Swifts

It is now August and by the time you read this the skies over Bradford on Avon will be quiet and the Swifts well on their way to their winter home in Africa. However, the Swift group remains active and would very much like to collate a list of all the places where Swifts nested this year in Bradford on Avon and the surrounding villages.

Biodiversity Group Update from Liz Stephens

Diary dates: 25th August and 29th September 9-12. Owl nest box building, Avonleigh.

** 12th September 10 -2pm. Volunteers needed for the annual rake up of the wildflower meadow at Bearfield, off Ashley Road. We will also be clearing in front of the hedge and removing guards. Refreshments supplied as are tools and gloves. Long trousers and long sleeved tops are recommended to protect against nettles and brambles. Please come along and help us

Need to know who to contact if you find an injured or displaced animal?

Swift Awareness Week Activities from Rowena Quantrill

All over the UK events were held as part of Swift Awareness Week (June 22 -30) to highlight the decline in numbers of these amazing birds and to demonstrate how they can be helped. The Bradford on Avon Swift group, an offshoot of the biodiversity group of CFBoA were lucky enough to have Jonathan Pomroy, wildlife artist, author, Swift expert and former resident of Westwood, in town to give a talk on the 29th, followed by a walk to observe and learn about the Swifts which were whizzing around over our heads on the warm midsummer evening.

BIODIVERSITY GROUP UPDATE

CHALLENGES AND ACTIVITIES:
As previously reported enriching our soils with organic matter will help their growing power. In these days when many people carefully consider their diet, please include soil enrichment as part of this. See the research done by Ros Edwards in the SFADG, to be found on the CFB website. The health of our planet and your health are important.

28th July – the next owl nest box workshop, at Avonleigh 9-12 noon

Report on the JUNE DAYTIME CFB MEETING on Wildflowers and organic gardening.

BIODIVERSITY GROUP JUNE UPDATE

Volunteers needed! To monitor swifts especially nesting sites. Let us know if you see a swift go into or out of a space in a roof or a nest box. The time is now as the chicks emerge they will be feeding them. Other aspects of our work Water monitoring results from the town area … Read more

Bio-diversity update

Are you doing your bit for nature?

The 2016 ‘State of Nature Report’ discovered that the UK has lost significantly more biodiversity over the long term than the world average. It’s an ‘INSECT ARMAGEDDON’. A Rocha UK, the charity that runs the Eco Church scheme, publish a monthly e-newsletter. Below is a shortened version by Klaus Huber of an article they published in early March. You can read the full version here
We all have a love-hate relationship with our six legged friends. Some bite, others sting and some look downright scary. Yet without insects, the planet would slowly die. Insects are critical for pollination; they also provide food for birds, which in turn are the main prey for many mammals – remove insects and you lose one of the key building-blocks of biodiversity.
If we are to rescue the UK’s insects, we are going to have to act incredibly quickly.

Soil can be amazing!

In 2015 the journal Nature reported the first discovery for 30 years of a new kind of antibiotic: teixobactin which is able to kill mycobacterium tubercuosis, clostridium difficiles and staphylococcus aureus.

The World’s soils contain 1,500 billion tonnes of carbon as organic matter. The good news is that increasing the quantity of carbon contained in the soils by just 0.4% per year would halt the annual increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. This could be done by restoring and improving degraded agricultural land. Organic farmers are leading on this. The great concerns of the world: climate change, natural resources, water control, food production, conservation and human health all rely on the condition of our soil.

Owl Nest Boxes

Some members of the Bio-diversity Group meet up once a month and have a workshop making nest boxes, mainly for owls. These are then installed where the birds are known to fly. Here are the ones they put up in late February

Roadside Verges & Biodiversity within Bradford-on-Avon and surrounding villages

Wiltshire Council has a statutory duty to consider biodiversity conservation in all its activities. Only 2% of wildflower meadows which existed nationally in 1930’s now remain! Roadside verge management can increase the wildflower areas. The main way to do this is to reduce the number of cuts to once a year between mid July and the end of September with the removal of the cuttings in areas where grass does not need to be kept short for sightline management for road safety.