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A Year in the Life of a Wildcall Officer

We welcomed Charlotte Owen, WildCall Officer from Sussex Wildlife Trust on 18th March. This was our first meeting on a Monday and was well attended as usual.  Charlotte’s talk was on ‘A year in the life of a WildCall Officer: your wildlife mysteries solved and curiosity satisfied’.

She played a short video showing the substantial work that the Trust carries out and included:

11,000 trees planted in new hedgerows and woodlands

1,300+ wildlife enquiries answered

7 million+ wildlife observations held in the Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre database

19 beach cleans collected over 12,000 items of rubbish!!

120 forest school leaders trained

Resident otter confirmed in Sussex after 5 decades

6 kestrel chicks fledged live on Woods Mill KestrelCam

3250 marsh fragrant orchids counted at Ditchling Beacon

The Sussex Trust looks after 30 nature reserves covering:

Sparkling Seas; Ancient Woodlands, Wonderful Wetlands; Downland & Heathland Rambles; Children’s nature clubs; .

As the Wild Call Officer, Charlotte gets hundreds of queries via phone [50%], email [30%] and in person, the majority being about mammals – hedgehogs, badgers and foxes being the most popular.  She explained how climate can have a huge affect on wildlife.  For example, there was a high rate of mole deaths last year due to the very long hot summer.  Also an increase in wasps being troublesome as they were less able to find their natural food!  Good news is the return of otters to Sussex, mainly due to cleaner rivers.

For next year, watch out for starling murmurations in January; foxes mating in February and March – you will hear the ‘howling’; squirrel babies arriving in April.

Your garden is as much a resource for wildlife as the countryside and nature reserves.  For more information on WildCall and Sussex Wildlife Trust, visit their website at:

 https://sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk or telephone 01273 494777.

Text by Gill Johnson

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