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Saltford Environment Group
  towards a sustainable future for our village


  SEG Home > News List > February 2017

   February 2017

Read our feature article on the Grey Herons in Saltford.

In this month's newsletter:-

Can you help SEG find an 1860 painting of the River Avon? - we have an old monochrome print of a Constable style painting of the River Avon. Do you know who has this particular painting? We would like to photograph it in colour for our history project so check out our newsletter to see if you recognise it.

A chance to be a recycling star - B&NES Council need all kinds of resident recyclers to star in their 2017 campaign to encourage more recycling at home, school or in the workplace.

The weather - it may not have felt like it here in Saltford but according to NASA 2016 was the hottest year on record so we give you a timely reminder of our online Saltford Weather Station.

Other news includes a feature article on the Grey Herons in Saltford, a chance to bring some fresh new life to your old picture frames, a new volunteer opportunity to coordinate our local habitat project, and more.

Click on each story headline link or scroll down the page:-

Can you help SEG find this 1860 painting?

Imaginative Frames

Are you or your organisation a keen recycler? A chance to star!

Don't buy it, Borrow It!

New opportunity to coordinate local habitat project

The Grey Herons in Saltford

Saltford Weather Station

Can you help SEG find this 1860 painting?

1860 painting of the River Avon

This (old) monochrome print of a Constable style painting of the River Avon was amongst the Percy Sims collection of Saltford photographs. The late Percy Sims was the author of the well known 1976 book 'A History of Saltford Village'.

The image is in our History of Saltford project's Online Museum but SEG would very much like to trace the actual painting so that we can photograph it in colour and thus share it in its full glory with residents and others. Do you know who has this particular painting? If so please contact SEG's Chairman.

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Imaginative Frames

Do you have any old picture frames at the back of your cupboards? Then now is the time to get them out and dust them down. With a bit of imagination you can transform them into something beautiful for nothing. Modern, vintage, rustic - something for yourself, family and friends. Whatever you choose it will be unique.

To find out how this can be done, bring along your finds on Thursday February 16th with anything you may wish to decorate your frames with. Buttons, old maps, newspaper, twine, ribbon, the list is endless. We will have some frames and as usual we share ideas and finds.

Pop along and join Tina and Frances at Signs of Saltford, 559 Bath Road, Saltford where we meet in the workshop from 7-9pm. Our UPCYCLING CRAFT GROUP is free and fun for everyone, no experience needed. Phone Frances on 07789--528834 if you would like to find out more.

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Are you or your organisation a keen recycler? A chance to star!

How do you do it in your home/school/workplace?

B&NES Council need all kinds of resident recyclers to star in their campaign in 2017. Instead of using generic pictures, they want real Bath and North East Somerset residents! They want you to show how you recycle, to encourage others to recycle more, and to help people get ready for the change to every other week rubbish collections starting in November.

They want your stories, photos, videos and recycling tips to share with others and are keen to hear from individuals and groups - including schools, families, housemates, work groups - and show how you do it in your home/school/workplace.

They want to use your photos and stories mainly for their social media campaign. If there is anything unusual about how you recycle and/or you have a fun way to recycle or a humorous tale to tell please also get in touch with them by email wastecampaigns@bathnes.gov.uk - they welcome creative ideas. You can send your photos/stories/tips/videos to them or nominate recycling star(s).

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Don't buy it, Borrow It!

Did you know that the average drill is only used for 13 minutes during its entire lifetime? Bath Borrow It has been set up by TimeBank Plus in Twerton and will offer people in B&NES the opportunity to borrow a range of useful items which are needed only for occasional use, such as tools, household and gardening equipment, catering utensils, camping items, children & baby equipment, etc. - it could be anything from a hedge trimmer to a sewing machine, a gazebo or a chocolate fountain!

The Bath Borrow It project will provide a way to reduce waste and clutter, make better use of resources and help people to save money.

Details can be found on the timebankplus.co.uk/wp/ website. They are currently advertising their Wish List of items for loan. The telephone number for enquiries is 01225--442813.

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New opportunity to coordinate local habitat project

Crosswort growing on the railway habitat restoration project area.

Saltford Environment Group is looking for a new volunteer to be our railway path habitat restoration project coordinator as our existing coordinator, who did a great job getting things organised, has had to step down due to other commitments. This local project has seen some notable successes:

  • The return of a number of rare and unusual plants to the area.
  • Fantastic views recreated across to the village and the river.
  • Thanks and congratulations from Railway Path users.
  • Some first class efforts from our team of community volunteers and from Saltford's Guides, Beavers and Scout groups.
  • Removal from the upper and middle slope of the previous large population of the unwelcome alien invasive Himalayan Balsam.

The area needs some concerted effort over the next 2-3 years to prevent the area from reverting back to scrub and trees: obscuring views and shading some of the rare sun-loving plants that have so recently returned. This work is likely to involve:

  • Regular practical volunteer sessions during the growing season - pulling invasive weeds such as nettles and brambles (6 - 8 sessions per year).
  • Monthly strimming sessions (during the growing season) - shared between volunteers.

This is a great opportunity for someone with good organisational skills to help deliver a really exciting project: restoring a rare and beautiful habitat and bringing members of the community together through fun, practical activities.

No prior experience of wildlife conservation projects is required and there will be plenty of opportunities to learn more about the rare and beautiful plants and animals which would otherwise disappear from our area, to make new friends and learn new skills along the way. We are looking for someone with a can-do attitude and the enthusiasm to engage with volunteers and provide more of a social side to this worthwhile activity.

If this opportunity to manage and develop a small yet interesting and local outdoor project appeals to you, to express an interest please contact our Vice-Chairman Chris Warren (email cherokee1883@live.com).

The project has its own webpage: link >>

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The Grey Herons in Saltford

Grey Heron by the River Avon, Saltford.

Grey Herons (species name Ardea cinerea) can frequently be seen along the River Avon in Saltford - especially searching out fish near the weirs, and visiting gardens with ponds. This prehistoric looking bird with its dagger like bill, long legs and S-shaped neck is one of our most unmistakable all-year round residents.

Their carnivorous diet consists principally of fish, but also small birds such as ducklings, small mammals like voles, and amphibians. After harvest, Grey Herons can sometimes be seen in our fields, searching out rodents. Similarly, after floods, they visit fields where various marooned fish and flooded land animals are easy pickings.

The Grey Heron is not currently a threatened species; in fact it is increasing its range, and is now more abundant in Britain than it has ever been since monitoring of heronries began in the 1920s. This may be due to an increase in winter temperatures and less persecution. Over the last half-century herons have become noticeably less shy in Saltford, again probably reflecting lowered persecution.

Here are some interesting facts about herons:-

  • With a wing span of around 6ft Grey Herons are the largest birds most of us will ever see in our garden.
  • In medieval times the heron was a favourite quarry of falconers who valued its great flying skills and ability to evade the falcon's stoops
  • Roast herons were also popular at medieval banquets: the young birds, called branchers, were thought to be the best to eat.
  • Herons are sociable birds when nesting, usually nesting in long-established heronries. It's not unusual for a single tree to hold as many as 10 nests although herons also breed solitarily.
  • The biggest heronry in Britain is currently at Northward Hill in Kent, an RSPB reserve. Numbers here have peaked at over 200 nests, but the current total is around 150.
  • Heronries are usually in tall trees. However, reed-bed heronries are not unusual, and they will also nest on cliffs, bushes, and sometimes even on buildings or bridges.
  • There are a number of small heronries within a few miles of Saltford, but none within Saltford itself. During the time when the young are in the nest (late spring and early summer) the adults can be seen flying between heronry and feeding area.
  • A number of British heronries also have Little Egrets (species name Egretta garzetta) nesting alongside the Herons. The Little Egret is a scarce but regular visitor to Saltford, particularly during floods.
  • 4 or 5 eggs are laid towards the end of March, though often earlier in mild winters. Both parents share the incubation of the eggs, which takes 25 to 26 days. The young are fed on regurgitated fish and fledge after 7 to 8 weeks.

Information sources:
www.rspb.org.uk, www.arkive.org and Will Duckworth.

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Saltford Weather Station

River Avon in Saltford breaking its banks after prolonged rainfall, November 2012.

2016 was the hottest year globally on record, according to NASA, and of the 17 hottest years ever recorded, 16 have now occurred since 2000. We know that extreme weather events such as droughts, storms and floods together with changing weather patterns are becoming increasingly the norm.

Members are reminded that SEG's Saltford Weather Station on our Climate Change page provides the 5-day local weather forecast, flood alerts, and a direct link to the constantly updated river level here in Saltford.

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Saltford Environment Group
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February snowdrops in Saltford

Quote for the month

What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Phil Harding (SEG Chairman)

Deputy Editor
Debbie Cini (SEG Secretary)

The Editorial team can be contacted via our home page.