1 May 2020 Happy May Morning! And Other Wild Spring Delights

We weren’t planning to send a second news item this week but we’ve received so many wonderful pieces from Eynsham Naturers that we couldn’t resist – including a photo of Eynsham’s very own Green Man (see below) who, rumour has it, was piping the streets at sunrise this morning in a wide-distance dance with two Morris Men (brothers, from the same household, it should be said). In true medieval fashion, dawn-windows opened with squeals of delight and abuse in equal measure – ‘Shame on you! A gathering!’ was heard to come from one, although the Green Man is rumoured to have led the dancers at a very healthy distance.

Green_ManEynsham's own Green Man (a..k.a. Rupert Boulting)


Eynsham artist Julia Loken has contributed an extraordinary painting of the Green Man. She writes: The wonderful picture of Rupert reminded me of a painting of a Green Man with oak leaves that I did last year - but mine looks scarier! "

Julia_Loken_green_manGreen Man. A painting by Julia Loken


Sally Taylor’s monthly report from the Garden Wildlife Survey shows the amazing take-up of monitoring with well over 30 families now involved and more joining every week. Already, we know where many of our hedgehogs are residing. We all know when the first swift arrived. And we know that there is a magnificent sparrowhawk that finds the gardens in Tanner’s Lane, Hazeldene and Witney Road entirely to its taste. Take a look at this footage from Nicky Chamber’s Hazeldene Garden of a fight between the sparrowhawk and a magpie.

Abigail Bailey, from Hazeldene, has managed to get Kerry’s bumblebee identified for us by a colleague in the Zoology Department at Oxford University. Abby writes: "Liam Crowley is working on the Darwin Tree of Life Project, which is aiming to identify and sequence the genomes of 66,000 UK species. Liam has identified the bee in the photo as a male hairy-footed flower-bee, Anthophora plumpies. 'They can look a little like Bombus pascuorum (Common carder bee), but have a much more 'zippy' flight. Kerry has done a great job to photograph this fast-moving species!'

Sally writes in her Garden Survey Report: "The hummingbird hawk moth was a great early record. At least 7 gardens have reported hedgehogs. The most common bird seen over the last four weeks is the Blue Tit. This finding is similar to national figures for gardens. Fledglings (baby birds) are beginning to appear in our gardens. It is very common to find them on the ground. They will be developing their last few feathers after leaving a cramped nest. The parents continue feeding and keeping an eye on their chicks, even if you can't see them, they will be gathering food or watching you. Unless the fledgling is visibly injured, the best thing you can do is leave it well alone. "

Every week, new people are joining the Garden Wildlife Survey, making us already one of the most densely monitored villages in the country. All this local connectivity shows the power of our bottom-up conservation approach. Let’s keep it up - "See" you Sunday – same time, same place!

Angie Titchen has sent in an Action for the May Weekend: Trees of Hope. She writes: “Trees of Hope Action is to help people explore the opportunities to build a better world and to feel that together we can achieve it." Angie says: 'Please respect social distancing and take your creations down in public places by 8th May'

Someone sent this article from the Witney Gazette, which suggests that Eynsham’s desire to leave verges for wildlife may be contagious…

Nigel Pearce has contributed a beautiful poem.

Avery Dunnock

Keeper of uncommon Knowledge 

Old man of the earth, or wise woman?

                                   Either way, one who walks and observes

but not a wanderer; wedded by choice

to a limited world of limitless

ramification. Often mistaken,

if noticed at all, for just another

of the sparrowy flock, drably garbed,

of human undergrowth’s elder generation.


Who knows the route and space floodwater takes,

when and where soil is rich or overworked,

which tree is favoured by the mistle thrush.


Who knows how to prepare an infusion

of fumitory for hepatic ailments

and all the latent lore of the hedgerow.


Never married, or stoic survivor

visiting graves of predeceased heirs?

Either way, one who will still remember.

NP, April 2020

And, finally, a reminder that the Deadline for the Parish Council's Consultation on its pilot biodiversity scheme is today, in case you were planning to give your views and haven't got around to it yet.