April 2021 Newsletter

Teignbridge Wildlife Warden Newsletter

April 2021

Hi all,

A lot has happened this month, as we have finally been able to get outside and meet up in small groups, which has been really nice. It is not only us that have been busy; I have two nest boxes in my garden that are being used by house sparrows, with parents going back and forth constantly, and I am very excited to see them fledge over the next couple of weeks!
My most recent wildlife sighting – At first sight, this looks like a photo of a mallard, but I was actually trying to focus on the pike that was lurking beneath her (taken at Stover Country Park)
Devon Reptile and Amphibian Group
The Devon Reptile and Amphibian Group (DRAG) provide training  in reptile and amphibian surveys. They also organise surveys and are involved in habitat management. Follow this link if you would like to sign up to DRAG or find out more about them. I recently helped Rob (the chair of DRAG) to put out reptile survey mats and was lucky enough to see a couple of common lizards basking in the sun!
Petition to reverse the loss of nature in England by 2030
This is an important petition, which calls on the government to change the wording of the Environment Bill so that there is a legally binding target to reverse the loss of nature in England by 2030
Wildlife Warden Website
The website is constantly being updated with:
training documents. So far, these contain advice on habitat creation and habitat management (orchards, hedges and ponds), guidance on species and habitat identification, as well as information on how to work safely
useful links in the resources list
a list of citizen science schemes
information about what is happening in different parishes, displayed on an interactive map
Aquatic invertebrate identification training
I was fortunate to attend one of these training sessions, which were led by the very knowledgeable Dave and Sue Smallshire. It is always a bonus when you see lots of wildlife that you weren’t expecting to see. On the way to the training site, we had to walk around Stover Country Park’s main pond and were greeted by a kingfisher, and a basking terrapin! The water was very clear (because of the lack of rain), giving us a rare view into the underwater world. A couple of pikes were lurking in the shallows and lots of swan mussels could be seen. The invertebrates also didn’t disappoint. My favourite was a caddisfly larva, encased in a fascinating portable shelter, made from silk threads and pond debris.

Thank you, Dave and Sue, for running these sessions. I know that I learnt a lot! Also, many thanks to Stover Country Park for providing the kit and allowing us to use the site
Current projects
Here is an overview of some of the wonderful things that you have been up to.
Chudleigh Wild’s ‘Gardening for Wildlife’ campaign has been a great success. Roughly 60 households have already received a sign to acknowledge that they are meeting wildlife friendly gardening criteria (see below). They have set up a ‘Seed Buggy’ outside of the Town Hall, where locals can pick-up free wildflower seed packs. Their Bat Group have been able to get outside with their detectors and start learning bat calls. Also, Chudleigh Wild have plans for a nature trail around the village, which will be funded by the Co-op Community Fund.

Here is their wildlife gardening criteria. Local parishioners have to achieve at least one thing from each column, before they can receive a sign to put in their garden. You can imagine the the positive impact that this will have on local wildlife! Click here to see their latest newsletter.

Holcombe Burnell
Kate has started to record sounds in nature, which will be uploaded to aporee.org. This will allow parishioners to enjoy nature even if they aren’t able to get outside! She has signed-up to survey 4 locations for the Westcountry CSI. Kate has been displaying amazing signs with wildlife ideas and information in the village notice board, and has recently put up this sign to raise awareness about insects during spring.
Ogwild recently gained permission from the Woodland Trust to help manage Rectory Field. This is a 5 acre field, which contains a number of large trees. They are currently deciding what they want to do with the site. Planting around the village hasn’t stopped and the Ogwild team have been getting locals involved.
Westcountry CSI
Several Wildlife Wardens have  received kits from the Westcountry Rivers Trust. This will allow them to test the quality of river water (temperature, dissolved solids, turbidity and phosphate levels) alongside visual surveys.
I hope that you have been able to get outside and enjoy the sun over the last few weeks. It has been great to meet more of you and hopefully we will be able to offer lots more training sessions in person throughout the summer

Best wishes,


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