Pond dipping Froyle 14th July 2024

Family fun –join us for a 1h dipping session on Sunday 14th July starting at 10am or 11.15am to see what underwater creatures we can find in the wildlife pond near Gid Lane, Upper Froyle. Children will need to be accompanied by a responsible adult. All equipment will be provided and numbers are limited so it is essential to book by emailing info@froylewildlife.co.uk, stating preference for 10am or 11.15am session.

 

‘Drop-in’ at Froyle wildlife pond 13th July 2024

Call in anytime between 10am and 4pm on Saturday 13th July to visit the wildlife pond and meadow, near Gid Lane, Upper Froyle. There should be plenty to see especially if it’s a sunny day.
Members of Froyle Wildlife will be on hand to assist with identification of wildflowers, dragonflies and butterflies. Wildflower species to look out for include; knapweed, lady’s bedstraw, sainfoin, self heal, purple loosestrife, water figwort and bird’s-foot trefoil. Last year on the ‘drop-in’- day 17 species of butterfly were noted including Small Copper, Brown Argus, Small Tortioseshell and Painted Lady. Other creatures seen included Dark Bush-cricket, Roesel’s Bush- cricket, 14-spot Ladybird, Tawny Longhorn beetles and Dock Bug. No need to book, anyone can just pop in and see what you can spot.

Guided bird walk and Froyle woodland 28th April 2024

Keith Betton, chair of Hampshire Ornithological Society and former Hampshire Bird Recorder, will be leading a guided bird walk in Froyle. Keith is an entertaining and highly knowledgeable guide. Please note the change of date to the 28th April.
The walk will start at Froyle Village Hall at 9am and is expected to last approximately 2.5 hours. We will be walking up Bamber Lane towards Yarnhams. Froyle Estate have kindly agreed to allow us access to Hawkins Wood, which is ancient semi-natural woodland; this is shown on a 1771 inventory of Froyle woods. Ancient semi-natural woods are woods that have developed naturally. Most have been used by humans – often managed for timber and other industries over the centuries – but they have had woodland cover for over 400 years. We will be able to explore which birds are within Hawkins wood, and hopefully the bluebells will be in bloom.
Binoculars will be useful for bird spotting, and appropriate footwear in case it’s muddy. Please feel free to bring your own refreshments. All welcome on the walk but no dogs please.

 

Summary of the walk: Despite the inclement unseasonal weather, Froyle Wildlife was fortunate to have Keith Betton lead us on an informative and entertaining guided bird walk up Bamber Lane in Froyle. Keith is chair of Hampshire Ornithological Society, and has extensive avian knowledge. Thanks to his observations we were able to see and/or hear twenty eight different species of birds. We also learnt various characteristics of their life and behaviour.
List of species:
Rooks; Woodpigeons; Blackbird; Robin; House Sparrow; Starling; Song thrush; Wren; Linnets; Skylark; Dunnock; Chiffchaff; Chaffinch; Great Tit; Nuthatch; Blue Tit; Kestrel; Goldfinch; Greenfinch; Collared Dove; Red Kite; Long Tailed Tit; Blackcap; Tree Pippet; Pheasant; Magpie; Coal Tit; Jackdaw.
We were very lucky to see a Tree pipit, with it’s unusual characteristic behaviour of singing while it ‘parachuted’ down to the ground . This is a red listed bird that will have migrated back to the UK this year from Central Africa, and is not commonly seen. Thanks to Froyle Estate we were able to explore Hawkins Wood, with it’s carpets of bluebells to admire. Even though the weather was more typical for a February cold day, all attendees enjoyed the event, and were very grateful for Keith’s time, knowledge and dialogue throughout the walk. Hopefully there will be an improvement in the Spring weather soon for the birds!

Jayne Fisher

‘My Life with Raptors’ talk 21st March 2024

Anita Ebdon, professional falconer and owner of Hampshire Hawk Walks will be speaking about her passion for falconry and bringing some of her birds to meet us at our Froyle Wildlife meeting in March.  Anita will offer us an insight into her daily life, living and working alongside these amazing creatures, how her journey into falconry began and how much her life has changed since acquiring her first hawk.

Anita will give us a deeper understanding of the differences between different species and explain why the Harris’s hawk is such a firm favourite for her.

All welcome, Froyle Village Hall doors open 7pm, talk starts at 7.30pm, entrance free for members, £3 non-members, teas and coffee.

Review of the talk. Anita was accompanied by four of her feathered ‘family’ to give us a fascinating and enjoyable talk on falconry, which is the hunting of prey with birds.
Anita’s first experience of birds of prey (defined as birds that hunt and catch prey with their talons) was on a falconry experience day, where she flew a Harris’s Hawk. This prompted her to forget about getting a dog as a pet, and instead adopted a Harris’s Hawk! Anita now has 9 birds and admits it is a full-time job looking after them. This includes weighing each bird every morning with the aim of maintaining their ideal flying weight. All her birds are allowed to hunt as this is their natural behaviour.
We met London, a 25-year old male Harris’s Hawk (from cowboy country in America), Anita’s favourite of her birds. These hawks are unusual in that they hunt in ‘packs’, working as a team where the males locate their prey, and the females execute the kill. Females are bigger than males, so they are definitely the boss! London is intelligent and is good for hawk walks as he will follow you around the walk.
Willow the Barn Owl is only 9 months old and has been with Anita since she was a 10-day old chick. She is imprinted, so considers Anita to be her mum. A Barn Owls life is all about sound; they have the most sensitive hearing of any bird and are considered the silent hunter, having jagged edges to their feathers enabling silent flight. Despite this, Willow has not caught anything yet.
Texas is a Red-tailed Hawk that breeds throughout most of North America. Texas will catch grey squirrels, although he is both lazy and stubborn according to Anita. Hawks are different to falcons in that they have ‘bendy’ feathers that are adapted to crash down to the ground and into the undergrowth where they catch their prey. Falcons by contrast have stiff feathers and longer wings, ideal for catching prey in mid-air with a beak and feet adapted to hanging on to, and killing, their prey.
Finally, Dougal the Kestrel was on his best behaviour during the evening, perching calmly on his stand despite being considered the nautiest of Anita’s birds. He also has an amazing personality. He is 9-years old and has been with Anita for 2-years. Captive Kestrels can be expected to live for 10-15 years. They are very territorial birds and will typically lock talons and fight any Kestrel intruders on their patch.
Thanks went to Anita for an entertaining and memorable evening.
Alan Dyos

 

AGM and talk ‘Froyle’s pond and meadow’ 23rd November 2023

The Froyle Wildlife Annual General Meeting is on Thursday 23rd November at 7.30pm in the Village Hall. Find out what wildlife has been about during the year and your comments are welcomed on events for 2024. The wildlife pond and meadow area near Gid Lane was constructed in 2016, enjoy a pictorial talk about it’s development over the years to become a biodiversity hotspot in Froyle. Talk entitled ‘The Story of a Froyle wildlife pond’ by Barry Clark.

All welcome, Froyle Village Hall doors open 7pm, AGM pictorial review starts at 7.30pm, followed by pond talk, entrance free for members, £3 non-members, teas and coffee.

‘Fabulous Fungi in Hampshire’ talk, 14th September 2023

From the beautiful to the stinky to the deadly poisonous, appreciate the variety of fungi that can be seen when you are out and about in Hampshire. Photographer Rosemary Webb will show us that fungi are not only amazing organisms but also play a vital role in nature to recycle matter.

Doors open Froyle Village Hall 7pm for talk to start at 7.30pm. All welcome, teas/coffee, entrance £3 for non members, members free.

Some text below is copied in part from ‘your guide to fascinating UK fungi’. They come in many different forms such as moulds, mildew, yeasts and mushrooms. They also come in a huge variety of sizes – from microscopic mould spores to the massive silent organisms which live in the soils beneath our feet.
Fungi can be found in just about any habitat but are mainly found on land. Many live in our soils or on decaying organic matter, such as leaf litter, dead wood or animal droppings. Wilder spaces, where we haven’t disturbed the soil or tidied up too much, are a good place to go on a fungi hunt. These include ancient or old woodlands, grasslands and some parks and gardens.
Why are fungi important? Put simply, without fungi, there would be no circle of life. The different types play different roles but quite a lot of them help to break down plants, dead animals and droppings so nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus are recycled into healthy soils. Healthy soil means healthy plants, which in turn provide food for insects, animals, birds and us.

Pond dipping Froyle, 11th and 13th August 2023

Updated on Thursday 10th August: the Friday sessions are now fully booked but there are spaces remaining for Sunday.

Family fun –join us for a 1h dipping session on Friday 11th and Sunday 13th August to see what underwater creatures we can find in the wildlife pond near Gid Lane, Upper Froyle (see location plan).  Children will need to be accompanied by a responsible adult.  All equipment will be provided and numbers are limited so it is essential to book by emailing info@froylewildlife.co.uk, stating preference for 10 am or 11.15 am session.

Moth identification evening Froyle 16th July 2023

Find out what flies after dark? Join us on Sunday 16th July, for a bat and moth evening jointly with Alton Natural History Society meeting at Froyle Church then on to the Wildlife Pond area, starting 8.30pm until late. Warm clothing and torch are useful and do leave or arrive at the pond area at whatever time you wish. There are nearly 2000 species of moth that occur in Hampshire. Moths and butterflies are useful indicator species for the health of our natural environment.

Please note that weather conditions greatly affect the number of moths flying so we hope for a warm evening, ideally with some cloud and not too windy. Some of the larger hawkmoths may not arrive until after 11pm.

What did we see? Under the trees of Gid Lane we soon started hearing and seeing bats with good aerobatic display of several Pipistrelles (both Common and Soprano) and the characteristic zipping noise as they found insects to eat. We also heard Noctule and bats from the Myotis family. At the wildlife pond area the temperature started at 14C and went down to 12C, so it was good that we saw as many moths as we did. The list of 19 species included Black Arches, Mother of Pearl, Nut-tree Tussock, Swallow-tailed and Ghost Moths.

 

‘Drop-in’ at Froyle wildlife pond 8th July 2023

Call in anytime between 10am and 4pm on Saturday 8th July to visit the wildlife pond and meadow, near Gid Lane, Upper Froyle. There should be plenty to see especially if it’s a sunny day.
Members of Froyle Wildlife will be on hand to assist with identification of wildflowers, dragonflies’ and butterflies. Wildflower species to look out for include; knapweed, lady’s bedstraw, sainfoin, self heal, purple loosestrife, water figwort and bird’s-foot trefoil. Last year on the ‘drop-in’- day 15 species of butterfly and 8 species of dragonfly/damselfly were noted; ladybirds, hoverflies, bees and grasshoppers were also seen. No need to book, anyone can just pop in and see what you can spot.

How did the day turn out? The weather forecast was unsettled at best so it was with some foreboding that we packed up the car in the morning to go to the pond area and meadow near Gid Lane. We had barely finished setting up the gazebo and display boards when the heavens opened and the rain poured down accompanied by thunder and lightning – we regretted not putting the gazebo sides on. Fortunately after two and a half hours the rain ceased and we had our first two visitors who were Swiss and were on route hiking from Winchester to Canterbury.
Gradually a few more visitors arrived as the weather warmed up. The sun also brought the insects out, the most numerous and colourful were the butterflies with 17 species noted including Small Copper, Brown Argus, Small Tortioseshell and Painted Lady, the latter species being migrants from North Africa. Other creatures spotted included Dark Bush-cricket, Roesel’s Bush- cricket, 14-spot Ladybird, Tawny Longhorn beetles, Spotted Longhorn beetles and Dock Bug.

Walk around Noar Hill SSSI 16th May 2023

Join us for a walk on Tuesday 16th May 2pm – 4pm at Noar Hill SSSI when we hope to see several species of butterfly, including the Duke of Burgundy Fritillary. This 20 hectare nature reserve, managed by Hampshire Wildlife Trust, was originally formed by medieval chalk workings. Over hundreds of years the mounds and hollows were colonised by a great variety of beautiful chalk downland flowers now rare in the wider countryside.

Meet there 2pm or preferably share lifts from Froyle Village Hall leaving at 1.30pm. as there is very limited roadside parking, OS grid reference SU737321 near Charity Farm. Note that warm weather is needed so the date may change at short notice.

Short summary after the walk. We were delighted to see 9 species of butterfly including the Duke of Burgundy Fritillary on our walk at Noar Hill. With the sun shining most of the time, Holly Blues flitted about the bushes and on short vegetation we caught sight of Dingy Skipper (an unfortunate name for a lovely small butterfly). Then we spotted something buzzing around our feet -the solitary bee Osmia Bicolor. We observed this bee flying with small pieces of debris to put on its nest for camouflage where the eggs are laid in an empty snail shell.

Michelle, Andrew and Charles sent us a few photos that they had taken.
We eventually found several Duke of Burgundy perching on cowslips after only having fleeting glimpses of them flying past earlier. The caterpillar food plants are primrose and cowslip mainly on chalk grassland and preferably in sheltered locations. Other butterflies seen on the day were Brimstone, Orange Tip, Small Blue, Comma and Red Admiral while one person also spotted Green Hairstreak and Speckled Wood. Many of these species can also be seen in Froyle if you look out for them on a sunny day

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