John’s Wildlife Notes

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‘The Man with the Notebook and Yellow Pencil’

Wildlife warden John Shenkman has been monitoring & recording the wildlife and habitats that exist within the boundaries of this parish. His travels with his trusty notebook and yellow pencil have taken him from Debdale in the north through Long Itchington & Bascote to Bascote Heath in the south, and from Stockton Road in the east to Snowford Hill in the west.

John has been intrumental in the surveying of our parish to discover its wildlife secrets, and on this page you can find some of the highlights from his travels along its highways & byways.


There is plenty to see and enjoy.

“Although the wildlife in the parish is dominated by arable farming it is subtle and rich if you know where and how to look. It changes through the seasons in the woods and spinneys, the field margins and hedges, in the lanes, by the River Itchen, in the LILAC park, in the three cemeteries and disused allotments, by the church and chapel, and of course in our gardens.

There are primroses and daffodils in the cemeteries and bluebells along the paths in the spring and field buttercups & orchids in the early summer. Added to this are a hundred or so common wildflowers.

In the summer a walk through the village whilst the birds are nesting, you can see and hear ten different bird species. In July clouds of butterflies feed on the thistles in the river meadows. By the path along the old railway line are saplings of Ash, Hawthorn, Maple, Oak, Dogwood and Blackthorn.

In early autumn pick sloes & blackberries. Later fungi and myriads of centipedes, woodworm, and woodlice feed on dead leaves, twigs and fallen wood.

In the ant hills in the cemetery by the allotments, the occupants will be ready for winter. The warblers & chiff-chaffs will have gone. Robins are the only birds that sing in the winter. The blackbirds are quiet. So nature’s cycle goes on from year to year.

How fortunate you are to live in this parish where nature is free to enjoy. So:-

Make time, hasten slowly

Learn about the birds, trees and flowers.

Get a free parish plan of the footpaths and lanes, and go for a walk!”

John Shenkman


For information about the parish footpath network and get a copy of the Parish footpath plan, visit the parish Footpath Group website.

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