Notices

We have moved!
 Please visit the new blog at the following address..

HTTPS://SWINDONBIRDANDWILDLIFE.WORDPRESS.COM

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New Email Address
15 Apr 17

As from today please send your sightings and images to swindon.birds.sightings@gmail.com

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Farewell
14 Apr 17

Well it's that time when all good things come to an end. But in this case I would like to think that even though I'm handing over the reins to Carl Hughes and Nigel Sluman on 15 April, that this isn't the end but actually an opportunity for the Swindon Birds and Wildlife Blog to move on from what started 8 years by my predecessor Steve Davies and continued by myself for the past 4 years.

Before I hand over to Carl and Nigel, I would just like to say that it has been an absolute pleasure running the Blog on your behalf. Without your sightings and wonderful images, there wouldn't have been a Blog so I thank you all for your wonderful contributions.

I have through phone calls, emails, tweets and facebook messages met, texted, phoned and emailed so many of you and made lots of friends in my time in Swindon and hopefully that will remain for years to come

And finally I would just like to wish Carl and Nigel the very best for the future as they take over the Blog, Facebook Group and SBaW Tweets.

Best Wishes to you all

Martin

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New Twitter Account
7 Apr 17


As most of you are aware I am in the process of handing over the reins of the Swindon Birds and Wildlife Blog, Twitter and Facebook Group.

Well the first transition has happened and we have a new Twitter Account which can be found in the right-hand panel and also at the foot of the Other Bird News Page Here.

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Moth Night
7 Apr 17

Tomorrow night its moth night in Marlborough More Info Below



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Car Broken Into
3 Apr 17


Yet again thieves are targeting parked cars at Folly Farm. Last Sunday (2 Apr) a car was broken into.

Please be vigilant and don't leave any valuables in your car.

If you are thinking of going, then a good tip is to take the parcel shelf off (if possible), to show that your boot is empty and likewise with the glove compartment. Hopefully at least any would be thief will ignore your car.

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A Wildlife App
28 Mar 17


The Cotswold Water Park have a new App. Intrigued click here for more info

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Blogger Vacancy
13 Mar 17


As you may or may not know, it looks very much like I will be moving. The house is on the market and we are just waiting for a buyer. So after nearly 4 years of running the Blog, it's time to move on and more importantly find someone willing to take on the running of it.

The beauty of Blogger is that it is transferable. Which means all you have to have is a google account and the Blog can be transferred.

There's no HTML involved, but you can use it if want and I'm quite happy to sit down with anybody interested in running the blog and go through how it all works.

So there we have it, if you're interested then please drop me an email to

swindon_birds_and_wildlife@live.co.uk

and we'll go from there.

Regards

Martin

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PondNet Spawn Survey 2017

Pondnet Survey. More info Here

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Waterhay
1 Mar 17


Car parking charges take effect here as from today. £1 per hour, unless you stay for more than 3 hours.

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Stanton Park - Car Parking Charges
24 Feb 17

With the successful implementation of car parking charges at Lydiard Park, the council are looking to see if it is appropriate to expand car parking charges to other parks. Investigation has taken place into the viability of introducing car parking charges at Stanton, Barbury Castle, Moulden Hill and Shaw Forest.

At this time the only park to be considered is Stanton.

Swindon Borough Council implemented a decision as part of the 2016/17 Budget Management and 2017/18 Draft Budget paper dated 7 December 2016, that a consultation exercise was to take place on the introduction of parking charges at Stanton Country Park with an expectation that charges could be implemented in spring 2017.

The consultation will run until Tuesday, 28 February 2017

More Here

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The Wiltshire Amphibian and Reptile Group
22 Feb 17

The Wiltshire Amphibian and Reptile Group are having a short meeting at The Bayberry pub in Wichelstowe, on Thursday 2nd March at 6:30pm,  followed by a check of drains, gulleys etc. for trapped toads, frogs and newts. They will also be arranging a survey at Coate and Nationwide. 

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BTO Garden Birdwatch Survey
18 Feb 17


Here's a great opportunity to take part with an ongoing Garden Birdwatch survey. It involves a weekly record of birds and indeed all other garden wildlife seen in your garden and then passing it onto the BTO.

There is a membership fee and for a limited period (while stocks last) you could recieve two books, Garden Birds and other Wildlife by Kate Risely and Clare Simm, and Gardening for Birdwatchers by Mike Toms, Ian and Barley Wilson.

More Info Here



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Hailstone Lakes
15 Feb 17

Is this the end of the amazing birds found at CWP Pits 68a/b. More on the sale of this section of Cleveland Lakes Nature Reserve on the CWP Blog Here.

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ARK Moth Nights


Action for the River Kennet (ARK) moth night dates for 2017 at Stonebridge Wild River Reserve, Marlborough. We usually run three traps and are joined by the County Moth Recorder.


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Swindon's Big Garden Birdwatch
28 - 30 Jan 17


As a bit of interest, until the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch Results are revealed, here are the Top Ten Garden Birds recorded in and around Swindon. Should be interesting to see how we compare with the UK Results.

1st     Blackbird
2nd    Starling
3rd     Wood Pigeon
4th     Blue Tit
5th     Robin
6th     House Sparrow
7th     Magpie
8th     Goldfinch
9th     Great Tit
10th   Collared Dove

In total there were 309 birds recorded of 29 species from 9 gardens in and around Swindon.

The most number of birds seen were Starlings with 58, followed by 51 House Sparrows, 34 Wood Pigeons and 26 Goldfinches.

The highest total of a species recorded in individual gardens were 22 Starlings (Toothill), followed by 12 House Sparrows (Haydon End), 11 House Sparrows (Nythe), 11 Goldfinch (Old Town), 11 Starlings (Haydon End) and 9 Long-tailed Tits (Liden).

Birds seen with totals were:

58 Starling
51 House Sparrow
34 Wood Pigeon
26 Goldfinch
16 Blackbird
14 Blue Tit
14 Magpie
13 Chaffinch
12 Jackdaw
10 Long-tailed Tit
9 Great Tit
9 Robin
7 Black-headed Gull
6 Dunnock
6 Greenfinch
5 Collared Dove
2 Bullfinch
2    Feral Pigeon
2 Goldcrest
2 Great Spotted Woodpecker
2 Lesser Black-backed Gull
2 Rook
1 Blackcap
1 Carrion Crow
1 Coal Tit
1 Grey Wagtail
1 Pied Wagtail
1 Song Thrush
1 Wren


Distribution Map and number of Species seen per Garden. (Map courtesy of Google Earth)

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Notes on Waxwings
12 Jan 17

1. Food plants. With Waxwings now in our region, now is the time to check out the local Rowans or other Sorbus trees, which they tend to favour. A few examples Here of Sorbus.

2.  More Info. More on Waxwings on the BTO website Here and the Discover Wildlife Site Here.

3. Where are they. Follow Wiltshire BirdGuides Here or Rare Bird Alert Here

4. Observations. A few, I hope, useful tips in making any Waxwing visit a successful one.

a. Since the arrival of the first Waxwings to the Swindon area, namely Highworth and Bristol Street, Swindon, its been quite obvious that these birds are partial to the yellow berries of the Sorbus Joseph Rock Tree or Yellow Berried Mountain Ash Tree as its also called.

b. When they are not feeding they like to rest up in tall trees, not apparent at Highworth, but something they were doing in the Railway Village. Apart from one occasion that I can recall, they always returned to the same tall tree to preen.

c. One of the triggers to motivate them into feeding again or certainly returning to their favoured berries, was the intervention of other birds. This was apparent with an observation made by Graham Cox, when a Magpie approached the Waxwings and they all took off. Instead of returning to the tall tree they circled over the village and either landed on the rooftops or in the berry trees in Bristol Street.

Later on when I observed the Magpie doing exactly the same thing, I immediately went back to Bristol Street and sure enough after a minute or so the Magpie had persuaded the Waxwings to fly off and they ended up landing in the tree above me.

d. Prior to any take-off Waxwings, "talk" to each other in a high pitched trill and then off they fly.

e. Hates. They don't like joggers, people shouting, dogs barking or Bus drivers honking their horns.

f. The don't minds. Twice they landed above me as I stood still under a tree and weren't put off by my hulk below them. And they didn't object to people walking past them either.

(Martin Adlam)

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Oak and Furrows Wildlife Centre
10 Jan 17

Whilst I was at Blakehill I dropped into the Oak and Furrows Wildlife Centre where I took newspaper and pet food for the Hedgehogs there.

There are 168 Hedgehogs there at the moment, with each having their own separate cage. They need daily changes of strips of newspaper and pet food. Everything is run on a voluntary basis and they rely entirely on contributions.

So worth supporting!!

More on the Oak and Furrows Wildlife Centre Here

(Felicity Cobb)

Hedgehog (Felicity Cobb)

Hedgehog (Felicity Cobb)

Hedgehog (Felicity Cobb)

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Owl Rescue Talk

Herefordshire Owl Rescue Talk
Monday 16th January 2017
7.30pm –Ellendune Community Centre, Wroughton, Swindon. 

The monthly meeting of the Wroughton & District Gardeners Club are hosting a talk from Hereford Owl Rescue whose work includes the rescue, welfare and protection of captive bred Owls from anywhere in the UK. 

The speakers will bring along some of their rescued owls to the talk and there may be an opportunity for some of the talk attendees to handle the owls under supervision. 

More information can be found on their website at: http://herefordowlrescue.co.uk/

Club members free of charge but all Visitors very welcome (£1 entry fee includes cup of tea or coffee!) 

The talk starts at 7.30 at the Ellendune Community Centre, SN4 9LW. Doors open from 7:00pm – all are welcome for a cuppa and a chat beforehand.

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Blakehill Wildlife Annual Report
5 Jan 17


The 2016 Annual Wildlife report for Blakehill Farm NR can be found Here

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Feeding Birds
25 Dec 16

The one thing you should never feed to the birds in Winter is Click Here

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Nythe Pool
22 Dec 16


It looks like there is a light at the end of the tunnel for Nythe Pool. Having spoken to Daryl the Area Manager for the Environment Agency this afternoon, it looks like the pool will be dredged and all the rubbish removed early next year. That is really good news for a pool that has been neglected for quite some time.

(Martin Adlam)

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A few Notices
20 Dec 16

1. Locations of Sightings can be found on the Main Bar above.

2. Links to Other Counties Bird News and Swindon Wildlife Sites can be found on the right hand Side-bar.

3. And finally the Review of the Year for 2016 can be found Here.

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Flight of the Swans


 - Follow Sacha Dench as she in turn follows the Bewick’s Swans from their Arctic breeding grounds back to the UK  - More Here

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Car Windows Smashed
14 Nov 16


Sadly it appears that thieves are targeting parked cars at Folly Farm. Last Sunday (13 Nov) 3 cars had their rear windows smashed.

Fortunately nothing was stolen from any of the vehicles, but please be vigilant and don't leave any valuables in your car.

If you are thinking of going, then a good tip is to take the parcel shelf off (if possible), to show that your boot is empty and likewise with the glove compartment. Hopefully at least any would be thief will ignore your car.

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Valuables
22 Sep 16

Over the past week or so a couple of cars have been broken into at Blakehill Farm NR. 

If you leave valuables in the car please hide them away and not in full display.

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WOS Trip

Date: Sunday 2 October 2016 at 9:30am

Venue: Portland and Weymouth area.

More InfoHere

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Savernake Forest Moth Night

CANCELLED

Date: Saturday, 1 Oct 16

Timings: 6:45pm til' late

Info: County moth recorder Dave Brotheridge demonstrates the special moths to be found in Autumn in Savernake Forest. This is a Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Swindon Supporter Group event.

If interested in this event please contact Robin Griffiths at robswildlife@)googlemail.com

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ARK Moth Night

Date: Friday, 30 Sep 16

Start: 7:00pm

Meet:  Scrub Area, Stonebridge Meadow, Stonebridge Lane, Marlborough - Location

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Stanton Park Moth Night

Date: Saturday 10th September at Stanton Country Park.

Meet: 8:00pm at the Rangers Centre.

It may be useful to bring a torch and wear warm cloths, and boots as it may turn chilly later in the evening.

Stanton Park is access via the A361 between Swindon and Highworth with the park entrance Here

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Links
5 Sep 16

Note: Blogger.com seem to be experiencing a links problem, which unfortunately means there is no access to Readers Corner, Species Records etc. Hopefully they will resolve this problem soon.

In the meantime links to Species Records, Readers Corner, Wildlife Sites and What is it can be found in the right-hand pane ------>

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Blog Update - formatting
3 Sep 16

July 2015, I opted out from adding the bold element to species recorded on the daily Blogs due to time constraints. However behind the scenes my predecessor Steve Davies has been working tirelessly over the past month or so, creating a macro which now allows me to format all the species of birds, butterflies, moths etc in one touch of a button. It really is clever and I can't thank Steve enough for his help.

So instead of formatting species like this - First for year Blackcap, it will now look like this in bold Blackcap. If it was mega/of interest it will be in magenta Blackcap, and if its been seen before during the year it will look like this Blackcap. (MA)

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ARK Moth Night



17 Aug 16 at 8:15pm

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Stanton Park Moth Night

Stanton Park

Saturday 13th August at Stanton Country Park.

Meet at 8:00pm at the Rangers Centre. Many species of moths will be caught and displayed showing the diversity of these interesting insects. This is an ideal event to bring children who are interested in wildlife. Owls may be heard and Bats should be seen.

It may be useful to bring a torch and wear warm cloths, and boots as it may turn chilly later in the evening.

Stanton Park is access via the A361 between Swindon and Highworth with the park entrance Here

Note: There will be another Moth Night Here on Saturday 10th September meet at 19:00

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Bioblitz Results 2016
2 Jul 16

The Results

This year’s national Garden BioBlitz was held over the weekend of the 4-5 June. Supported by Springwatch and the BBC’s Do Something Great campaign, scores of enthusiastic naturalists braved unpredictable weather to see what else called their gardens home. Four week on, and we’re ready to announce the results.

A grand total of 1,292 species were spotted, plus a couple of hundred at genus or family level. In total 93 people submitted a whopping 6,007 records, of which 5,389 were identified to species. 

For the full results, go to our Information Centre

Insects: 606 species
Plants: 572
Other invertebrates: 189
Birds: 75
Lichens: 30
Fungi: 23
Mammals: 22
Amphibians and reptiles: 23
Fish: 3

Highlights

Unsurprisingly, more invertebrates were seen than anything else (97% of animal species are invertebrates, after all!), but an impressive 22 mammal species were also seen – not too far off half the British species. Badgers turned up in several gardens, along with foxes, both Roe and Fallow deer, and even Brown Hare, slow-worms, and a wild brown trout were recorded!

Six of the top ten most-recorded species were birds, with the blackbird edging out the house sparrow and robin for top spot. The garden snail was the most frequently recorded invertebrate in 4th place, ahead of the blue tit, tree bumblebee, and wood pigeon: daisy, in 8th place, was the best-recorded plant while the Marmalade hoverfly and Goldfinch rounded out the top 10.

The Tree bumblebee only arrived in Britain in 2001 but has since spread rapidly across much of the UK and does particularly well in gardens. 2016 seems to be a poor year for helpful insects generally: the next commonest bumblebee species – the common carder – was down in 33rd place and the commonest ladybird (7-spot) was in 20th, seen in only a third of gardens.

What’s next?

If the Garden Bioblitz has given you a taste for wildlife recording and citizen science, the BNHC website has a list of all the site-based bioblitzes happening across the country. Alternatively, you can always use the iRecord website or app to record the wildlife you see around you on a daily basis – it’s amazing how the sightings can stack up!

The Garden BioBlitz Team
@GardenBioblitz

The GardenBioBlitz is run by a small team of passionate volunteers:

Jane Adams @WildlifeStuff
Richard Comont @RichardComont
Liz Drewitt @lillanature
John van Breda @JohnVanBreda
Ryan Clark @Ryanclarknature

If you are interested in helping us out with next year's event, please get in touch.

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ARK River Kennet Moth Night


Moth night on 1 Jul 16

More Details Here

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Car Park Charges
16 Jun 16

Proposal to introduce parking charges at Lydiard Park and Coate water to be considered by Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet. More Here

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New Blog
7 Jun 16


I have created a new Readers Corner Blog. With so many fantastic stories, holiday reports, trip reports etc. I thought it only fair that each one should have its own page and not lost in a huge page as it has been for the past few years. Readers Corner Here

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National Garden Bioblitz

The Bioblitz is a list of all the wildlife you can find in your garden over a 24 hour period. Don't worry, you don't need to Blitz for 24 hours non-stop (or have any special wildlife skills) - this isn't an endurance challenge, just some wildlife fun!

All you need to do is go out at different times of the day, take lots of photographs and upload what you've seen to our special recording website - iRecord. We'll even help you identify what you find!

The next Garden Bioblitz will be taking place over the weekend 4th-5th June 2016.

For more info follow the link Here

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Cotswold Water Park Walk


Wings and Wildflower Walk
Date: Sat 4 Jun 16

Time: 10:00am

Location: Lower Moor Farm, SN16 9TW

More Info Here
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Swindon Museum and Art Gallery

Great Bustard talk

The Reintroduction of the Great Bustard to the UK by Lynne Derry.

The Great Bustard Group are reintroducing the heaviest flying bird in the world back to the UK after becoming extinct from these shores in the mid 1800's due mainly to hunting.

As with any reintroduction there have been lows but some pretty spectacular highs too. Lynne Derry will take us through the history of this magical bird in Wiltshire and the Salisbury plain.

More Here

Day: Thursday 26 May 7.30 pm.

Doors: Open 7.00 pm

Tickets: Available from SM&AG 01793 466556

Cost:£5 friends of SM&AG and £7 non friends

(Ray Ward, vice Chair Friends of SM&AG)

Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
Bath Road
Swindon
SN1 4BA

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Social Media
21 May 16


We are now on Social Media with both Facebook and Twitter where additional local sightings and images will hopefully be found.
   


I must thank Nigel Sluman for coming up with the idea of the Facebook Page and for letting me run with it. I have no idea how this will pan out, but for those of you that use Facebook, hopefully it will be a useful tool in passing on information and photos quicker than I can place them on the main SBaW Blog.

We also have a Twitter Account for all you tweeters, so please feel free to use this as well.

As the Social Media applications are linked, I may at times use sightings and images from them both to add to the main Blog.

(Martin Adlam)

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Local Events
29 Apr 16

Swindon Events this year
More Here

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New Project
29 Apr 16

The British Dragonfly Society have launched a new project to look at trending dragonflies in the UK
More Here

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2016 - RSPB Garden Watch Results

Click Here for the 2016 RSPB Garden Bird Results

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Car Park Charges
7 Feb 16

Plans to lease Lydiard Park and House will move forward at next week’s cabinet meeting, while plans to introduce car parking charges there and Coate Water have also been announced.

The car parking charges would be implemented between June and September for trial periods following a consultation with park users, local residents and stakeholders.

The level of parking charges has not yet been announced.

More Here

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Lydiard Park
6 Jan 16

Sadly it looks like Lydiard Park is about to be taken over by an external commercial organisation, in a bid to save Swindon Borough Council from spending money on one of Swindon's iconic parkland's. If you disagree with this proposal then there is a petition, were you can voice your opinion.

Link Here

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Happy New Year
1 Jan 16

All the new Species Lists are up on the Blog now and hopefully the new links work. If however you come across any broken ones or anomalies, then please let me know.

Best Wishes to you all for 2016.

(Martin Adlam)

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Merry Christmas
25 Dec 15

Click Here for a summary of 2016

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Burglary
11 Nov 15

I had several Canon lenses stolen from house whilst I was away on holiday. If you hear anything or are offered a Canon lens/s then please email Martin at:

swindon_birds_and_wildlife@live.co.uk

or use the blogger contact form on the right.

I have all the serial numbers, so they can be traced. Thank you.

(Mike Ford)

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Another Gallery
12 Oct 15

We now have an Insect gallery, excluding moths and butterflies. At the moment it has dragonflies and damselflies but will in time cover all the other insects found in and around Swindon.

So to date we know have galleries for: Birds, Butterflies, Moths and Insects

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Galleries
28 Sep 15

I'm pleased to say that I have finally completed the galleries of all the Birds, Butterflies and Moths Recorded in and around Swindon since May 2013.

I have also tried to reduce the number of tabs on each of the sites to help with navigation. In most cases there will be links to the Home Page, The Main SBaW Site and Galleries where applicable.

As ever, if you find a broken link or a glitch, then please let me know. (Martin Adlam)

The 3 new galleries are: Birds, Butterflies and Moths

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Swindon Borough Council
2015

The council are holding many outdoor activities this year and below are just a few that are coming up soon. A comprehensive list can be found Here

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SBaW Moths Systematic Checklist
13 Sep 15

After 4 weeks of putting together a checklist and gallery of all the moths sent in by SBaW contributors (since 19 May 13), I have finally added the last moth to the list. As it stands as today the number of species is an impressive 402.

All the images are courtesy of SBaW contributors, but as you will see there are quite a few missing. So if you do have any missing images or find a new species, then please forward them to: swindon_birds_and_wildlife@live.co.uk


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Bird Gallery
22 Jul 15

After several weeks I have finally put together a species gallery of birds seen within a 10 mile radius of Swindon, which can be found Here. The idea being was to produce a "quick"  ID of bird species found locally that readers could use knowing that in most part the species listed has at one time or another been seen locally. Unfortunately there are a few images missing, so if anyone has an image that we could use, then please feel free to send it in for inclusion.

What I thought might be an easy task has actually taken considerably longer than I first envisaged. The main reason being there have been so many fantastic images sent in, choosing just one for each species has not been easy. So I apologise now if none of your images have been included. If it had been possible I would have created one page per species and added all of your wonderful images.

Hopefully this page will prove to be a useful aid as I hope my next task will be, and that is local moths, which as of today stands at an incredible 318.  (Martin Adlam)

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Bee Hotel
21 Jul 15

Great article today in the Daily Telegraph on how to make a bee hotel. More Here.

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Blog Update - formatting

I have been absolutely thrilled to bits to see how well the the Swindon Birds and Wildlife Blog has faired since I took over the reins from Steve Davies in May 13. The sightings, photos and support has been absolutely brilliant, so much so that I actually need to change the format just slightly.

Instead of formatting species seen before this year in Black bold, new for year in Red bold and mega/of interest in Magenta bold, I will be removing the bold element to the formatting. Hopefully, not only will this speed up the process of updating the Blog, but hopefully eliminate errors I've made previously.

I hope this change doesn't spoil the way in which you view the sightings pages, but if the general consensus of opinion is that it's not a good change, then I will revert back to the bold formatting. (MA)

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We Transfer
1 Jul 15


I'm sure there've been occasions where it's not been possible for you to send in images to this Blog, when using your personal email account, but I do have an alternative and that is an excellent program called We Transfer. Not only is it quick, but it also means you don't have to reduce the file size of your images, as it can transfer files up to 2GB.

Now I'm not suggesting you send in images that size, but it does mean that the quality of your images being sent in won't be compromised, because you've had to reduce the size for emailing.

It's just a thought and and if you fancy using it, then just follow the link Here.

It is very simple to use and within 4 steps, your images can be transferred within seconds. If you click on the image below there are 4 easy steps to use, 5 if you want to send a message as you will see. (Martin Adlam)

To view the instructions on how to use We Transfer, just click on the image for easier reading.

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Missing Camera
30 May


A GoPro Camera went missing at Stanton Park on Saturday 30 May 15. The owner was putting out seeds to attract birds to photograph, but as he turned to pick up his camera, it was gone. At the time a local birdwatcher, who is known to him had walked past earlier and may have picked up the camera thinking it was lost! If the local birder did pick up the camera or saw anyone walking around with a camera similar to the image below, please would they contact SBaW Blog via the Message Form on the Blog Here, I know the owner would be very grateful. The camera looks very similar to the one below.


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Malware Virus 11 Feb 15


Unfortunately there is a potentially dangerous malware virus going around at the moment and yesterday and today I received 6, which were sent to me without the senders knowledge.

This is what the message looks like and is from WhatsApp

Whatever you do, do not click play or as it asks save in your inbox as this could infect your computer with the malware virus.

If you use WhatsApp and want to know where the message came from then visit this website Here which explains what to do.

What you MUST NOT DO is click the left mouse button on the word Play

The image above is not linked to WhatsApp and is a screen-grab and perfectly safe to click on.(Martin Adlam)

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Petition
4 Jan 15


Natural England are giving people the right to kill Robins and destroy their nests and eggs. 

More Here on this story from BBC Countryfile
and
another possible reason outlined Here

plus

A petition Here.


Note: The comments and rationale given above by the BBC Countryfile, Tom Pride and the Petitions Site are not in any way the views of the SBaW Blog, as I will always try to maintain some sort of impartiality. However I have shared this with you all, so that you can make up your own minds on what is a very sensitive subject. Thank you to Felicity Cobb for bringing this to my attention  (Martin Adlam) 

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Images not being displayed on Blog
10 Dec 14


I have just spoken to Virgin Digital Home Support. The hierarchy in Virgin management have decided that there are too many harmful things being shown on blogger.com accounts which include Pornography, Hate, Violence, Drugs, Crime, Hacking crime, Self-harm and Suicide. All these are what the Virgin Childsafe option is used for (under Websafe) to prevent your child from viewing them. Apparently there are Bloggers that are overstepping the line and that's why images are not being displayed on Blogs. So if your a Virgin Media user like myself and you want to view perfectly safe images on a blogger page, you have to turn the Childsafe option to off. If you have children and they use Tablets etc. you may need to set up some sort of parental control on that device. Hope this helps!

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England's Tree of the Year
18 Nov 14

Wiltshire's Big Belly Oak in Savernake Forest has been shortlisted for 'England's Tree of the Year.' If it comes top in a public vote, it will compete against other trees across the continent. More on this ancient Oak Tree Here.

The Result is in

Woodland Trust

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Wiltshire and Swindon Biological Records Centre

Please tell WSBRC about the wildlife that you see!

Many people enjoy watching wildlife but they may not realise the value of recording their sightings and passing the information on to their local records centre. Wiltshire and Swindon Biological Records Centre (WSBRC) is a not-for-profit partnership which collates, manages and shares information on the wildlife and habitats of Wiltshire and Swindon. This information is shared with many different organisations and individuals in order to help protect wildlife in variety of ways.

An important use of data held by WSBRC is to inform the planning process. WSBRC provides a planning screen service for our local planning authorities, through which we report on planning applications which coincide with important areas for biodiversity. We also provide a data enquiry service, which developers and ecological consultants can use so that they may gain a better understanding of the wildlife importance of potential development sites.

The data that we hold is obtained from a variety of sources but most of our species records are collected by volunteers. Contributors to the Swindon Birds and Wildlife Blog can play an important part in safeguarding the wildlife that they enjoy watching by submitting their records to WSBRC.

WSBRC is championing the Living Record online recording system for general recording of wildlife sightings throughout Wiltshire and Swindon. Living Record allows individuals and groups to keep their own online records system, view their records on a map, export this data and access a selection of distribution maps. All records submitted via Living Record are directly accessible to WSBRC and designated verifiers, which means that records can be processed more quickly and easily. Since WSBRC started using Living Record last summer over 10,000 records have been added online!

Find out more about WSBRC and how easy it is to submit your records by visiting our website Here.

Alison Mitchell
WSBRC Biological Records Officer

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BTO Wetland Bird Survey

The BTO have many surveys and one which is extremely important to them is the Wetland Bird Survey - WeBS. There are many sites the BTO would interested in so if you find one that hasn't been covered then please visit the BTO Website and sign up for this survey.

For further information on WeBS please follow the link here.

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Dead Swan at Liden lagoon

10 Sep 14 - Update
It appears that two men/youths had two Staffie/ Pitbull type dogs and set them to attack the Mute Swan - it didn't die straight away but swam to the smaller island where it supposedly died.

I can't verify the following statement but apparently "the Council were called and they said there was nothing they would do it about it and it would just be left to nature."

As I say I can't be sure if the Council were contacted or not, but I have passed all this on to the RSPCA and hopefully they will be looking into this further. Personally I would think this didn't go unnoticed by other members of the public, so hopefully the perpetrators of this barbaric act will be brought to justice. (Martin Adlam)


2 Sep 14
As most of you may have read (Blog Entry 1 Sep 14) I was aware that one of the adult Mute Swans at Liden Lagoon was missing, when I visited the water that day. I spoke to a number of locals and it appears that up until 2 weeks ago there were 2 adults and 3 juveniles. However the remains of a charred bird with lots of white feathers lying around were seen by one walker who was kind enough to email me a photograph of what appears to be a Swans leg. The photograph was taken between 23 - 26 Aug.

I have spoken to the RSPCA and they are desperate to find out what happened to this bird. If evidence is available to prove that one of the Swans was killed and set alight, they would like to know so that criminal charges can be made against the perpetrators of this heinous act against a wild bird. 

So if you have any information on what happened around the 23 Aug at Liden Lagoon, then please email me at swindon_birds_and_wildlife@live.co.uk or use the blogger contact form on the right. All information will remain confidential and passed onto the RSPCA criminal investigation team. (Martin Adlam)

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Garden BioBlitz 2014

A fantastic success!
Over the weekend of 31st May - 1st June, the second nationwide Garden Bioblitz to survey the wildlife of Britain’s gardens took place. For 24 hours, people all over the UK scoured their gardens for wildlife of all shapes and sizes; ­ birds in the trees, ants in the lawn, bees on flowers, and the trees and flowers themselves were all spotted and recorded.

The Results
The results are now in! The big difference in 2014 versus 2013 was the increase in warmth-loving insects - moths, flies, ladybirds (20 species!), bees (17 species of bumblebee this year!), and the decrease in abundance of cold/moisture-loving species of mollusc, crustacean (mostly woodlice) & amphibians. You can see the same thing with records per recorder (up from 43 to 50) and species per recorder (more than doubled from 3.5 to 8.5).

To see the full results go to our Information Centre.

Plants - 550 species
Insects - 640 species
Other invertebrates - 177 species
Birds - 75 species
Lichens - 56 species
Fungi - 40 species
Mosses and liverworts - 27 species
Mammals - 23 species
Amphibians and reptiles - 8 species
Fish - 2 species

For more highlights and how to carry on submitting records just follow the link Here

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Please help us do more

Here at the BTO we are trying to increase our Membership and feel you are likely to know someone or several people interested in birds who are not members of our family. Why not ask them to try Membership for the rest of the year for just £1? There is no obligation to stay beyond that, but I obviously hope they will want to! 

There are two stories just this week that show how Member’s money benefits birds:

Understanding the reasons for decline of Spotted Flycatcher, Redstarts and Wood Warblers, Link Here

Ground breaking Cuckoo tracking project. Here

If you forward this message on they can click the button below to join, or find out more about the offer and our prize draw by following this link Here

Thank you and Good Luck from the BTO

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Unlawful killing of raptors on Grouse Moors

There is a long history of raptor persecution on Grouse moors and the RSPB have been covering this topic for many years now. See Leaflet. However the killing of raptors is now getting worse and there is now a petition to try and stop this unnecessary practice.

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Barn Owl Trust

The Barn Owl Trust has set up a petition to stop the poisoning of Britain’s Barn Owls. Scientific research has shown that in 2013, across Britain, the number of Barn Owl nests varied between 45 and 95% lower than normal. Changing climate and habitat loss is part of the picture but Barn Owls are also being killed by powerful rat poisons used on farms across the country. (Thank you to Richard Williams for sending this in)

More on this Here

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Polite Notice

Hi all, my apologies for this notice but I am really struggling to correctly label some of your wonderful photographs you are sending in.

If you could possibly save them with the insects name i.e. blistbeet.jpg or indicate that image no. 1234 is a Blister Beetle for example, I would really appreciate it. This also applies to fungi, flowers etc.

However if you're unsure of what it is, then still send it in as we have a lot of contributors to this Blog that don't mind helping out with the identification process.

For that reason any images not identifiable by myself or indeed by our resident experts, will appear on the "What is it" Blog Here.

Thank you in advance for your help with this. Martin