Our wildlife still needs YOU! - judging by the number of Eynshamers passing Long Mead on their ‘one form of exercise’, we need it too, and more than ever. Although Nature Recovery’s skills workshops have been postponed, we have been testing ID apps to help you get your hand in at surveying (if you need to) since understanding the state of nature in the Parish is the critical first step for the Nature Recovery Project.
For plant ID, we looked at these apps: Picture This and PlantNet – you take a photo and the app identifies it for you. They are not 100% accurate but quite good and, if you use, both you can see where the discrepancies are. There is also Seek, which purports to identify all plants, birds, butterflies and everything else through photos. For birds, the Collins app of British Birds is the best and there is another great app called Chirp, which helps you learn your birdsong, with graded tests as you improve your skills.
So (stuck as we all are at home) we thought we could come together (in spirit) in our own gardens once a week to do a Great Garden Bird Survey for Eynsham for the duration of the blockade. This will be an amazing opportunity to get a comprehensive picture of the birds that currently live with us in the Village.
This is what we propose:
Sunday 5 April, 10.00am, we all sit in our gardens for half an hour enjoying our birds (or at the window if it is more comfortable), noting what they are and how many they are (and then again, same time same place, until Corvid19 lets us out!). You might want to note the bush or tree that you see them in as this information will inform decisions that you make in the future about changes to your garden.
You need to record your data under the following headings: address, date and time, weather, bird species, bird numbers, comments. It would be useful if you could provide a brief description (or annotated map) of your garden – how big it is, what trees and shrubs you have, what proportion is lawn/flowerbeds/veg patch, if you have stone walls/brick walls/fence, whether you have a pond, bird boxes, a bird table and if so what you feed your birds.
We will send all our records to the British Trust for Ornithology to help with their national research on garden birds.
1. Please email your records to Sally Taylor - firstname.lastname@example.org (and copy: email@example.com) with the subject line: Great Garden Bird Survey. If you can’t email your records, keep them safe and we’ll collect them in due course.
2. If you are not certain of a particular bird don’t include it in the count – you can email us a picture (if you can) and we’ll help identify it.
3. If you can’t make Sunday at 10.00am, any half an hour during the week will be fine.
Eynsham Online leads the way (again): Responding to our environment and climate crisis, Eynsham Online has made a new section in its Directory: Biodiversity & Climate Change, with 13 organisations and groups listed.
Nature Recovery website needs your Eynsham nature photos. The construction of the Nature Recovery website has nearly got to the stage when it needs your engagement. Now, it needs your photos of Eynsham Parish's wildlife and your involvement with it - historic nature activities are particularly welcome, as are pictures of your 'favourite nature spaces' as marked on the map in the Market Garden. Please email them or let us know if you have prints and we can scan them.
Swift boxes waiting for the swifts’ return. Eynsham’s scouts and Mrs Emmett’s Eco Club at the Primary School were preparing to construct swift boxes in time for the swifts’ return - Eynsham’s firemen had offered to hoist them aloft. Sadly, the scouts and school have temporarily disbanded and the firemen are now engaged in more serious duties. But Theo and Laurie Wright have been busy making bird boxes during the lock-down, including a multi-box ‘sparrow hotel’. Theo was inspired by the sparrow-filled bramble patch on the Witney Road, which he passes on his way to school, and has invented a new word for the Eynsham dictionary: a Tweetie Bush. Rupert Boulting has also managed to get two swift boxes up in his rafters in Newland’s Road and he is hoping his returning swifts will lure their friends into the new boxes (avoiding the need for recorded swift calls to attract them).
Willow Coppice Group
Charlotte Holmes writes: “We've planted 6 different varieties of willow (through fleece, 1800!) at our new plot, several fruit trees (apple, plums, medlar, pear) and hazel for coppicing, along with blackthorn and hawthorn hedging – all kindly donated by lovely people. We have left some space for a 'mini meadow', and grass paths. Now we just need to try and finish the rabbit proof fence before they find it all!”