Monday, 20 October 2014

More birds

Just a few days ago whilst shooting in mid Dorset I saw a sight which I have not seen for many years and which was, during my childhood, was a common sight in Kingsley. I am referring to a large flock of Lapwings. Lapwings, also known as Peewits or Green Plovers were a common sight all around the village. The fields right across from the old church of St. Nicolas all the way through to where the Farnham / Bordon road enters Buckthorn Oak were the range of large flocks of these birds. They were also to be seen in the meadows bordering the river from the Kingsley mill down through to Sleaford. The meadows along the river at various points, and in autumn and winter months, would sometimes flood and this provided idea habitat for Lapwings as they are wading birds. In the fields around the Sports Club and its grounds it was a common sight to see large numbers of Lapwings following tractors whilst various cultivations were taking place. In the spring the birds would make their nests in the same fields and father would occasionally bring home eggs he had found whilst driving tractor on the Old Park Farm fields. The eggs are a deepish olive green colour with heavy irregular black blotches upon them. I don’t recall having eaten one myself but I am told they are delicious, plovers eggs were always claimed to be something of a delicacy. Apart from the sight of the large flocks of the birds, their presence could be noted by the constant peewit call from which one of their names derives. The bird is notable for the way in which it protects its young. Nesting as they do in a shallow scoop on the ground, usually on stony ground, which affords a little camouflage, the chicks are hatched and they too have a colouring designed to provide a degree of concealment. If a sitting hen bird is disturbed or frightened when the chicks have hatched she puts on an elaborate pretence. In an attempt to lure the threat away she jumps into the air flapping her wings in a way to suggest that she is injured and unable to fly. This exhibition she keeps up whilst gradually luring the threat away from the site of the nest and or chicks. When she considers the threat is over she simply takes off and flies away leaving a bewildered onlooker. I suspect that those large flocks of Lapwings are very much a thing of the past as far as Kingsley is concerned as I don’t recall them being there when I was in my late teens.

However, having begun pondering the Lapwing I began considering other birds that were once a common sight, and sound, around the village and which are probably not there now in anything like the numbers they once were, if at all.

The next one I thought of was the Skylark. From Spring throughout the summer the sound of the Skylark filled the air in much of the area I have described where the Lapwings could be found. This area, as far as the larks were concerned, did not include the wetter parts of the water meadows through the river valley. Ground nesting birds, the Skylark preferred areas where arable crops were grown and on ground the was essentially dry. The haunting, warbling, somewhat fluttery song of the Skylark is, in my view, one of the great summer sounds of the countryside … or was. As is indicated in the title of Vaughan William’s Lark Ascending classical composition, the Skylark sings loudly as it rises in almost vertical flight. It climbs to great heights as it sings before fluttering back to earth to begin its routine all over again. The song is so distinct that once heard and linked to the little bird it is unlikely that one could ever forget it. There must have been dozens of pairs of Skylarks throughout the region I refer to when I was a boy. I do still occasionally hear the larks where I live now but in greatly reduced numbers and usually on corn fields upon down land. I imagine modern agricultural practices and machinery have contributed to the decline of the larks. Incidentally, it is also claimed that the Skylark will resort to a similar display of injury when its nest is threatened much as the Lapwing does.

The next bird which stimulated my memory was the Grey Partridge. When I lived at Woodfield the Grey Partridges could be heard in the fields behind the houses and across the fields on both sides of the railway line. Their sort of creaky, scratchy sound, a call rather than a song, was particularly evident during summer evenings. The Grey Partridge is the indigenous species of partridge and was fairly common in and around the fields of Kingsley in those days. Although a game bird by definition I don’t recall and special shooting parties pursuing the birds over most of the area concerned. Old Park Farm held occasional shoots as did a number of other farms in the area but, as far as I am aware, there were no formal shoots on a regular basis. The birds lived a natural life and were certainly not keepered.

As far as Kingsley was concerned Pheasant were around in smallish numbers. A few were reared and released in the woods between Kingsley and Binsted which ensured the birds could often be seen and no doubt provided an addition to the informal shoots that took place. Larger more formal shoots existed at Wyke on land owned then by the Bonham–Carters and at Oakhanger in the woods beyond the cricket pitch towards Selborne. The keeper up there was one Jock Hartly. As a child I well remember Mr. Hartly’s reputation … you didn’t mess with Jock! It was on the Bonham–Carter shoot that, as a young boy, I first went beating. How I got involved, I am not clear, but I think it was as a result of being in the scouts at East Worldham and meeting another lad who was a beater. However, it was the beginning of a life-long passion and one that I still pursue today. Indeed I have the great joy of taking two of my grandsons with me and I have no doubt my other grandchildren will follow suit as they become old enough.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Kingsley Parish Council 23.10.14

Kingsley Parish Council will meet on Thursday, 23rd October 2014 in the Kingsley Centre at 7.30pm.

AGENDA

1. Chairman’s Opening Remarks
2. Apologies for Absence
3. Declarations of Personal/Prejudicial Interest
4. Public Question Time: Public Questions
Consideration of agenda items which will be open to public participation

5. Approval of Minutes of the Meeting held on 25th September 2014
6. Matters Arising
7. Planning Applications
Applications ongoing:
30633/024 Grooms Farm, Frith End Road, Frith End, Bordon, GU35 0QR
Ancillary building for events associated with existing hotel, together with landscaping, parking works (including waste water treatment plant) and retention of frith end quarry haul road for access to the site and hotel

SHCC/2014/0138 Sandy Bridge Farm, Main Road, Kingsley, GU35 9NQ Variation of condition 1 of planning permission F24847/015/CMA to extend the time period for tipping of inert waste and to revise the final restoration contours

21066/029 Bakers Farm Nursery, Main Road, Kingsley, Bordon, GU35 9NJ
Change of use for storage and distribution B8

21066/030 Bakers Farm Nursery, Main Road, Kingsley, Bordon, GU35 9NJ
Siting of temporary buildings (corrected proposal)

28421/004 Crossing Gate Cottage, Sickles Lane, Kingsley, Bordon, Alton, GU35 9PB
Single storey side extension forming double garage and bedroom with wet room within roof space

Appeal:
APP/M1710/A/14/2214126 Appeal by: Mr Dragjoshi
Land south and east of Service Station, Farnham Road, Bordon

APP/M1710/A/14/2222602 Appeal by: LMC of Farnham Ltd
LMC Sleaford Garage, Farnham Road, Bordon, GU35 0QP

8. St Nicholas Cemetery & Cemetery Chapel
To receive an update from Cllr Pearson
To consider the invoice from Richard Ashby for the specifications and tender documents for works to be carried out in St Nicholas

9. Transport, Highways and Road Safety
The lengthsman scheme:
To receive an update from Cllr Rigden

10. Commons, Village Greens and Rights of Way
Upper Green: To receive an update from Cllr Rigden
Lower Green: To receive an update from Cllr McCorkindale

To consider the quotation of £195 for cutting the area of Lower Green covered by golden rod
To consider the quotation of £245 for cutting the area between the track and the stream on the eastern side of Lower Green.

11. Community Resilience
12. Environment and Biodiversity
13. Kingsley Village Forum   

Kingsley Annual Parish Meeting:
To receive an update from Cllr Rigden and to consider the actions the Parish Council should take as result of this meeting

14. Housing, Business & Commerce
Hampshire Alliance for Rural Affordable Housing:
To receive an update from Cllr McCorkindale

15. Communications
16. District Councillor
17. Procedures, Finance and Payments
Payments to be made & Accounts to accept
Approval of annual return year ending March 2014
To consider the annual donation of £500 to the Kingsley Centre (Last year the donation was £475 plus £100 for the new notice board)
To consider the biennial increase in the annual rent from £325 to £350 paid for the lease of the allotment site
Enhancing the recruitment of parish councillors

    Date of Next Meeting of Kingsley Parish Council -
       Thursday 27th November 2014 - 7.30 pm at the Kingsley Centre 
      

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

District Councillors wanted

Become a councillor and Change Your World

East Hampshire District Council is calling for new councillors with the desire to change their world and the business sense to make it happen.

With an election looming next May, EHDC is looking to attract councillors with the ambition to take on the council’s vision and the skills to make it reality.

The campaign to recruit new councillors begins with two drop-in meetings on October 24 and 27 at the council offices in Petersfield, where prospective candidates can find out what it takes to be a councillor.

Sandy Hopkins, EHDC Chief Executive, said: “We are looking for people with a broad range of abilities and community interests, people who are looking for a chance to use their skills for the benefit of the community; people who want to put something back.

“With the unprecedented pressures on public sector funding councils must be ever more business-like and professional if they are to thrive.

“EHDC is setting out a unique way forward for local government, a new way of running a council with the focus on innovation and income generation. We have ambitious plans and we need councillors with the business skills to see it through. We need a new kind of councillor for a new kind of council.”

Residents with the energy and passion to make a difference in their area should come to the council on Friday 24 October, 2-5pm, Monday 27 October, 6.30-9.30pm or Tuesday 18 November, 6-9pm, and find out how they can make a difference in their community and change their world.

For more information go to www.easthants.gov.uk/changeyourworld

Communications Officer: Will Parsons, EHDC Communications Officer, 01730 234030