Outlook Issue 20 Winter 2015
News and Views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
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Giving wildlife a home
18 to breeders and furriers caused it to spread into East Anglian farmland and marshes as these creatures were given their freedom by breeders. Mink – imported also for fur – continue to eat their way along our rivers and streams. Brown Rats from Russia, and Muntjac and Sika Deer from Asia, have also settled and spread. Wild Boar now wander around some woods, causing damage and bringing protests from some conservationists. Few birds are imported; Red Kites from Spain are an exception. Drive along the M40 and count these birds flying free in the Oxfordshire/Buckinghamshire area. Will these beautiful birds (pictured) ultimately reach pest proportions? Cause for concern During the nineteenth century, with the arrival of grain ships from North America, a number of flower species arrived on these shores – Spring Beauty, Californian Borage and Pineapple Weed are examples. It is the introduction of plants and trees that gives us cause for concern. Infected Elm trunks from North America precipitated the awful spread of Dutch Elm disease across our landscape. Millions of our native Elms perished. More recently, Ash die-back has arrived, and is spreading. Various diseases arrive on soil adhering to tree and shrub roots or amongst leaves of plants, to the detriment of native stock. The list grows. Introduced over two hundred years ago, the Rhododendron was planted for game cover. Its bright flowers are attractive, but foresters will all assert that this plant easily spreads and is difficult to eradicate. We have few native conifers, but many species have been introduced by plant hunters at the behest of estate owners. Blanket covering of the uplands by some alien conifers, such as Sitka Spruce, has altered the landscape and diminished native flora and fauna – flowers certainly will not bloom under the conifer canopy. ’The most deadly animal in Britain’, read the label in the museum display. Curious, I looked … into a mirror! Michael Stagg Junior Outlook Giving wildlife a home The RSPB is encouraging everyone to make room for wildlife wherever they can – in a garden, however small, a balcony or even a window-box. Get your FREE pack with 20 easy ways of giving wildlife a home. Just log in to www.rspb.org.uk and follow the menu Give Nature a Home. You can learn how to help all sorts of creatures to live and thrive – birds, bees, bats, frogs, toads and newts, butterflies and moths, hedgehogs …