Certainly they are now close by. Common smaller mammals include Hedgehogs, Weasels, Stoats, Common and Pygmy Shrews, Common Pipistrelles and several rodents. Water Voles at least formerly occurred on the river but have declined nationally due to habitat modification and Mink predation.
Grass Snakes have been recorded on a few occasions along with Smooth Newts, Common Frogs and Common Toads. Arguably The River Witham’s most important inhabitant may (if they still persist) be the White-clawed Crayfish, the species is in sharp decline nationally.
Of all the village biodiversity the birds are best known; at least 109 species have been recorded in the village. Most obvious in the village are the House Sparrows and Starlings (although both have declined greatly) along with Chaffinch, Goldfinches, Blackbirds, and Collared Doves. Rooks are now noticeable by their absence in the centre of the village as the Rookeries have slowly dwindled away to the one on the A1. Spotted Flycatchers are another sad loss. The creation of the fish ponds has stimulated colonisation by some common wetland birds such as Greylag Geese and also acts as an important stop-over point for other migrant birds such as Common Terns.
Generally the numbers of most bird species are declining and farmland birds have been particularly badly affected in the last twenty years or so, a few pairs of Yellow Wagtails still hang on in the parish as do Yellowhammers and Linnets but Tree Sparrows, Turtle Doves and Lapwings apparently no longer breed here. A complete annotated list of the birds of Foston can be found here - /Birds_2373.aspx The pair of Curlews that formerly nested in unimproved grassland by the river are now ‘missing’ but still hold out hope that this now globally threatened species will not vanish for good. Bucking the trend of declines are birds of prey like Barn Owls, Sparrow hawks and Common Buzzards (Kestrels are not faring well) and some small birds like Goldfinches and Bullfinches.
Some butterflies are common in the gardens in the summer months such as Red Admirals, whites and sometimes migrant Painted Ladies. Farmland butterflies are in steep decline and some species such as the Wall Brown have disappeared from the village altogether. Moths are under surveyed, notable is the regular appearance of Hummingbird Hawk-moths to gardens in the summer.
We hope that more efforts to plant trees in hedgerows and along the river Witham and Foston beck might help reverse some of the declines in parish wildlife.