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SUMMARY OF WILDLIFE AND ECOLOGY

The combination of riverside landscape and agricultural land, together with plenty of mature gardens, provides a diverse habitat for birds, mammals and reptiles.

A total of 60 species of bird have been observed in the Parish in the last two or three years, but there are undoubtedly more than this. Of particular interest is a report of barn owls nesting in the Alderham area, and the confirmed sighting of goosanders on the river.

At least nine species of fish (as listed by the Environment Agency) are found in the local stretch of the River Avon.

Otters have colonised the lower reaches of the Avon (see below), and the Environment Agency have advised that all watercourses in the area are potential habitats for otters and as such should be sensitively managed in order to protect and encourage these animals.

In addition, several other species can be frequently seen in the Parish, including both fallow and muntjac deer, badgers, hares and bats.

There are no Sites of Special Scientific Interest in the Parish, and it is unlikely that there are any rare species of plant to be found. There are fine shows of snowdrops and bluebells to be seen in the woodland areas, which themselves are mainly mixed deciduous.

There are some excellent specimens of mature conifer, such as cedar, Scots pine and redwood, to be found in the village area, and a wealth of both white and pink flowering mature horse-chestnuts. The hedgerows consist of quite a large variety of species, with hawthorn, elder and blackthorn being predominant, interspersed with dog rose and honeysuckle.

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OTTERS in the Avon at BARFORD

There is firm evidence that otters do frequent our part of the Avon, which is great news, but the sad fact is that this was discovered shortly after the opening of the Barford bypass when an adult female otter was found dead on the new bridge, a victim of road kill. This accident appears to have been result of incorrectly installed fencing which trapped the otter on top of the bridge rather than preventing it getting onto the road. The fencing has subsequently been modified and hopefully this will make a repeat occurrence of this unfortunate loss less likely.

This might not seem to be a newsworthy item but when you consider that the total otter population of Warwickshire is estimated to be only 10 -12, spread across the whole county, you can see that one unnecessary death has a major effect on the population of this elusive creature.

The good news is that this population appears to be stable and is being regularly monitored by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust volunteers examining stretches of water for evidence of the animals – footprints and spraint (poo). Each otter has a territory stretching for about 25 miles so, as you can imagine, you are very unlikely to see this nocturnal animal, especially in daylight. However, where they are present it is quite easy to find traces of them as they “spraint” a lot to mark their territory. We intend to keep an eye open for evidence of otters on our local stretch of river and report back to the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. The Trust runs regular survey days where new volunteers will be welcomed and given full training. Click here for further details at Warwickshire Wildlife Trust website.

Watch this space for more news!

Andy and Bobbie Bolam

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NATURE INDEX :

In this section of the web site, we are putting together a series of articles on the natural history of Barford.

Barford bird box:
Follow the family life of two great tits in Barford as they build their nest and (hopefully) raise a family of fledglings. Click for more.

Our monthly articles on the "Birds of Barford" feature some of the birds which can be seen locally throughout the year.

With its wide variety of habitats, from River Avon and flood plain, through domestic gardens to woodland, arable land and pasture, Barford is home to many different species of bird.



The Birds of Barford:

January, Fieldfares and redwings

February, Canada Geese

March, Tits and nestboxes

April, Skylark

July, Mute Swan

September, Swallows


November, Buzzards

December, the robin 


.

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  The Robin

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