RTCT April 2017 Newsletter

Welcome to our sixth RTCT newsletter. We always love to update people on what is happening around the catchment, and what better way to fill people in than with a monthly newsletter. We hope that you enjoy reading and welcome any suggestions for next month, just send them and any photographs to Enquiries@RiverThame.org

Training Days

I want to say a huge thankyou to those volunteers who attended both the Amphibian and Water Shrew training days and all their enthusiasm to go out and get surveying!

For those of you that don’t know, species data is lacking tremendously in our catchment so it is really important to record everything you see; from the rare curlew to the common rabbit. Irecord is a fantastic and easy way to record your sightings and it is downloadable as an app on your phone. So it is quick and easy to record while you are out and about!

To find out more click HERE

Please don’t forget to keep us at the Trust up to date on your sightings too! Email Enquiries@RiverThame.org


Hopping mad
We had a fantastic evening out on Studley Wood Golf Course with the Oxfordshire Amphibian and Reptile Group. We learnt all about the ecology and survey techniques of our native amphibians. We then had a look at various ponds and found all 4 species of amphibian that we would expect to see in Oxfordshire.

My highlight was the toad sitting right in the middle of the fairway!


Shrew detectives!

Although not particularly glamorous we had a great time learning about the ecology and survey techniques of one of our least known mammal species.

Cute as they are, unfortunately we didn’t find any, but we did get up close and personal with their faeces! Differentiating between terrestrial shrew and water shrew involves identifying prey items within the faeces themselves, using microscopes. Tough work!

Tesco Bags of Help

We have a brilliant project taking place in Aylesbury over the next 6 months, thanks to Tesco Bags of Help. We have loads of events to get stuck into; including litter picking, which is a huge problem along stretches of the Bear Brook in particular and Himalayan Balsam bashing, which is the removal of a non-native invasive plant which out competes our native plants and causes huge amounts of erosion when it dies down in the winter.

If you are interested or would like more information about the following events please email Enquiries@RiverThame.org


Litter Pick Saturday 13th May 10am – 2pm
Himalayan Balsam Bashing Wednesday 31st May 10.30 – 3 10.30am – 3pm
Himalayan Balsam Bashing Wednesday 7th June 10.30am – 3pm
Himalayan Balsam Bashing Wednesday 14th June 10.30am – 3pm
Litter Pick Wednesday 21st June 10am – 2pm
Himalayan Balsam Bashing Saturday 24th June 10.30am – 3pm
Fixing dog entry points TBC TBC
Fixing dog entry points TBC TBC

We also still have the opportunity for volunteers to borrow trail cameras and set them up around Aylesbury. It will be great to see what wildlife secretly lives in the most urban area of our catchment. 

Data Entry Volunteer Required!
Are you interested in wildlife? Are you comfortable working with computers? Do you want to gain experience with an organisation that collects, collates and manages environmental data? If the answer to these questions is ‘yes’ then we would like to hear from you.

Data gathered by volunteers is an invaluable resource to us and a key part of our work is to collate and manage this data so it can be used to influence the work we do in the future

The volunteer will need to commit 1 day  every fortnight and will be inputting the regular water quality data that receive from volunteers that are undertaking the regular surveys.

If you are interested please email Enquiries@RiverThame.org

Bin it – Don’t block it!
Have you heard of the campaign being run by Thames Water?

“Flushable Wipes” aren’t flushable – who knew?!
Wet wipes don’t break down nearly as quickly as toilet paper does. They, along with other non- flushables such as cotton buds, nappies and sanitary products block pipes. These blockages can have detrimental effects on our rivers as they can cause waste overflows which inevitably drain into our watercourses. They also contain plastics and other man made materials which persist in the environment and take a long time to disintegrate.

For more information and to take the “no drainer” quiz visit Thames Waters website 


Upcoming events

We still have a number of training days and some practical work days to put in your diary. All are free but they all require booking as spaces are limited.

Riverfly Training Saturday 6th May 10am – 4pm
Otter ecology and survey techniques Tuesday 23rd May 10am – 2pm
Himalayan Balsam Bashing in Chalgrove Thursday 1st June 10.30am – 3pm
Himalayan Balsam Bashing in Chalgrove Saturday 10th June 10.30am – 3pm
Beginners wildlife and landscape photography workshop Saturday 22nd July 2pm – 6.30pm
Riverside guided walk Saturday 5th August Time TBC