Recently, committee member Graham Tuppen and Chairman, David Bettiss carried out our annual survey and cleaning of the various bird nest boxes around the public places in the village. These are situated at Little Twitten, the Village Green and Glebelands, as well as the Ferring Country Centre. It was really pleasing to report that all bar one of the boxes had been used by birds during the past Summer, with nests present in them.
The nests were made up of different materials, with the most common being mosses and feathers, while on the Village Green, one had a large amount of hair, with the Country Centre ones unsurprisingly having a lot of straw and hay present. In one box, there were a number of abandoned eggs (probably Blue Tits), in one a dead Great Tit, in another a couple of very young dead Blue Tits, and finally one had a large circular hole drilled into the front of the box right next to the official hole which had been protected by a metal plate. This was presumably done by a Woodpecker, and could even have been used by them as their own nest.
We hope that all the remaining boxes had raised at least one or maybe more successful broods, and even those above would have raised some chicks. Anyway all of them are now clean and ready to welcome new occupants in the Spring of 2021.
Please note that there will be no work party this coming Tuesday – 3 March.
But please don’t forget the Rife Clean on Saturday 21 March starting at the far end of the Bluebird Cafe cafe cark by the toilets at 11am. Pickers, bags, high vis jackets and gloves are provided, and suggest that you wear wellies as likely to still be wet and muddy. Quite a lot of rubbish has been washed downstream during the floods and is sitting in the vegetation so we hope to see you there to help clear it up.
Members of Ferring Conservation Group have recently been carrying out more practical work in the village in order to improve our local environment and particularly to make it a more welcoming place for our wildlife.
In the first of our regular monthly small work parties, a number of members met at the Glebelands Recreation Ground in the centre of the village to carry out some practical work around the Community Orchard. The main task was to cut back the invasive brambles that had grown up in the small copse of trees that back on to the fruit trees themselves and had threatened to overwhelm them. This was completed quickly and efficiently, and without too many scratches from the enormous thorns! The trees will be very grateful for the removal of some of the competition.
The Group has also arranged the installation of a large Tawny Owl nest box and a slightly smaller bat box in the copses at the Little Twitten Recreation Ground, just off Sea Lane.
The Owl box had been in place at the Warren Pond in the village, but it hadn’t been successful and it was felt better to move it to a location where Tawny Owls have been heard on a regular basis. It was quite a technical task to mount it in a suitable tree, and the services of an excellent local tree surgery company, Mr Tree (based in Worthing), were required to complete the job safely. Proper climbing equipment was deployed the tree surgeon, Shane Jones, and he was able to abseil back down to ground level when he had finished.
The bat box had been donated by two of our committee members, Lindsey and Chris Green, and this was fixed to a suitable large Sycamore tree in another part of the Recreation Ground.
Time will tell, but we hope that the local Tawny Owls and bats approve of what we’ve done for them, especially as their natural nesting sites are reducing in number and suitability. We’ll be keeping an eye on the boxes, which are in addition to the significant number of smaller nest boxes that we’ve already put up around the village (thanks are due to committee member Graham Tuppen for refurbishing many of the boxes this Winter) , and we’ll be reporting on any developments.
The next of the monthly work parties will take place from 10am on Tuesday 6 March, meeting on the Village Green. The task will be to cut back some of the bushes and generally tidy up the area that we look after. Please bring secateurs and loppers if you have them, and wear suitable clothing.
Starting in February, we will now be organising monthly work parties for anybody interested to help out at the various locations around the village where carry out practical activities to maintain and improve the local natural environment.
These will always be held on the first Tuesday of the month between 10am and midday. Details of the exact location to be covered and the meeting point will be advertised here as well as at the members meeting at the end of the previous month. We will still be carrying out our various clean ups including beach cleans and other fiixed activities such as the annual clear up of Warren Pond with Ferring Parish Council as separate matters.
We hope to see some of you there, even if you can’t stay for the whole session. If bad weather is forecast, please check this website in case of cancellation.
Our hedgehogs are really struggling. Have a look at a new short article in the Nature Notes section of this website, written by committee member, Graham Tuppen, to see what you might be able to do in your garden to help them. A number have been seen recently around the village in gardens, so there is some hope for them if we all do our bit.
On Tuesday 15th March, a band of volunteers from Ferring Conservation Group gathered on the banks of Ferring Rife for a tree planting morning. Over 100 native trees had been obtained by the Group from the Woodland Trust to add to those trees already planted in the area over the last five years. The long term plan is to provide an effective wildlife corridor here, and the varieties of trees planted – Downy Birch, Rowan, Hazel, Hawthorn, Holly and Crab Apple – will result in a diverse habitat. These will be well suited to the open and exposed location.
Later, in conjunction with the nearby Ferring Country Centre, the workers went on to plant a large number of Willow whips around the boundary of some of their horse paddocks stretching out towards the East Preston Gap. Again, this will provide a feature which will develop over the years, it will attract wildlife and will act as a windbreak. After the planting was completed, most of the work party visited the cafe at the Country Centre for a hot drink and something to eat.
Group Chairman David Bettiss,who organised the morning, said, “This was another successful morning by Ferring Conservation Group to generally improve the area for wildlife and as a place for people to visit as the trees grow. I want to thank our volunteer members who have turned out again to help. We were very lucky though to have a bright, sunny but chilly day. The rewards of our efforts on the day and from previous work days will be seen over the years to come.”
We’re holding 2 separate practical work days coming up soon in the village – can you help us?
Firstly, we’re working on cutting back the undergrowth around our planted trees on the Rife. This will be at 10am on Weds 14th Oct (please note this date has changed from the one announced at the last meeting). Meet at the footbridge over the Rife for an hour’s work – no more! Please wear suitable clothing including gloves, and bring your own shears (or similar) if possible.
Secondly, in conjunction with Ferring Parish Council, we’ll be carrying out the annual cutting back of undergrowth around the Warren Pond .This one is on a Saturday morning – Sat 7th Nov, also from 10am. Please meet by the pond at The Warren, and wear clothing/ bring shears as above. A skip has been hired again for all the debris, so we need to fill it!
We hope to see you there to carry out these essential tasks.
Following on from the recent practical clearance work at Warren Pond in South Ferring carried out by Ferring Conservation Group volunteers in partnership with Ferring Parish Council, the latest improvement was the installation of a Tawny Owl nestbox on a Lime tree adjacent to the pond.
The box was donated by a local resident, and was installed by local tree surgeons, Bushwackers. We now await the arrival of a resident Tawny Owl (!) – at least one has been heard in the immediate vicinity, so we are keeping our fingers crossed.
The next move for the ongoing restoration of the pond is a proper professional survey which is being arranged jointly by the Parish Council and the Group to take place in the next week. A management plan will then be drawn up to restore the pond over a number of years to a valuable wildlife habitat.
On 21st October, a working party of Ferring Conservation Group members met on the Village Green at Ferring to carry out some bulb planting in partnership with Arun District Council. Hundreds of bulbs including some native daffodils, various varieties of tulips, as well as crocus were planted in the bed on the north side of the green adjacent to Ferring Street by the path that leads to the public toilets.
Keep your eyes open from next Spring and hopefully every year after that to see the fruits of our Group’s labours.
As part of our commitment to help improve the Ferring Village Green, we are joining up with Arun District Council for a bulb planting session there at 2pm on Tuesday 21st October.
It would be good to see a decent turnout of local people, and the fruits of our labours will be seen next Spring and hopefully every year after that when the flowers bloom. Meet on the Green and please come armed with trowels and/or bulb planters.