Buildings and Undeveloped Farmland




One of the 'achievements' of modern building techniques is to ensure that there is no room left for 'weeds', be they floral or faunal. So the old nooks and crannies are eliminated and the materials used, steel, plastic and concrete, are hard and unyielding. However, much old timber, thatched roofs and stone walls with lime mortar still linger in hamlet, farm and Winsham village. Likewise, good modern farmland, growing high production crops or grass with the aid of fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides leaves no room for wildlife. Here again much of the old habitat remains, so our Parish can still boast a high wildlife heritage. Further, there is a growing awareness of the interest and value of our native wildlife as a national asset. There are private nature reserves and protected trees. Many gardens encourage our birds, butterflies and other creatures with feeding stations, nest and bat boxes.

There are some sixteen farmsteads within the parish. Most are home to bats. Usually Pipistrelle and Long-Eared but Lesser Horseshoe, larger unidentified bats and a Noctule has been recorded. A few small parish rookeries have gone in recent years but we 'borrow' a few Ravens from Forde Abbey, or flying in from the South Coast. Buzzards nest in the Street area and in the woods towards Purtington, as well as using the hill thermals for amorous soaring displays. From the same source, Hobbies often hunt the swallows high over Winsham. There have been several recent reports of a Red Kite. As both the south coast and Bristol Channel are visible from Windwhistle, migrating birds - Fieldfares , Redwings and Geese - migrate over the Parish. Tawny and Barn Owls nest locally and Little Owls nest just outside the Village. Green and Greater Spotted Woodpeckers are common.

With pheasant shooting as a local sport - chiefly at Cricket, Midnell and Forde Abbey - there are also coveys of both Brown and Red Legged Partridges often seen in the lanes. Woodcock were in some woods.

With a wild flower nursery bordering the village, we are rich in butterflies. Brimstone and Small Tortoiseshell are seen throughout the year if weather permits. The two lakes also give us the chance of unusual Dragon and Damsel Flies. Dormice are common in this area. Hedgehogs breed in the village.

Common Lizards live in some old walls. Slow Worms are abundant in some damp gardens. Some very fine Grass Snakes live near the lakes. The numerous nest boxes in the nursery and at the end of Court Street area, plus the all year round feeding policy, attracts a number of various Finch species as well and all five Tits which include winter families of Long Tailed Tits. Nut hatches and families of Gold crests visit the gardens. The summer visitors appear to be less evident in latter years, although the Garden Warbler, White Throat and Lesser White Throat, the Spotted Flycatcher and the extra Blackcaps can all be heard. One Winsham garden claims a total of 51 species.

The decline in the rabbit population on the farmland means that, apart from sheep, the uncropped bits, steep banks or odd corners, now tend to progress to thistles, docks and to brambles. However the Quaking Grass, the Dwarf Ground Thistle, Good Friday Grass, Yellow Rattle and the tiny Pearl Wort may still reward a search.

Many of the old local stone walls remain in Winsham and throughout the parish. Those allowed to weather grow, from the joints, such plants as Wall Rue, Ivy Leaved Toadflax, Maidenhair Spleenwort, Valerian, Corydalis and Wall Pepper.


Garden Birds

Just as we need skill and patience to fill our gardens with beautiful and interesting foliage and flowers, so it requires knowledge (and a certain amount of luck) to share our gardens with beautiful, interesting and tuneful birds. In both cases we have to be selective to know about the habits of each species.

Here are a few of the wide range of birds awaiting our invitation. Pride of place must go to a magnificent cock Pheasant gracing the lawn. There there are Green Woodpeckers coming for ants. The Great Spotted Woodpeckers will bring their chicks to a nut basket. Five species of Tits are here. Nuthatches always hang head down. There is a whole family of Gold crests in the village. Siskin, Sparrows and this year a Robin has been on the nut baskets. A great prize is a winter flock of mixed finches. Chiefly Greenfinch , Chaffinches and Goldfinch - feeding at ground level or low bushes - but joined, for safety, by the odd Brambling, Yellowhammer, Tree sparrow, Hedge sparrow or perhaps a Linnet. There are the avian rascals. The village Jackdaws, the Starlings, Magpies and the Crow that robbed an early garden Mistle Thrush nest this year. A Sparrow hawk pair seem always to include the gardens in its rounds. Once birds accept a friendly garden you never know when a bird book will be needed. There have been many rare visitors.

 




Swallows



Starlings



Sparrow hawk



Great Spotted Woodpecker



Blue Tit



Goldfinch



Robin



Mistle Thrush



Jay



Magpie


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This page revised 18 November 2016