The misty mornings have started and autumn is setting in. This spells exciting times for any birders as the autumn migrations are starting, as our bird Recorder Nick Adams found out at Morgan’s Hill nature reserve this morning.
Butterfly Conservation has launched it’s Big Butterfly Count for 2018, running from the 20th July to the 12th August.
Last Chance to Get Hold of Books
Have you heard the news…..
We still have a lot books that formerly belonged to WSBRC or were donated books to us. This is your LAST CHANCE to get them. We have now halved all the prices (in some cases more than halved). Books will be disposed of in 4 weeks time (6th April).
If you are interested take a look at this spreadsheet. It will be updated every Wednesday to show what has been sold or reserved.
If you wish to buy or reserve any books or to have a look at them before deciding, please e-mail our volunteer Iain Bremner (IainB2@wiltshirewildlife.org). Books can be reserved and a time for collection sorted.
All is not well for our Hedgehogs, but we can all do something to help
Hedgehogs are in trouble. The State of Britain’s Hedgehogs Report, released last week, shows that across the U.K hedgehog population have decreased by almost half since 2002. The threats faced by Hedgehogs range from intensive farming and road collisions, to slug pellets and predation.
The picture is more complex then it first appears. In rural areas populations seem to have declined markedly whereas in urban areas some populations have stabilised and may be increasing. Part of this likely to relate to habitat; with Hedgehogs increasingly being associated with the mix of gardens and green spaces found in urban areas and less so in intensively managed countryside.
Hedgehogs are one of the top ten mammals record in Wiltshire. Mammals of Wiltshire (published in 2017) found that they have been recorded in 16% of kilometre squares in Wiltshire and that this has stayed near constant since the 1990’s. Hotspots are around urban areas such as: Chippenham, Trowbridge, Swindon and Salisbury. This is likely to be a reflection of both habitat preference and recording effort across the county.
So what can be done to help our spikey friends? Thankfully there are many small actions that can help hedgehogs. Installing a hedgehog house or leaving a corner of your garden to go wild can help massively. The Hedgehog Street Website contain loads of information about these ideas and more. Another simple but important action is to send in any Hedgehog sightings to us, finding out where there are still Hedgehogs present in Wiltshire will help to protect them.
Over the next few weeks hedgehogs will be emerging from hibernation. So keep an eye out for them and let us know if you spot any.
Got Some Empty Space on the Bookshelf?
Recently at WSBRC we have been busy sorting through our extensive Natural History library. This library has been built up over time and contains many books including: identification, habitat management and general natural history interest. As a result of this we have over 200 second-hand books up for sale. Subjects range from soil to snakes and Badgers to Butterflies. Have a look at the full list here.
If any of the titles take your fancy then drop us an email to reserve your books. Don’t miss out on this chance. For most of the books there is only one copy; once it’s gone, it’s gone.
The CWP dragonfly atlas - published & available to purchase
Dragonflies and Damselflies of the Cotswold Water Park is now in print!
The Cotswold Water Park Dragonfly Atlas Project was originally conceived in 2008, to coincide with the launch of the National Dragonfly Atlas Project. It aimed to complete, and publish results of, landscape-scale dragonfly surveys conducted over a period of 5 years. These surveys sought to establish a detailed and accurate baseline for the Cotswold Water Park, along with proof of breeding for as many species as possible.
Aided by countless hours of volunteer effort, contributions of some stunning photographs and maps, and significant perseverance from the book’s author Gareth Harris, the Cotswold Water Park Trust has announced that a full colour printed edition of the Atlas is available to purchase online for £12 (plus shipping). Visit www.waterpark.org/books for details.
An amphibian & reptile atlas for Wiltshire
There are thirteen native species of amphibians and reptiles (known as herpetofauna) in the UK and of these nine are found within Wiltshire. There has never been an atlas of Wiltshire amphibians and reptiles published and with several new non-native species turning up in the county an assessment of our herpetofauna seemed overdue.
We currently hold around 12,000 records for the group as a whole, with the greater majority of records being for amphibians and distribution of these records seems to be fairly representative across the county. Wiltshire Amphibian & Reptile Group (WARG) activities are predominantly based in the Swindon area but we’re lucky to also receive records from consultants and other professional ecologists collected as part of their survey work as well as ad hoc records from the public from gardens and other local areas.
WSBRC and WARG are keen to improve further our knowledge of the whereabouts of these species so measures to safeguard our native fauna can be more effective. An Atlas project is a great way to overcome any gaps in information, encourage wider participation in herpetofauna recording across the county and provide high quality evidence to secure long-term gains for amphibians and reptiles. The recent Wiltshire mammal atlas proved this unequivocally and was a tremendous success.
Our aims are to:
- identify key locations for Wiltshire’s amphibians and reptiles
- share information that will help protect them into the future
- gather existing and new records of native and non-native species from recorders
- produce an atlas of distribution based on current records
- stimulate new recording and survey events in future to allow updating of the atlas
Please share your records with us by adding them to Living Record from where they will be verified by our County Amphibian and Reptile Recorder, Gemma Harding. Records collected for the atlas will be shared with local and national recording schemes such as the Amphibian & Reptile Conservation Trust (ARC)
WARG are always looking for new members and new sites to set up surveys or group events. If you know of a suitable location for a recording activity please contact WARG directly via WiltshireARG@hotmail.co.uk or on their Facebook page.
There are numerous guides and resources to help you out with identification, here are some to get you started:
Wildlife Gardening Links
Wildlife gardening is a great way to add some natural habitat back to your local area and provide somewhere for species to thrive. Make your garden more attractive to amphibians & reptiles and other wildlife by trying out some of these ideas:
…to our new website
We hope you will be able to find your way around but to help you get started here are a few pointers:
> New to WSBRC? Find out more about us
> Need a data search? Request one from here
> Want to submit records? Here’s how
We will continue to update the site as we develop new resources for it with guidance from our County recorders and other key experts. We also will signpost new identification tools, surveys and projects to inspire and support Wiltshire’s recorders. Please let us know what you would like to see on our site to help you with your own recording.
Purgle & the WSBRC team