About the Trap Grounds

The Trap Grounds Town Green & Local Wildlife Site in north Oxford lies immediately south of the Frenchay Road canal bridge (nearest postcode OX2 6TF). An information board on the towpath marks the entrance to three acres of reed bed and seven acres of woodland, grassland, stream, and ponds. The site (open to visitors 24/7) is owned by Oxford City Council and managed for conservation, recreation, and education by the Friends of the Trap Grounds, a group of local volunteers. For more information about current events and activities, the history and wildlife status of the site, and our campaign to save it as a Town Green, visit You can also contact the Secretary via the website.

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Monday, November 11, 2019

It's been a miserable month of rain and more rain. But at least the fungi like the damp conditions. Nicola photographed a clump of Straight Coral Fungus (Ramaria stricta) on 9 November and described it as 'like gothic spires on a hillside'. 

                     Straight Coral Fungus (Ramaria stricta), Nicola Devine, TGs, 9.11.19

And a beautiful Amethyst Deceiver (Laccaria amethystine) on the same day.


Monday, October 14, 2019

After three gloomy weeks of torrential rain, last month's golden autumnal sunshine seems like a distant dream. But here, as a reminder of those bygone days, are Nicola's photos of a Jay, a Grey Wagtail, and a Chiffchaff. (The level of the Mill Stream has risen by at least one metre since the Grey Wagtail was skipping along it in the mud.)

Jay (Nicola Devine, Trap Grounds, 14 Sept 2019)

Chiffchaff (Nicola Devine, Trap Grounds, 14 Sept 2019)
Grey Wagtail (Nicola Devine, Trap Grounds, 14 Sept 2019)

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Tuesday 1 October 2019

Clare Weiner writes: Like many parents at this time of year, Ethel, the Trap Grounds swan, is preparing her offspring for independent adult life. She leaves the two cygnets alone on the water for increasing lengths of time, and will soon be teaching them to fly. Their wing feathers are well developed and (see photo) are white rather than the grey of younger days. By December she will have to actively drive away the cygnets she has cared for so well. Usually the male swan does this, but Ethel has been on her own since Ernest failed to return (or failed to be returned) after his removal to a swan sanctuary in July. We wish them all well and hope she will find a new mate.

Ethel's cygnets, Oxford Canal, 1 October 2019 (Clare Weiner)

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

30th September

I was lucky enough to stumble across one of the Kingfishers sitting on the perch on Tim's Pond recently. The light wasn't great and he didn't linger enough but I managed to get off a photo or two.


Thursday, September 26, 2019

Brown Hairstreak butterfly and Emerald damselfly

Belatedly catching up with some of Nicola Devine's most notable photos from earlier this summer ...

Brown Hairstreak (Thecla betulae) is a conservation priority species, in severe decline all over the country, but Nicola has photographed it on the Trap Grounds in every year since 2015. Its larvae need Blackthorn to feed on; we planted several Blackthorn trees five or six years ago, and it has paid off.

Brown Hairstreak butterfly (Trap Grounds, 20 August 2019, Nicola Devine)

Emerald Damselfly (Lestes sponsa): this mating pair were spotted on 23 July. The last of all damselflies to emerge, this is a late-summer species; the eggs won't hatch until next Spring. Emeralds colonise shallow pools that temporarily dry out in summer, which is just as well, because our Dragonfly Pool dried up completely during the August/September drought.

Emerald damselflies mating (Trap Grounds, Nicola Devine, 23 July 2019)

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Rhinoceros beetles

These beetles were found in May on a rotten tree stump on the Trap Grounds during our Springwatch Family Day by a pupil at St Philip & St James primary school, but until today we did not know his name. Today I had the pleasure of meeting Karim Chibane and congratulating him on his significant find. According to beetles expert Linda Losito, Rhinoceros beetles, members of the scarab family, have been reported only once before in Oxford (on the Lye Valley nature reserve).

Rhinoceros beetles (Alan Allport, Trap Grounds, May 2019)

Friday, September 13, 2019

A fox in the sun

Clare Weiner writes: "Today (September 13th) about 5.45pm, I spotted a Fox in the meadow by the school fence. It ran off, but we saw it again later, boldly out in the midst of the mown meadow, in the sunshine. A family with a dog (on a lead) were nearby. I told them there was a fox ahead, and we all stopped, and the fox stood still to be photographed. It seemed in very good condition, better than many urban foxes, and so bold."

[Dog owners, please respect the wildlife and keep your dog on a lead. -- C. Robinson]

Trap Grounds fox (Clare Weiner, 13.09.19)

Banded Demoiselle