Wild Marlow update – March 2021

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MyMarlow will be publishing regular updates from the wonderful Wild Marlow organisation – they do so much for our local wildlife and environment! Here we go then:

March 2021

This month we update you on some more exciting news from our peregrine falcon project and our upcoming fun competition for children during the Easter holiday. Plus what we’ve been doing in the wildlife area of Higginson Park with volunteer work parties, how to help Marlow’s swans, our latest blogs and how you can help or get involved.


Marlow’s Peregrine Falcons

Credit: Neil Richards


We are delighted to advise that the pair of peregrine falcons at All Saints’ Church Marlow, have been seen mating last week. This is such positive news and soon we hope to see eggs on the nesting platform we installed for them.

Hopefully they will use this and not choose to nest elsewhere, so we can capture the progress on our monitoring cameras.

As and when footage is available we will share on our website and on social media. https://www.wildmarlow.org.uk/peregrines/

Once Covid restrictions allow and it is safe to do so, we plan to host a peregrine falcon public event, learning all about these fantastic birds from a Bucks Bird Club expert.

Name the Peregrines Competition

We are running a fun ‘Name the Peregrines Competition” for children to submit their entries during the Easter holiday. We need a name for the male and female birds. Please submit your suggested names, along with your name, age and contact email address to contact@wildmarlow.org.uk. The winners will receive a beautiful photo of their named bird.


Higginson Park Wildlife Area

Over a few recent weekends, Wild Marlow held some volunteer work parties to help with the restoration and improvement of the Wildlife Area in Higginson Park. We managed to do the following tasks:

  • Log piles for invertebrates
  • A stumpery for stag beetles
  • Perches for kingfishers
  • Refuge sheets for reptiles
  • Bird nest boxes put up
  • Wildflower seed sown and watered in
  • Four full bags of litter collected
  • Five trees planted

It was really great to be out doing practical tasks to help wildlife to thrive in this area. If you’d like to help with future work parties, please do get in touch.

We are also looking for someone to help with monitoring all the bird boxes that are in the park. It is an easy job, some ladder work required, but full training would be given. If you are interested please let us know.

Marlow’s Swans

Feeding the Mute Swans in Higginson Park is a popular past-time for both young and old. More than 50 birds gather here in the winter, waiting expectantly for any handouts of bread or grain. But where do they come from?

During the annual Swan Upping, some of the swans are fitted with a coloured (usually orange or white) plastic ring on their left leg, inscribed with large black letters. The lettering can be easily read by eye, or from a photo on a mobile phone.

If you submit the ring details to the British Trust for Ornithology, you will hear back on where and when your bird was ringed, and how old it is.

This winter we have recorded the ring numbers of over twenty swans. The oldest was ringed at Eton in June 2002, making it over 18 years old. This is not exceptional for a Mute Swan, the oldest record in the BTO ringing database is 29 years.

One bird had travelled downstream from Shillingford ( 57km along the river) and another upstream from Windsor (32km along the river). Others had moved from connecting rivers, such as the River Colne at Rickmansworth.

You can also record all your sightings with our county records organisation Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Environmental Records Centre www.bucksmkerc.org.uk or by using the iRecord app.


New Swift box installed at Rebellion Brewery

We are delighted to see another swift box going up in Marlow, this time at our favourite brewery Rebellion.

Bisham Nest Box Group were once again on hand to provide the box and installation. With the birds due to arrive in England in the first week of May, we hope they find this valuable nesting spot after their long journey from Africa.

We look forward to Rebellion’s shop reopening when restrictions allow so we can stop for a ‘Swift half’ when picking up our supplies and checking out the birds.

Blogs


On our website we regularly upload interesting blogs about wildlife, covering a great variety of subjects, so why not have a look? – www.wildmarlow.org.uk/blog

Recent blogs include Marlow Swans by Paul Warham, Stag Beetle Stumpery & Early Emerging Butterflies by Martin Robinson plus the latest installment from Adrian Doble from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

Volunteering Opportunities


Like many groups and organisations, 2020 was a tricky year for us as we were not able to run all the public events we had planned, or carry out the practical conservation work we wanted. However we hope this year brings us the opportunity to do more for our members and of course for wildlife.

With this in mind we are looking for volunteers for a number of different areas:

  • Practical conservation work parties – your chance to get dirty!
  • Carrying out surveys
  • GDPR advice
  • Gift-Aid advice
  • Providing talks
  • Building nesting/shelter boxes
  • General help at events (future in-person events), as simple as helping with making tea and coffee

If you think you could help us with these or have other skills you feel could be useful, please do get in touch. It does not have to mean a long term commitment.

Getting in touch and joining in

To keep up to date on Wild Marlow activities, check out our website for news and events www.wildmarlow.org.uk – or the direct link to contact us: www.wildmarlow.org.uk/contact.php

We also have a Facebook page and Facebook public group, sharing fabulous photos, information, advice, news and events for the wildlife in and around Marlow.

You can also support us to deliver our activities and events by becoming a paid-up member. Annual membership is just £10 per year. We are a Community non-profit Group that relies on donations.
You can join by completing and returning the form on our website www.wildmarlow.org.uk/membership

Article author: Paul Merchant

About the author: Founded MyMarlow.co.uk in its original version back in 2000 - yes the internet DID exist back then. Brought up in Marlow, went to school here, now has children at the same schools. Quite clearly loves all things Marlow - hence spending nearly 2 decades doing this!

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