wonderful selection of Jo Aldhouse’s jams and marmalades. Jane Bliss had offered, weather permitting, to come with her harp provide music during our open day and to our surprise she braved the wet weather and, installed in the far corner of the gazebo, she was able to play. Many of the children were fascinated and came and watched her and we all enjoyed the accompaniment to our afternoon. She even continued to play while we assembled at 4pm and had our celebratory picnic. Delia Twamley had organised a beautiful cake for the occasion (see front cover) from the cake-makers in the covered market and, to accompany it, there was a summer punch for the adults and juice for the children. Luckily by this time the skies had cleared and the sun was shining so we ended up warm and dry!

Jane Bliss playing her harp


Future events. . . On Saturday 13 July we are going to have a stall at the Oxford Festival of Nature when we take part in the West Oxford Fun Day. There will be many interesting activities and our stall will have activities for children. There are more details on pages 10 and 12. The AGM is going to be on Thursday 25th July at 6.30pm in the Jury Room at the Town Hall. So do come along and give us your ideas for the future running of the Group. On Saturday 17 August we are having our usual stall at the Elder Stubbs Festival, This is always a lively event with music, exciting food stalls and some beautifully tended allotments, which as well as having wonderful flowers and vegetables, often have sculptures as well. There is fruit from the orchards on sale as well 12-5pm. On Sunday 15th September we are opening Boundary Brook Nature Park in conjunction with Oxford Open Doors from 2-5pm for one of our Open Days. Do come along to take part in activities or to help on a stall. More details of all these events are on the back page.


Would you like to adopt a piece of Boundary Book Nature Park? Three members are making an excellent job of renovating the Kitchen Garden and we wondered if any of you would like to adopt any other parts of the Nature Park. It need only be a small area but you could be in charge of managing it to keep it as it should be and maybe implementing some ideas of your own to make it more wildlife friendly. If you have ideas or suggestions please discuss it with Alan when you see him or email or phone me and I’ll put you in touch with the appropriate person. Janet Keene or 01865 820 522


Members’ observations Please continue to let us have some of your wildlife observations for the next issue, giving place and date and place.

A Cat and a fox in Summerton - An update I have always known that a healthy adult cat will see off a fox from what he/she considers to be his/her territory. And I have now experienced this. On March 21st I drew back the front bedroom curtains at 6 a.m., having let the cat (a Burmese aged 8) out. I saw him by the front fence and then suddenly he shot across the road and I saw a fox coming down the road on the far pavement. My cat chased the fox back into my immediate neighbour’s front garden and then back across the road, and then back again into the next front garden up the road and then back across the road, then once more back into the third front garden up the road – my cat then routed the fox and it shot back to the far fence and this time he jumped it and so into the grounds of the late Freemasons’ building and the late Oxford Centre at 333 Banbury Road. I do have to admit that my cat is a wimp – he is so stressed by the newly-arrived rescue female cats next

door down the road that he is sick whenever he sees them in his garden. But we do know that he is fiercely territorial and so it seems. He regards the road, the pavements and adjacent gardens (away from the dreaded ’girls’) as his territory, and he was hell-bent on getting rid of the intruder. He came back triumphant with a very bushy tail and full of himself. Sadly this did not last. Perhaps this is the same fox who had killed and buried a cock pheasant in my back garden in January 2011 and who had also stolen and buried a piece of ‘cowhide’ (a dog’s toy) in December 2012, also in my back garden. Again I wonder if I have seen the same fox. I drew back the curtains in the utility room, opening on to the conservatory, at about 6a.m. on April 23rd and found a fox sitting on the step from the conservatory into the garden, looking towards me. He immediately vanished but I know he went towards the front. Delia Twamley


Early Morning at Boundary Brook On entering the reserve this chilly Sunday morning, the peace was tangible; excitement and sudden movement hid behind every corner, expectant. Arriving early, I was able to creep amongst the undergrowth to glimpse what I could of the wildlife, which wasn’t difficult. The squirrels stealing nuts from the birdfeeders continued their robbery with only a few furtive glances in my direction. The robin sat protecting his home before skipping away at the last minute. Further into the reserve a young squirrel burrowed in the mud, his browny fur blending him perfectly into his hideout, I only spotted him by the way he was moving the branches almost ferociously. I stood watching him for a while as he went about his business ignoring me entirely. My attention wandered and I followed the path round and

into the grassy patch with a low tree in the centre, its branches forming a beautiful canopy to look through if you crouch below. Some careless picnic goers had left some packaging which had obviously been picked at by the animals, now hiding; the tiny teeth marks giving them away. Continuing my journey I found a stray Allium pushing its proud purple globe of flowers underneath the hedging and stopped to watch the sunlight filter through and onto it, its colour paler than normal. On rounding the skips my eye fell upon a small rodent down the neatly mown path ahead of me. Its body long and brown, too slender for a rat. I paused and attempted to identify it before it inevitably slipped from view, which of course it did as soon as I moved forward. A weasel. Isabelle Eustace


Otters in the Thames Most mornings when the weather is dry I cycle down the tow path between Donnington Bridge and Osney Lock. It was about 5:30am, and it was just starting to get light, the river was still high after the rain and snow melting. This one morning by Donnington Bridge, I noticed something breaking the surface of the water, as I got closer it somersaulted in the water, and I realized it was a small otter.

I continued along the towpath and, as I was approaching Osney Lock, I was surprised to see another otter on the opposite bank. T his was a larger adult otter and I could clearly see its distinctive shape. I stopped to watch it and when it saw me, it slipped into the water and disappeared. I had heard there were otters on the Thames, but this is the first time I have ever seen them. Stephen Keene


Your Newsletter As mentioned previously let me know if you would be equally happy to receive your newsletter folded in an A5 envelope. This of course saves paper and stamps but is not suitable if you keep a pristine copy for posterity! Alternatively let me know if you would prefer to be informed when each new newsletter (in colour) is put up on our website instead of receiving a paper copy. This of course saves even more paper and stamps but we are happy for you to keep to the current method as your subscription still covers the present system. Janet Keene 01865 820522 or


Loose Ends I had a call from a reader of Wildlife News about the Seeds of Change project in the Botanic Gardens. I wrote about that a few issues ago and decided to go back and see how it's getting on. There are several other past topics that deserve a second look, so back I'll go to see what I missed at the time and what has happened since.

Firstly, the Botanic Gardens.

View of Botanic Gardens from Christ Church Meadow. John Gorrill They were unlucky to plant seeds selected for dry conditions before one of the wettest summers we've had for a long time. Last year was miserable for gardeners but a feast for slugs, some of which are a new Spanish variety and have arrived on salad imports. I went to look at the Seeds of Change flower beds in late summer and found a dismal sight: a few yellow flower-spikes and a lot of bare sand. The sand by the way is a mulch to keep out wind-blown seeds from native plants. I assume many seeds that were meant to be there simply rotted in the wet ground. In May 2013 I went back and saw lots of new green foliage but once again bare patches of sand, which was yellow when first laid but is now a dull grey.

This bold scheme highlights the difference between weather and climate: you may plant for long-term global warming but be ambushed by a rainy summer in 2012 and a drab spring in 2013. I wrote about rainwater harvesting a few years ago when a hosepipe ban inspired me to set up water butts, pipes and valves. Since then we haven't had a drought, so I too planned for one thing and got another. Most of my effort was at the beginning however, and most of the work at Seeds of Change was in preparing the beds, so it costs very little (I assume) to persevere. It costs even less to look over the railings of the Botanic Gardens whilst walking in Christ Church Meadows if you want to check on the seeds without spending any change at the ticket office inside the front gate.

Secondly, the otters of Otmoor I was hoping to get a photo but someone has beaten me to it. If you have internet access, search on Youtube for 'Otmoor otter' and you'll find two short videos of this elusive creature hunting in a reed-bed. Whilst dodging a rain storm in the RSPB's posh bird-hide, I pondered why otters excite such interest. They are relatives of the stoat and the weasel and until the 1970s were hunted by otter

hounds in order to protect river fish - not a glorious heritage. For some, 'Tarka the Otter' may be the reason. This novel by Henry Williamson was published in 1927 and marked the high-point of his career. He wrote over 50 books and died in 1980. Now he is deeply out of fashion because of his sympathy for fascism and Oswald Mosley. For me, a film called 'Ring of Bright Water' made otters

magical but the title leads to another sad tale. It comes from a poem called 'The Marriage of Psyche' by Kathleen Raine: He has married me with a ring, a ring of bright water Whose ripples travel from the heart of the sea. She had a passion for Gavin Maxwell, whose book appeared in 1960. The film followed in 1969. He was gay and could not return her feelings, so she apparently put a curse on him at the height of a thunder-storm. Shortly afterwards his Scottish home burnt down, his otter ran away and he himself died from cancer at the age of 55. It's odd how a book that brings great happiness can rise from a writer's painful private life or possibly blight his family. The story of Kenneth Grahame, 'The Wind in the Willows' and his son Alastair is an example too sad to look into here. Suffice it to say that father and son share a peaceful grave near the entrance to Oxford's Holywell Cemetery. Medical researchers have also noticed that Alice's experiences in Wonderland are typical symptoms of migraine, as suffered by Lewis

7 Carroll (an Oxford hero) and mentioned in his diaries. The sensation of falling down a hole, things appearing larger or smaller than normal, changed perception of your own body - these could be a writer's inventions of course but they might also reflect his private suffering. Without making us sentimental about wildlife, it's possible for books and films to boost nature conservation. There's proof of this in the Lake District: if you wonder how come the National Trust owns so many farms and fells, it's because Beatrix Potter paid for them with royalties from her children's books. She began as a serious botanical artist, switched to illustrating her own animal stories, became an early supporter of the Trust, had a second career as a breeder of the local Herdwick sheep and died in 1943. There's a similar blend of fact and fiction on children's TV today. It's a cartoon called The Octonauts whose heroes include Barnacles Bear, Peso Penguin and Shellington Sea Otter. They live in an Octopod under the ocean, fight baddies and watch a Creature Report in every episode - it's the profile of a real-life sea animal. If you're 5 or even 55, you can learn a lot from that.

Thirdly, rewilding This is linked to the last newsletter, new reserves are so yesterday! The current buzz-word is rewilding. It's an idea that began in the 1990s in the USA, where it involves restoring wilderness areas, connecting them with wildlife corridors and bringing back species such as the beaver. In Siberia the elk and moose have been reintroduced. In the UK, a spokesman for rewilding is George Monbiot. He writes a column for The Guardian, used to live in Oxford and had an allotment next door to Boundary Brook Nature Park. In fact he advised Alan

Hart to avoid using old carpets to mulch the ground because bromide chemicals might leach into the soil. Well, Mr Monbiot's new book is called Feral: Searching for Enchantment on the Frontiers of Rewilding. It's due out at the end of May, so I haven't read it yet. The sub-title suggests a mystical or spiritual interest in nature which is difficult to put into words unless you are William Wordsworth, D.H.Lawrence or Dylan Thomas. This could be interesting - it's certainly courageous.

Next, we have trees doing odd things. In a past issue there were photos of a tree sculpture in Headington, fallen trees used in playgrounds and a tree consuming a wall in North Oxford. Here is a beech digesting an iron railing in Thame.

The fence used to mark the edge of a school playground but now the school has gone. In its place you'll find a new Catholic church and a row of smart houses called Mitchell Close. Thame's official nature reserve is called Cuttle Brook, a name which began life as Court Well Brook. The water from this famous spring had healing powers, the locals believed, especially for problems of the eye. It's well worth a visit if you fancy a trip out of Oxford by bus or car. There are free maps and leaflets in Thame Information Centre or the library nearby.


Any news about badgers? The cull which was postponed last year is about to start in West Gloucestershire and West Somerset. The idea is to reduce the incidence of Bovine Tuberculosis by killing 70% of badgers in those areas by shooting them in the field or by cage-trapping followed by a 'humane' death. Oxfordshire was never likely to be chosen for a badger cull but DEFRA (The Department for Food and Rural Affairs) has ordered annual TB testing for local dairy cattle as a precaution. Meanwhile the wet weather suits badgers very nicely because it softens the ground for digging and brings earthworms up to the surface for eating. On Otmoor I found plenty of fresh soil beside an old sett, as you will see in the photo. A badger’s sett on Otmoor This may be the last thing I write for Wildlife News because I hope to move to the Lake District. The topic of badgers reminds me of the very first thing I wrote about wildlife for publication. It was in 1983 when The Oxford Times had a column the size of a postcard called At the Sign of the Badger. This was written by a man called Bruce Campbell. I sent him details of work done by the Oxford Conservation Volunteers and he put my words directly into his column. In those days before email, I would post a letter to Newspaper House in Osney Mead and he would reply with a letter of thanks very soon afterwards. I never met Bruce Campbell in person but I was sad to find that he died in 1993. He was a serious ornithologist and co-editor of The Oxford Book of Birds plus several other works. Now of course you can read The Oxford Times website without leaving the house and there's plenty of space given to wildlife. Then you had to buy the broadsheet paper, unfold it and search the inner pages for the small black and white drawing of a badger and below it Bruce Campbell's column. He was a pioneer and a very helpful man.

 Another type of digging on Otmoo rdredging work on flood plain.

Finally Have you spotted the fashion for jokey shop names? Hairdressers do this a lot (Curl Up And Dye, Hairy Poppins etc.) and takeaways love it too (The Codfather, The Happy Haddock and so on). In Lancashire there's something more ambitious - a pet shop called Rabitat. John Gorrill.


Warneford Meadow gets its first top cut for years

The Meadow finally got its first top cut for years on 1st May. Most of the Meadow has been cut, although the very wet areas on each side were too damp and had to be left. Also, a wide swathe alongside the brook was deliberately left untouched, as was the whole area through the narrow gap beside the nursing home, to encourage wildlife.

As regards ownership of the Meadow, we still have no definite news of the proposed transfer of ownership from the Department of Health to the NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford Health. Once this transfer has been enacted, FoWM expects to work with the Trust to manage Warneford Meadow as an amenity for hospital patients and members of the local community.

This first top cut will leave room for fresh growth during the summer which will need a further cut in August or September, depending on what kind of summer we have. It will be a year to two before the site really begins to look like a meadow again – or produces hay of a quality that can be sold. Nevertheless, seeing the Meadow freshly cut does give a hint of what it will look like after receiving a bit of care.

Some of our supporters are asking when this year's AGM will take place. In fact, FoWM as originally constituted doesn't exist any more, so an AGM in May is no longer necessary. FoWM is now a limited company Friends of Warneford Meadow [] Recently the walkway through the orchard was cleared and this adds to the enjoyment. See their website


What can ‘I’ do to help wildlife in ‘My Garden’? I have covered many of the basics involved in wildlife gardening in gardens of most sizes, both within urban and rural settings. On having a long and very interesting phone call with an enthusiastic reader yesterday, I think it would be worth recapping on the basics of wildlife gardening once again, so we are all up to speed, before I dive headlong into writing another set of these wildlife garden articles that focus on specific areas. So to recap, the main components to have in any wildlife garden are water, many different types of flowers/shrubs/trees, deadwood and grass of differing lengths. Water whether in the form of ponds or an upturned dustbin lid get quickly colonized by a wide variety of life. Flowers/trees and shrubs need to be varied with flowers of differing shapes/sizes and fragrance, and that flower at as many different times of year as possible. Remember that some insects have different length tongues so those

with short tongues need open flat flowers so they can get to the nectar. Obviously they would struggle with long trumpet-shaped flowers. Deadwood is great, but remember, not just to have in the shade under some trees. Have deadwood in the sun and semi-shade too as that could attract an entire new set of creatures. Finally, grass of differing lengths. Sounds simple but is so effective. If you have a good population of singing grasshoppers and crickets etc. it indicates good grassland management. Go on - have a go at attracting some wildlife to your garden, making your garden even more pleasurable. Happy Gardening! Stuart Mabbutt, Wildlife Gardening Specialist 01865 747243


EVENTS FOR OTHER ORGANISATIONS (For contacts see page 11 unless otherwise listed) JULY Sunday 7: Stonor Park, Oxon Chiltern Hills woodland and parkland. Field Outing: contact Steven Alley 01608 659628 (OOS) Sunday 7: Wildflower Walk at Cumnor Hurst, 2-4pm. A walk which will encourage us all to take a closer look at the flowers around us, introducing the parts of a flower as well as looking at the flora encountered during the walk. (ANHSO) Friday 12 (8pm-midnight) and Saturday 13 (midday-5pm) OXFORD FESTIVAL OF NATURE. This year's Oxford Festival of Nature joins with the popular West Oxford Fun Day, making this a brilliant event for everyone interested in the natural world. The event will have a wide range of activities. 1:00pm: All About Trees, 1:30pm: Worm Charming, 2:00pm: River Ecology, 2:30pm: Falconry, 3:00pm: Bug Safari, 3:30pm: Crayfish Trapping, 4:00pm: Worm Charming 4:30pm: and a walk through moth tent! All this will contribute to a 24-hour BioBlitz, identifying all the living species that we can within the park. In 2012 we found 777 species in East Oxford. Can we do better this year? There's only one way to find out! See details of Friday’s events on Admission: Free. Meet: Botley Park, Botley Rd OX2 0BT. Contact: Andy Jones 01865 728953 or 810000 Saturday 13: Introduction To Hoverflies Workshop with Steve Gregory. 10am-4pm Withymead £25. Contact (SW) Wednesday 17, Thursday 18, Wednesday 24, Thursday 25: NATURE TOTS 9.30-11.30am nr Didcot, Oxon. An opportunity for your little ones to interact with and learn from nature. Come along for outdoor nature play, games, stories and craft on our wild and wonderful nature reserve. Dress for the weather. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Tea, biscuits and mud provided! BOOKING ESSENTIAL. Admission: £3 donation/participating child. Meet: Sutton Courtenay Environmental Education Centre OX14 4TE. Contact: Christine Donaldson: 01235 862024. .


Saturday 27: Nature Tots Summer Party – Teddy Bears’ Picnic! 9.30-11.30 nr Didcot, Oxon. Bring your tots’ favourite teddies and a scrummy picnic for a sensational summer party on our lovely nature reserve. Action packed activities, crafts, treats and ice-cream! Join us to celebrate the end of the Nature Tots season in style! Booking essential. Dress for the weather. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Tea, biscuits and mud provided! BOOKING ESSENTIAL. Admission: £5 donation/child. No dogs please. Meet: Sutton Courtenay Environmental Education Centre OX14

4TE.Contact: Christine





Tuesday 30, Wednesday 31 July Thursday 1 August 10am-4pm nr Didcot, Oxon Family Fun - Pirates and Mermaids. Wonderful watery fun in Marine Week! Don your pirate or mermaid costume and take a tour of our oceans to find out what lurks beneath the waves. Evil pirate laughs and mermaid glitter ahoy! Wild activities to get the whole family excited about nature. Activities take around two hours, and there’s no need to book – so just drop in! Fun for all ages! Picnics welcome. Admission: £3 donation/child. No dogs please. Meet: Sutton Courtenay Environmental Education Centre OX14 4TE. Contact: Christine Donaldson 01235 862024


SEPTEMBER Tuesday 3: Glow-worms a talk by John Tyler on the life of this fascinating creature, looking at how it hunts, how it defends itself, how (and why) it produces its distinctive light, the threats that it faces and what can be done to protect it. The Old Schoolroom, Wolvercote 7.45 pm (ANHSO) Sunday 8: Lichens at Cumnor Churchyard. 2.00 to 4.00pm. Come and explore the magical world of lichens, and investigate this fascinating symbiosis between fungi and algae. (ANHSO) Thursday 26: Wadham College: A return visit to this fine Oxford college garden with the head gardener. Meet at the lodge (Parks Road, Broad St. end ) 2pm (OTC)


NEXT NEWSLETTER Please send your copy for the next newsletter as soon as possible to: Janet Keene, 7 Norwood Avenue, Southmoor, Abingdon, OX13 5AD or if possible email: The final deadline is by the end of August.

OXFORD URBAN WILDLIFE GROUP Don't forget that we are here to help. Please contact any member of the committee for help or advice on wildlife matters and we will attempt to help or to put you in touch with someone who can answer.

Website: Alan Hart (Warden) of Nature Park Janet Keene: Newsletter Delia Twamley: Planning

07901 120 308 Oxford 820522 Oxford 554636

CONTACTS FOR OTHER ORGANISATIONS Ashmolean Natural History Society of Oxfordshire (ANHSO): Alison McDonald 556651 Botanic Garden: Oxford 286690 British Trust for Conservation Volunteers 01296 330033 Butterfly Conservation: David Redhead Oxford 772520 Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) Christopher Gowers Oxford 512047 City's Countryside Sites or Biodiversity in Parks Oxford 252240 email: Forest of Oxford: John Thompson Oxford 513528 Friends of Aston’s Eyot (FAE) Ruth Ashcroft 01865 248344 Friends of CS Lewis Reserve (FoCSL) Helen d'Ayala Oxford 775476 Friends of Oxpens Meadow (FOM) Margaret Maden Oxford 721372 Friends of the Earth (Oxford): Jackie Walkden 07981 572629 Friends of the Trap Grounds (FoTG) Catherine Robinson Oxford 511307

Friends of Warneford Meadow (FoWM) Sietske Boeles Oxford 728153 Local Wildlife Trust (BBOWT): Oxford 775476 New Marston Wildlife Group Curt Lamberth 07763-191072 Oxford Conservation Volunteers (OCV): Jo 07887 928115 Oxfordshire Nature Conservation Forum (ONCF): Oxford 407034 Oxford Ornithological Soc. (OOS): Barry Hudson 01993 852028 Oxford Tree Club (OTC): Ian Gourlay Oxford 245864 Oxfordshire Badger Group: Julia Hammett Oxford 864107 Oxfordshire Bat Group: David Endacott 01235 764832 Rare Plants Group (RPG): Sue Helm 07774205972 Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB): Peter Wilkinson Oxford 452579 Science Oxford Live (SOL) Oxford 728953 Shotover Wildlife (SW): Chair: Ivan Wright Oxford 874423 SS Mary & John Churchyard Group, Ruth Conway, tel 723085 Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre (TVERC) Oxford 815451

UNIVERSITY of OXFORD – Department for Continuing Education UNIVERSITY of OXFORD – Department for Continuing Education Many of the Day and Weekend classes get booked up in advance. Here are some of the weekly classes that are advertised so do look on the website, in good time to see what is coming up that might interest you. WEEKLY MEETINGS Animal Diversity 10 weekly meetings starting on Tuesday 21 Jan 2014 from 7-9pm Biological Sciences. CATS points – 10. Fees from £175. Ewert House. Nature supports an impressively large number of animals that vary in form and function. In this introductory zoology course we will place this diversity in an evolutionary framework and look at animals ranging from primitive invertebrates to mammals. Birds of a feather: An introduction to ornithology 10 weekly meetings starting Wed 22 Jan 2014, 2-4pm Biological Sciences. CATS points – 10. Fees from £175. Ewert House. Birds are a diverse group that span beyond the visitors to our bird-tables. In this course we will explore aspects of bird biology, from diversity and evolutionary origin, through adaptations to the avian way of life, to bird behaviour and ecology. Birds of Oxfordshire 10 weekly meetings starting Wed, 16 Apr 14 7-9pm. Biological Sciences. CATS points – 10. Fees from £175. Rewley House The course will help students develop the skills needed to identify and record the characteristic birds of Oxfordshire, understand their ecology and habitats, and explore current threats and solutions to their conservation.

There are many excellent courses coming up these are just a few of the details so visit Rewley House for leaflets or for more information contact the Administrator, Day & Weekend Schools, OUDCE, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JA. Tel 01865 - 270380 or by email: Website:



JULY WORK PARTIES Boundary Brook Nature Park: Sundays between 10am and 1pm. Refreshments provided. Ring 07901 120 308 on day to ensure park will be open. Thursday 11: Oxford and Britain in Bloom. We were asked to enter Boundary Brook Nature Park but as the judges only have 3 hours to make a tour of Oxford we chose the option of sending in a written commentary with photos as a tour of the site would take too long. Watch out for the results! Saturday 13: Oxford Festival of Nature OUWG is joining in with a stall at West Oxford Fun Day. 1-5pm Come along and enjoy birds of prey, bat walks, tree trails, crayfish traps, worm charming and a walk through the moth tent! Admission: Free. Meet: Botley Park, Botley Rd OX2 0BT. Heading out of Oxford on the Botley Rd it is on the right shortly after the station, just before the traffic lights at the Ferry Hinksey junction. See p10 for other details of Bioblitz etc. Thursday 25: OUWG Annual General Meeting 6.30pm Jury Room, Oxford Town Hall. All members welcome.

AUGUST WORK PARTIES Boundary Brook Nature Park: Sundays between 10am and 1pm. Refreshments provided. Ring 07901 120 308 on day to ensure park will be open. Saturday 17: OUWG stall at Elder Stubbs Festival, Elder Stubbs Allotments, opposite Florence Park, Rymers Lane, Oxford OX4 3LB. Come and enjoy the festival – this unique local music festival on the East Oxford allotment site will draw the crowds and bring the community together in a way that only Elder Stubbs can. Wind your way through the apple trees and dinosaur sculptures for live music, arts performances, stalls, the vegetable show and kids’ activities. Do visit our stall and if you can spare an hour or so to help this would be excellent. 12-5pm.

SEPTEMBER WORK PARTIES Boundary Brook Nature Park: Sundays between 10am and 1pm. Refreshments provided. Ring 07901 120 308 on day to ensure park will be open. Sunday 15: Boundary Brook Open Day in conjunction with Oxford Open Doors. 2-5pm. There will be the usual guided walks, pond-dipping, book and plant stalls and activities for children. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. BOUNDARY BROOK NATURE PARK. Come and help us to manage the Nature Park. You can choose your task from a variety of jobs. A warm welcome guaranteed. You need not come for the whole time. Please ring on the day of the work party to ensure it has not been cancelled through bad weather etc. Contact: Alan Hart 07901 120 308. Please note new contact number. There is often someone working at Boundary Brook so, if you want to come at other times, find out who will be there and when by ringing Alan Hart but check before setting out to make sure it is still on. Bus route: Stagecoach Route 3.

OXFORD URBAN WILDLIFE GROUP If you wish to contact OUWG or would like to become a member write to the editor: Janet Keene, 7 Norwood Ave, Southmoor, Abingdon OX13 5AD or Tel: Oxford 820522. E-mail:

Registered charity no 1101126. Printed on paper from sustainable forests.

Oxford Wildlife News  

Summer 2013

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