FROM THE CHAIRMAN

No Mow Months and Months and …..Moths….

Call it idleness, or late to the pollinators’ party, but I have a very green garden …. still. No Mow May extended in my tiny patch through June and July and into August. The small insects (i.e. moths and mini hoppers) love sunny days and on my wanderings through the rolling sward, I’m accompanied by my minuscule chums and I’ve put a slate on the grass where big and small grasshoppers bask in the sun. And recently a large, five-legged one almost made it to the top of a white sheet on the washing line.

I suppose that eventually I shall have to put a scythe to the playground, but I’m loath to do so whilst the wildlife is so enjoying it!

A couple of tiny other notes – following our wonderful outing to Gilbert White’s House at Selbourne two summers ago, I’ve just spotted that a facsimile of his diary has been added to their website. You can leaf through it and read his letters and observations, including addenda and crossings out – it’s all beautifully hand written – just the job for a wet afternoon in autumn!

Another local item – recently I was shown a very short video of a small hedgehog walking around the grounds of Saint Mary’s Church in Quarry Street, Guildford. The powers that be were most surprised, as they haven’t seen any traces of hedgehogs before.

Christine Tollman

EXTRACT FROM THE CURRENT NEWSLETTER

THE NIGHT VISITOR

One morning in July, on entering my greenhouse, I discovered that a bag of hay I had stored there, had been broken open and scattered. On closer examination, I found a small hedgehog, about the size of a tennis ball, curled up asleep in the thick of it.

I came back in the evening with a dish of dog food, and found a much larger hedgehog asleep beside it. I left the food and a dish of water, and returned the following morning.

The food and water had been consumed, but in the hay there were now one large hedgehog and four smaller ones! Whether or not this was mum and four youngsters, is anybody’s guess, but all of the food had been eaten, and they were all fast asleep.

Now, in late August, the large hog and three of the hoglets have dispersed, leaving one youngster, who comes back every night to feed, sometimes sleeping in the greenhouse, where I have now made it a temporary home in a cardboard box.

At the back of the greenhouse is a custom-built hedgehog hibernation box, which I have cleaned and refurbished ready for the winter. The larger of the hogs is already using it as a daytime bedroom.

I have made apertures in all my fences, allowing them access to my neighbours’ gardens. I do hope they all survive and will continue to visit us.

It was such a pleasure to see them, especially as their numbers have dropped so drastically in recent years. However, we do have to take great care to protect them from our dogs, especially as the food we leave out is very tempting!

Alan Brock

Upcoming Events in 2021

EVENING MEETINGS – Thursdays at 8pm in East Horsley Village Hall.

All meetings free to members (except Mulled Wine evening) – £3* for non-members payable at the door (*unless otherwise stated).

Programme

Coronavirus Update

Although we are unable to have our usual indoor meetings, the committee are pleased to announce that they have arranged
for meetings to go ahead online, via Zoom.

If you are a member of the WSNHS, this service is free of charge
and we hope you will be able to join us.

If you are not a member, and would like to participate,
there is a charge of £3 per meeting.
However, Single Membership is only £7 per annum,
so this is well worth considering!
Please contact our Secretary, Cally Harris, for details on:
cally.harris@creating-connections.com or 01372 459082.

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23 September 2021 (Zoom meeting 8.00pm)

What do Invertebrates do for Us? An Introduction to our Insect Pollinatorsillustrated talk by Alice Parfitt

Alice is a keen naturalist with a love of invertebrates but particularly hoverflies. She has worked for Buglife for nearly 18 months, developing a project on the East Sussex downs, and is currently on a national project looking at ancient trees and all the species they support.

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28 October 2021 (Zoom meeting 8.00pm)

Farm Pond Restoration Projectillustrated talk by Dr Helen Greaves

In agricultural regions, ponds have the potential to provide hotspots and refugia for aquatic biodiversity. However, at present, the vast majority of historical marl pits have been filled in, impacting the pond floral and faunal communities significantly. Dr Greaves of UCL has been involved in the restoration of ponds.

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25 November 2021 (Zoom meeting 8.00pm)

When Will it Flower? Plants and Climate Change – illustrated talk by Prof Alastair Fitter of the University of York

Prof Fitter is a plant ecologist with wide-ranging research interests, including soil ecology and how plants behave in a changing world. He has contributed to our understanding of the structure and function of plant root systems and their symbiotic fungi.

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16 December 2021 (Zoom meeting 8.00pm)

Journey Down the Stour – illustrated talk by Mervyn Linford

Mervyn Linford is an author and poet. He lives in Suffolk and writes mostly about nature, the seasons and country life. He spends as much time as possible in the countryside, either fishing or studying the flora and fauna. His major concerns at the moment are to do with the despoliation of the natural environment.

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OUTINGS

Occasional walks are organised from time to time. They will be publicised here – so watch this space for further details!

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PREVIOUS MEETINGS

29 July 2021 (Zoom meeting)

Kelp Forests Around the UK – illustrated talk by Sarah Ward

Sarah Ward, Living Seas Officer of the Sussex Wildlife Trust, gave a lively, inspiring and informative talk to the Society. The first half of the talk was a resumé of the habitats found along the Sussex Coast and the flora and fauna living there. Who knew that shingle beaches are uncommon on the world wide scale, as are wave cut platforms on chalk? Or that the black sand one encounters when digging down to build a sand castle is a sign one has reached a depth where oxygen is in short supply?

Sarah’s enthusiasm for her subject shone through, with her vivid descriptions of the various creatures found in the different habitats. Crabs only mate when the female has just cast her shell, and before then new one has hardened. Her hard shell therefore ‘acts as a kind of chastity belt’. Barnacles feed ‘by waving their little arms above their heads’. Sea anemones ‘eat shrimps for lunch’.

(Extract from Barbara Jones’ review)

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24 June 2021 (Zoom Meeting)

Social Meeting

We had a very enjoyable and relaxed Zoom Social Meeting – no obvious drinking, banners or balloons, but an amusing talk by Barbara Jones about how things that you see in the distance when you are out and about, walking the cliffs, etc. turn out not to be what they seemed once you get up close! There were lots of funny photos and we all had a good laugh! Later Adrian Thompson, Anna Stribley and Christine Shawyer told us about how they got into nature and we learned quite a bit about them!

Between the talks, Jean Croucher (a founder member of WSNHS) made the draw, after her son Peter had “spun the drum”. The winner was Adrian Thompson who, generously said that, as WSNHS Treasurer, he felt it was not appropriate for him to keep the prize and he would return it to the WSNHS funds. In all, £160 was received for raffle tickets and a further £40 was received in donations, so our “June Social” succeeded in increasing our funds by £200 – a really welcome addition, which means that we will be in a stronger position to make a donation to our chosen charity/ies this year.

(Extract from Cally Harris’ review)

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