Previous Seasonal Wildlife News 2015

Autumn 2015 Wildlife Report

Otter News

For some time Dr Bob Eeles, a local ecologist, has been monitoring wildlife locally using a hidden camera. He tells us that whilst otters have never left the area entirely their numbers have been increasing for a few years now and has sent us the following photo to prove their presence.
Otter by Bob Eeles

Otter (c) Bob Eeles





Bats at Radley Lakes

The Radley Lakes area with its combination of wooded areas, lakes and pasture makes ideal habitat for bats as it generates so many insects for them to feed on. A recent bat walk at Radley Lakes led by Dominic Lamb, a local bat expert, found about 20 people armed with bat detectors listening for bats around Thrupp Lake. The calm, warm evening provided the ideal weather conditions for a bat walk and they were rewarded by the sight and sounds of very many bats out hunting for insects.  Dominic Lamb said that it was one of the best bat walks that he’d ever been on.

Clearly an evening visit to Thrupp Lake is well worth the effort if have an interest in bats but to recognise what species are around you’ll need to treat yourself to a bat detector or enrol on the next Earth Trust bat walk.. Hopefully, you could find Pipistrelles, Natterers and Long-eared Bats hunting over the wooded areas, a small group of Daubentons hunting over the lake and bigger bats such as Noctules and Serotine bats which range more widely.

Bats walks are best undertaken between May and September and timed to start around sunset for an hour and a half, that way you should get to see as well as hear that bats. 

Pipistrelle bat

Pipistrelle bat © unknown












Wildlife Snippets

In early September, I love to take dawn walks around Radley Lakes, arriving just before the sun rises above the other worldly mists.

My anticipation and excitement always begins to rise at this time of year, as I wonder when I will see my first Ivy Bee of 2015. It was with great joy that I saw my first in the Abbey Fishponds Nature Reserve with its distinctive black and white sandy coloured stripes feeding on ivy flowers on the 15th September. One of the earliest records for this year in Oxfordshire! The Ivy Bee (Colletes hederae) arrived in the UK in 2001 and was discovered by Ian Cross at Langton Matravers in Dorset. Since then, the bee has spread across much of southern England (as far north as Shropshire, Staffordshire & Norfolk) and into south Wales.

Ivy Bee copyright Jo Cartmell

Ivy Bee © Jo Cartmell














If you have ivy in your garden, do leave the flowers for these beautiful, small solitary bees who will be active until early November. They may well nest in your lawn. Here are some facts, in case they turn up on yours. No such luck on mine, yet!

The early morning air is now damp and fungi are beginning to emerge as autumn's tapestry weaves her way into the landscape once more. Leaves are turning into resplendent hues of yellow, red, pink and gold and evocative dawn mists can turn Barton Fields into a Monet watercolour and stop me in my tracks.

Early morning at Barton Fields (c) Jo Cartmell

Early morning at Barton Fields © Jo Cartmell












This morning's dawn walk was magical. It was raining lightly and on returning home I noticed a young Muntjac buck and doe watching me from a hollow where they were sheltering. They were not inclined to move! I felt very privileged.

Muntjak buck and doe at Abbey Fishponds copyright Jo Cartmel

Muntjak buck and doe at Abbey Fishponds © Jo Cartmell










It won't be long before Redwing and Fieldfare are back in our gardens and countryside feasting on Pyracantha, Cotoneaster and Hawthorn berries. I can't wait to see them again! Wishing you all some amazing autumn wildlife moments around the Radley Lakes and in your gardens! There are some great ideas for wildlife projects in your gardens here:

Jo Cartmell,

Biodiversity Officer


Summer 2015 Wildlife Report

This year we have been warned to expect a once in a decade influx of migrating Painted Lady butterflies. I saw my first one last week! Amazingly, it undertakes the longest migration of any butterfly in the world!
Marbled White butterfly on Greater Knapweed

Painted Lady butterfly on Pyracantha blossom

© Jo Cartmell

Marbled White butterfly on Greater Knapweed

Marbled White butterfly on Greater Knapweed

© Jo Cartmell















Large Skipper butterfly on Common Knapweed © Jo Cartmell