We are a community volunteer group supporting the management of our local green space for the benefit of the community.

October 2022 - Woodlands Shireoaks Newsletter

My name is Martin and I have been a volunteer for the Friends for about a year. It is easy to take the wonderful environment around Shireoaks for granted and in my opinion the wildlife discovery area is a case in point.

This 2 acre post-industrial site alongside Marina Drive doesn’t look much at the moment but the foundations are there for a thriving site. There is a bird hide and a well-constructed wildlife pond. What needs to happen in the immediate future is the unwelcome reeds removed from the pond and the hedge planting completed on the boundary with Marina Drive. These jobs will have a visual impact on the area and create habitats for wildlife- protecting and improving our environment has never been more important. If you are a student looking for a project or a youth organisation or community groups looking for a project, or anyone who just wants to do something worthwhile you need look no further. The Friends at the time of writing are awaiting advice on the best way to deal with the unwelcome reeds. The hedge planting day in March this year, when half the boundary was planted was well supported and we would be delighted if we could achieve the same level of support to finish the project over Friday/Saturday 3rd/4th of February. The remaining boundary has been ploughed in preparation so that digging the holes for the plants will be a lot easier than last time. We will also create rubble piles and log piles for wildlife and do scrub clearance alongside the path. If you would like to help with the hedge planting and other activities on 3rd or 4th February, please email us on info@woodlandsandcoachwoodgreen.co.uk to let us know your interest.

The Friends also have two work mornings a month, please find us on Facebook for information about upcoming workdays @friendsofwoodlandsandcoachwoodgreen.

As the bird hide is the standout feature in the wildlife discovery area, I decided to find out about the bird species likely to visit. I turned to an organisation called SK58 Birders who have a very good website, and for those interested the group meets on the last Wednesday of the month in the Loyal Trooper South Anston. SK58 refers to a square on Ordnance Survey mapping which includes Shireoaks. This organisation has maintained records of sightings within the area of land covered by the square for over 20 years. These records have in the past helped in planning issues. Of the hundred or so different species recorded in the Shireoaks area, the standout one is a single sighting of a Hoopoe in October 2019 (worth a search for images on the internet). Two of the less exotic species you are more likely to see in the vicinity of Marina Drive in the winter months are:



The Redwing, a winter visitor, is a little smaller and thinner than a black bird. It exists in flocks in this country. The red on the flanks illustrated in the image is visible in flight but mostly hidden when the wings are folded.






The Pied Wagtail is not a migratory bird. It feeds singly, but roosts in flocks throughout the year. It is black and white, a little bit larger than a sparrow, and has a long tail which constantly bobs.



As the wildlife area matures in the coming years there should be greater opportunity for the people of Shireoaks and surrounding areas to enjoy observing wildlife.


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