Bird of the Month: The Jay

Jays are the colourful member of the crow family.  They are mostly a pinkish brown with a black tail. The wings are also black but have white and bright blue patches. Although they are hard to see as they are rather shy woodland birds you may well hear their screaming call.  Jays pair for life.  They build an untidy nest of twigs high in a tree or a large bush and line it with roots, hairs and fibres.  The female lays between 3 and 10 eggs which hatch about 17 days later.  Both birds then feed the young who fledge just under 3 weeks later.  The adults now continue feeding the young as they are not completely independent until they are about 2 months old.   In autumn acorns are their staple diet.  A single jay can collect as many as 3,000 which they bury in holes they make in the ground creating an important food source for themselves during the winter months.  As well as acorns they also eat nuts, seeds and insects but are opportunists so will eat whatever there is an abundance of including nestlings of other small birds, eggs and small mammals. Jays indulge in a behaviour known as ‘anting’ where they actively disturb an ant’s nest.  They will then stand in the middle of the nest allowing the ants to swarm all over them. It is thought the formic acid the ants produce helps rid the jays of parasites. Jays live for about 16 years.

 Did You Know?
•  Jays are accomplished mimics and will sing songs composed of all sorts of sounds including crying
babies, dripping water, lawn mowers and alarm calls other birds.
•  Jays problem solving skills are equivalent to that of a 7 year old child.
•  Several species of oak tree are dependent on the presence of jays to distribute their acorns.
•  Jays can carry up to 5 acorns at a time –  3 or 4 in their specially adapted gullet and 1 held in their beak.

Chips in Church!

Chips in Church??!!

A way to enjoy your village church, even if church services aren’t your thing.

Everyone is invited to join other villagers at St Michael’s Church when the chip van comes to Aynho on Monday, 14th November, calling at the church at 6:50pm.

Bring your chips into the church where we will have tables and chairs and a warm welcome for a sociable evening.

Please bring a fork (or your fingers!) and we’ll provide salt & vinegar, ketchup and tea/coffee.

Please phone Liz Short on 01869 810 180 with your order by 4pm on the day and they will be wrapped ready for you to pay and collect at the church. Menu and price list.
(Examples – Cod £4, Pie £2:70, Sausage £1:70, Chips £1:80-£3)            Or just come along to the church and order at the van.

Everyone Welcome!

Aynho Long Walk 27th October 2016

This was another week where we welcomed new walkers Lynda and Carolyn who joined us as a result of our reputation with other walks. So eighteen of us set off down Green Lane in the Autumn mist glad that so far the rain has held off and the lane and the freshly ploughed and planted fields are still dry. We crossed the stream at Lower Walton grounds and continued past the cottages taking the narrow path through to the fields beyond. The fields ahead did not have the paths restored but the farmer had left tractor wheel lines so the ground was not too rough. We passed through the copse towards the top of the ridge, and then the field beyond until nearly at the edge, when we took a sharp right turn and followed another path diagonally up the hill to the top of the ridge. From here we could see the sun almost bursting through the mist. We continued along the ridge to the old stone pits, avoided the bullocks in spite of their interest and emerged into Charlton village. From there we walked down through the village and took the path up to Rainsborough camp. We were soon back at the pavilion after the walk back along the Aynho ridge into Green Lane. It was then that the sun came out.

Aynho Long Walk 20th October 2016

We were delighted to welcome three new walkers today and two visitors, Neil and Emma, husband and daughter of Paula. it was overcast to start with but all sixteen of us set off in good spirits through the village and down Station Road to Millers Lane. We were amazed to see that all the mature trees that lined the avenue along to Lower Aynho Grounds had been felled, presumably they were diseased. A great shame this was necessary. The ford was still dry as we passed it and climbed up to Souldern village. We took the path round the back of the Manor, admiring the friendly horses that approached us, presumably in the hope of some refreshment. We continued into the village itself, and then took the track up to Nancy Bowles Wood and on to Foxhill. The path through to the Fritwell Road had been cleared very well so we were soon on the road and walking back into Souldern. We passed the church and the sewage works before continuing onto Portway, Aynho and the pavilion for refreshments. We had seen glimpses of sun and sat outside for coffee. As it was only five and a half miles we were back before the medium walkers today. Much to our mutual amazement.

Gardening Club Visit to Wisley, 12th October 2016

A full coach took us to Wisley, the RHS gardens, just off the M25 last Wednesday. There was lots of sunshine and one or two sudden showers, but we spent a very enjoyable day exploring everything from the tropical plants in the glasshouses to the trial gardens and the Bowes-Lyon Rose Garden. there was a heron on the water garden after the shoals of fish and the keen gardeners among us admired the vast range of plants for every season. As we returned to the bus many members were laden with bags of new plants for their gardens at home.

Wisley 1..400h Wisley 2..400h
Wisley 3...400h Wisley 5..400h
Wisley 6..400h Wisley 7..400h
Wisley 8..400h Wisley 4..400h

Photographic Society: October Report

Click here to see the complete photograph:  Sunrise Harvester by John Cavana.

At the October Club Night, professional photographer Peter Preece, supported by his wife, Margaret, gave a presentation on ‘Wildlife and nature photographs: Every picture tells a story’. Peter took up photography on his retirement, but resisted transferring to the digital format until three years ago; his main interest is in photographing wildlife. Peter is also deeply involved in the Heart of England Forest project, which was set up by Felix Dennis before his death in 2014. This project has acquired 6,000 acres of farmland in Warwickshire, where they have landscaped areas to create wildlife habitats and planted 1.4 million trees. Peter has free access to the estate, where he has set up nest boxes and hides so he can indulge his passion for bird photography, perfecting a technique for attracting his favourite subject – the kingfisher – and showing many action shots.

Peter uses pop-up hides and his car (painted in camouflage colours) to get near his subjects. He told us how he attracts birds or mammals to the spot where his camera is pre-focused, sometimes using animal carcasses which have been stored in his freezer as bait. He travels regularly to Scotland and to northern Spain, and most of his photos captured the subjects in action. As well as birds, Peter also showed shots of mammals, including voles, harvest mice, wood mice, rat, weasels, foxes, grey seals and hares, together with butterflies, damselflies and dragonflies. Peter does not like to adjust his wildlife photos by using Photoshop, other than cropping them, but he finished by showing a few amusing manipulations that he uses for Christmas cards and calendars. In summary, this was a most interesting presentation by a very experienced wildlife photographer that was much appreciated by his audience.

A successful photographic exhibition was held at The Institute, Adderbury, on Saturday 17th September, the first of our annual exhibitions, which brought new members to the Society. The next exhibition will be on Saturday, 22nd October, in the Living Room of Deddington Parish Church, 9.00am-1.30pm, the same day as the Deddington Farmers’ Market (ends at 12.30pm).

Richard Broadbent 338173

Aynho Long Walk 13th October 2016

We welcomed Mal as new to us today and he made the total up to ten, as we set off down Green Lane to Lower Walton Grounds. It was cold and showers threatened but it did not actually rain and later we had some sunshine. We crossed the bridge over the stream and continued round to the cottages and then across two fields, ploughed and harrowed, but dry and easy to walk on. We reached the copse on the ridge, passed through and into a ploughed field unharrowed. We followed the tractor track diagonally across the field to the edge and then down to College Lane and into Kings Sutton Village. The village green looked lovely in the Autumn sunlight as the leaves are turning. We continued round the back of the village, along the edge of two new estates, and emerged by the Railway Station. From there we took the footpath up a steep hill and through a large meadow of sheep and emerged onto a lane, having admired the topiary in the manor house on the far side of the field. We left the village on the path down to the sewage works through a freshly planted field, and thence crossed several fields and climbed up to the Dad’s Army hut and Charlton Road.
After the cold wind it was good to enjoy the refreshments that Anita always produces so well. Six miles in two hours of very enjoyable walking.

Aynho long walk 6th October 2016

We welcomed Veronica to her first walk with us today, and Tracy also rejoined after a long absence. The sun came out just before we set out and with a cool wind it was perfect for walking. We set off down the Portway footpath and continued across the fields into Oxfordshire. From the stream we turned left and climbed up to the B4100 and crossed into Upper Aynho Grounds opposite. Safely back in Northants we continued through the grounds and turned down through the wooded track into Warren farm woods. Since last year’s work the path is much drier. There is no marshy area to cross, but the hill is still quite steep. The field after the woods is back to grazing and we met three Aberdeen Angus bullocks there but they didn’t stay to inspect us. We reached Mill Lane, crossed the bridge by the ford and took the stone stile on to the path behind Croughton Village. When we emerged into the field we soon passed two rather frisky horses behind the fence on our left. One was kind enough to pose for his photo. We continued through the churchyard and up to the village school, crossed over and headed up the lane to the open fields. The view of the freshly ploughed and farrowed fields stretched out over miles of farmland, a lovely autumn view. We were soon over the fields to cut throat corner and Camp Farm and from there we passed the Rainsborough Camp on our left and headed for the track along the ridge to Green Lane and the pavilion. It was too cold to sit outside so we had a good chat over coffee and cakes and, in some cases, a delicious looking lunch.