Author Archives: admin

Black Hairstreak season is nearly here

The Upper Thames branch of Butterfly Conservation have posted the following message:

Black Hairstreak season is nearly here, but please note that there is now NO ACCESS to the popular M40 COMPENSATION AREA. Instead, you might try some of the sites listed here but please do not stray onto private land or flatten hedgeside vegetation, potentially destroying the habitat of even rarer invertebrates than the Black Hairstreak. And please send in all records of all species seen, thanks.

Site Name Map Ref Last Seen

Asham Meads SSSI Wildlife Trust. SP593 139 18.6.14
Hell Coppice Hdge Btw Yorks Wood F/C SP609 102 5.7.12
Bernwood Meadows Wildlife Trust. SP611 106 9.7.15
Shabbingdon/ Oakley Wood F C SP614 112 23.6.15
Waterperry Wood North End F C SP608 098 18.6.15
Drunkards Corner Waterperry Wd F/C SP609 086 17.6.14
Yorks Wood. Fo C. SP613 105 4.6.11
Blackthorn Hill Rail Cutting. (road bridge)SP617 210 9.6.11
Bletchingdon nr Diamaond Farm. Roadside.SP511173 14.6.11
Bunkers Hill Triangle, Roadside. SP468 185 17.6.07
Calvert Jubilee .Wildlife Trust SP687 247 21.6.15
Finemere Wood. Wildlife Trust. SP719 215 21.6.14
Gavray Drive. Close to Bicester. SP599 221 17.6.14
Grove Wood. Disused Railway. SP697 158 8.6.11
Dorothy Bolton Meadow. Wildlife T SP634 200 17.6.15
Hewins Wood + Bridleway SP703 216 29.6.15
Hogshaw Road, Botolph Claydon to Granborough
SP755 238 17.6.15
Howe Park Wood M K Public Access. SP831 345 30.6.15
Kidlington St Mary’s Fields N R. SP497 150 12.6.07
Little Linford Wood.Wildlife Trust SP832 455 1974
Meadow Farm. Wildlife Trust. SP625 190 New Site
North Leigh Common, Public Access SP403 137 24.6.88
Oakhill Wood, M K North Bucks Way. SP815 359 23.6.08
Oak Tree Farm Bridge. Bridleway SP710 217 11.7.13
Otmoor R.S.P.B. Reserve SP571 128 29.6.15
Oxley Meads. Milton Keynes. SP818 348 23.6.14
Piddington Wood WT SP629 161 24.6.15
Piddington Rail Bridge, (road crossing). SP650 175 12.6.07
Prune Farm Cottages, Bridleway SP698 220 12.6.04
Rushbeds Wood (Wildlife Trust) SP664 154 22.6.14
Rushbeds Lapland Farm. Wildlife Trust. SP665 161 17.6.14
Sainthill Copse. (Small isolated colony) SP536 175 13.6.10
Slade Camp, Brasenose, Public Access SP558 051 20.6.14
Shenley Wood. Public access SP824 360 1960s
Steeple Claydon, Disused Rail now Footpath SP702 261 11.6.11
Sydlings Copse Wildlife Trust SP559 096 11.6.08
Tolbrook Corner. Roadside Site. SP518 181 2.6.11
Upper Greatmoor Track. Bridleway. SP700 222 16.6.10
Whitecross Green Wood. Wildlife Trust. SP605 143 24.6.15
Yardley Great Wood, F C SP843 531 10.6.08

Migratory birds arriving late to breeding grounds

Whitethroat by Peter Hassett, Rainham Marsh, 14 May 2017

Whitethroat by Peter Hassett, Rainham Marsh, 14 May 2017

New research shows climate change is altering the delicate seasonal clock that North American migratory songbirds rely on to successfully mate and raise healthy offspring, setting in motion a domino effect that could threaten the survival of many familiar backyard bird species.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Migratory birds arriving late to breeding grounds

The dark side of street lighting

Herald moth by Martin Kincaid, Manor Farm cellar

Herald moth by Martin Kincaid, Manor Farm cellar

Among drivers of environmental change, artificial light at night is relatively poorly understood, yet is increasing on a global scale.

The community-level effects of existing street lights on moths and their biotic interactions have not previously been studied.

Using a combination of sampling methods at matched-pairs of lit and unlit sites, we found significant effects of street lighting: moth abundance at ground level was halved at lit sites, species richness was >25% lower, and flight activity at the level of the light was 70% greater.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: The dark side of street lighting: impacts on moths and evidence for the disruption of nocturnal pollen transport – Macgregor – 2016 – Global Change Biology – Wiley Online Library

Beginner’s guide to identifying British ichneumonids

Beginner’s guide to identifying British ichneumonids

Beginner’s guide to identifying British ichneumonids

What are ichneumonids?

Ichneumonids are wasps (order Hymenoptera, superfamily Ichneumonoidea) with a very narrow wasp waist between the middle (mesosoma, roughly equivalent to the thorax on other insects) and hind (metasoma, roughly equivalent to the abdomen on other insects) body parts. They have powerful chewing mandibles, two pairs of usually transparent membranous wings with complex venation and long antennae with 18 or more segments. They are invertebrates, so don’t have a backbone.

You can download the guide here.

Arctic stronghold of world’s seeds flooded after permafrost melts

It was designed as an impregnable deep-freeze to protect the world’s most precious seeds from any global disaster and ensure humanity’s food supply forever. But the Global Seed Vault, buried in a mountain deep inside the Arctic circle, has been breached after global warming produced extraordinary temperatures over the winter, sending meltwater gushing into the entrance tunnel.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Arctic stronghold of world’s seeds flooded after permafrost melts | Environment | The Guardian

Securing the Large Blue Landscape in the Polden Hills

The Large Blue Maculinea arion is the UKs rarest butterfly and is globally endangered.

The Polden Hills supports nearly 80% of the Large Blue populations in Britain. The aim of this landscape-scale project is to help secure the Large Blue butterfly in the Polden Hills network by increasing its population and distribution following a programme of habitat management.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Butterfly Conservation – Securing the Large Blue Landscape in the Polden Hills

Experts rush to huge midge swarm at Loch Leven

Nature-lovers are being urged to go to Loch Leven in Fife to see an unusually large swarm of midges that have emerged from the ground.
Experts said it was an “amazing” natural spectacle that would only last for a few days.
The non-biting midges or chironomids do not feed as adults and so are only mating while in the swarm.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Experts rush to huge midge swarm at Loch Leven – BBC News

Trip Report to Linford Wood: Tuesday 2 May 2017

Trip Report - Linford Wood 2 May 2017 - The Briefing

The Briefing

Members assembled at Linford Wood on Tuesday 2nd May 2017 at 7.00pm off Breckland, by the north-west entrance to the wood. Mike LeRoy gave a brief description of the history and ecology of the Wood, which was set out more fully in a handout that also had a map of the whole wood. They then walked together to near the centre of the wood. From here, five groups dispersed to note sightings of different species which they could submit for environmental records. Areas covered were largely in the north, east and centre of the wood.

Jay by Peter Hassett, Linford Wood 2May 2017


The birds group, led by Harry Appleyard, saw or heard 18 species: Great-spotted Woodpecker, Chiffchaff, Robin, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Jackdaw, Blackbird, Jay, Green Woodpecker, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Kestrel, Chaffinch, Song Thrush, Pied Wagtail, Wren and Stock Dove. These were submitted as sightings to the Buckinghamshire Bird Club website. They also heard Noctule bats in an Ash tree Fraxinus excelsior.

The mosses group, led by Frances Higgs, found nine bryophyte species, which she is submitting to the Buckinghamshire County Recorder for Bryophytes:

Metzgeria furcata Forked Veilwort
Radula complanata Even Scalewort.

Atrichum undulatum Common Smoothcap/Catherine’s Moss
Thamnobryum alopecurum Fox-tail Feather Moss
Hypnum cupressiforme Cypress-leaved Plait-moss
Kindbergia praelonga Common Feather-moss
Brachythecium rutabulum Rough-stalked Feather-moss
Orthotrichum affine Wood Bristle-moss
Orthotrichum diaphanum White-tipped Bristle-moss.

Another group, led by Martin Kincaid, counted the number of stems of Orchis mascula Early Purple Orchid, which they found in four sites across the north of the wood, with a total of 143 stems. A further site with an additional 25 stems was located later, giving a total of 168 stems observed within the wood. Their report with locations and numbers of stems will be submitted to the Buckinghamshire Vice-County Botanical Recorder as potential records to be held by the County Environmental Records Centre BMERC and will also be held by The Parks Trust, the owner of Linford Wood.

Five leaved Herb Paris by Peter Hassett, Linford Wood 2 May 2017

Five leaved Herb Paris

The ferns group, led by Mary Sarre, found: Dryopteris filix-mas Male Fern at five sites and Dryopteris carthusiana Narrow Buckler Fern at a single site. They also found Carex sylvatica Wood-sedge and areas of Paris quadrifolia Herb Paris which is in several clusters across the wood.

Other flora noted included:

Lysimachia nummularia Creeping-Jenny
Ranunculus ficaria Lesser Celandine
Filipendula ulmaria Meadowsweet
Dactylorhiza fuchsii Common Spotted-orchid
Epilobium hirsutum Great Willowherb
Cardamine pratensis Cuckooflower(Lady’s Smock)
Circaea lutetiana Enchanter’s-nightshade
Ajuga reptans Bugle
Crataegus laevigata Midland Hawthorn
Anthriscus sylvestris Cow Parsley
Urtica dioica Common Nettle
Heracleum sphondylium Hogweed
Mercurialis perennis Dog’s Mercury
Galium aparine Cleavers (Goosegrass)
Fragaria vesca Wild Strawberry
Orchis mascula Early-purple Orchid
Ranunculus repens Creeping Buttercup
Cirsium arvense Creeping Thistle
Potentilla sp. Cinquefoil
Hypericum tetrapterum Square-stalked St John’s Wort
Vicia sepum Bush Vetch
Deschampsia caespitosa Tufted Hair-grass
Brachipodium sylvaticum False Brome
Alopecurus pratensis Meadow Foxtail.

Early-purple Orchid by Peter Hassett, Linford Wood 2 May 2017

Early-purple Orchid

There were also many swathes of Hyacinthoides non-scripta Bluebell and Anemone nemorosa Wood Anemone, the latter nearing the end of flowering.

Mike LeRoy
8th May 2017

Photos by Peter Hassett

Grass-carrying wasp, Isodontia mexicana  new to Britain 

Grass-Carrying Wasp, Isodontia mexicana (de Saussure), is recorded as new to Britain. Morphological characters are given, and illustrated, to establish its identity and a key is provided to distinguish it from other British Sphecidae. Notes are provided on bionomics, the circumstances of its arrival and its status in Britain.

Source: Grass-carrying wasp, Isodontia mexicana (de Saussure), genus and species new to Britain (Hymenoptera: Sphecidae) (PDF Download Available)

Black Bee-fly found in UK for first time

The black bee-fly, known scientifically as Anthrax anthrax, has been found and photographed for the first time in the UK near Cambridge by Buglife member Rob Mills.

This species of bee-fly is found in many parts of Europe, including France and Germany, and was thought to have been in the UK for some time. The photograph of the black bee-fly, on a bee hotel, is the first positive proof of its presence here.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Fly species found in UK for first time | Discover Wildlife

Insect Training Courses

Soldier Beetle by Peter Hassett at Grangelands NR. 23May15

Martin Harvey has worked in biological recording for over 15 years, with the Open University’s iSpot project, the national Biological Records Centre, Wildlife Trusts, and local records centres.

He carries out entomological surveys, and as a volunteer runs two insect recording schemes. He is a qualified tutor, and has led many workshops on wildlife identification and recording for FSC and other organisations.

Click here to view courses that Martin will be leading.

Are robotic bees the future?

There have been a number of scientific papers published in recent years discussing the possibility of building miniature flying robots to replace bees and pollinate crops. Clumsy prototypes have been tested, and seem to crudely work. If crops could be pollinated this way, farmers wouldn’t have to worry about harming bees with their insecticides. With wild bee populations in decline, perhaps these tiny robots are the answer?

Source: The blog of David Goulson : University of Sussex – SPLASH

Common scoters makes ‘remarkable’ recovery

A species of duck, decimated by one of the worst oil spills in shipping history over 20 years ago, is making a ‘remarkable’ recovery, Natural Resources Wales has reported.

Common scoters were the worst affected casualties when the Sea Empress tanker floundered off the Pembrokeshire coast, spilling 72,000 tonnes of crude oil in the process.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: LandLove – News – Once decimated species makes ‘remarkable’ recovery

Non-Native Invasive Dragonflies

Five non-native damselfly and eight non-native dragonfly species have been recorded in Britain as a result of accidental introductions, either as eggs or larvae in imported aquatic plants. Most have been found in the greenhouses of importers of tropical pondweeds. However, at least one species (Ischnura senegalensis) has been discovered at a garden pond, to which it was probably moved with recently imported pondweed. Although unlikely, there is a possibility that these or other dragonfly species could be encountered, particularly near commercial aquatic greenhouses. Some may also emerge from domestic indoor aquaria after sale. As the species concerned have originated in hot climates, it is unlikely – although not impossible – that successful establishment could occur in the wild, as happened with Oriental Scarlet (Crocothemis servilia, pictured right) in Florida, USA.

Source: Non-Native Invasive Species |

Flower-rich habitats increase survival of bumblebee families

New research led by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology has revealed for the first time that flower-rich habitats are key to enhancing the survival of bumblebee families between years.The results, which come from the largest ever study of its kind on wild bumblebee populations, will help farmers and policy makers manage the countryside more effectively to provide for these vital but declining pollinators.

Source: Flower-rich habitats increase survival of bumblebee families | Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

International Team Discovers Large Cave-Dwelling Spider

Researchers at the San Diego Natural History Museum, along with experts from Mexico and Brazil, have described a new species of large cave-dwelling spider, the Sierra Cacachilas wandering spider (Califorctenus cacachilensis). Related to the notoriously venomous Brazilian wandering spider (Phoneutria fera), the Sierra Cacachilas wandering spider was first discovered on a collaborative research expedition in 2013 into a small mountain range outside of La Paz in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Four years later, after careful documentation and peer-review, the species and genus was deemed new to science and the discovery was published in Zootaxa on March 2, 2017.

Source: International Team Discovers Large Cave-Dwelling Spider

The Big Bluebell Watch


Bluebells by Alan Piggott

Bluebells by Alan Piggott taken in Kings Wood across the road from Stockgrove Park car park.

Over half the world’s population of these iconic wildflowers grow in the UK. Help us to find out where they are.

Be part of our most accurate bluebell survey ever. Your records will help to monitor the status of the UK’s bluebells over time and will help us to secure the future of native bluebells and their woodland home.

From beautiful ancient woods to your back garden, look out for bluebells and put your sightings on the map.

Click on the link for more information : The Big Bluebell Watch – Woodland Trust

Survey for Duke at Pitstone Hill and NT Bradenham estate

Hello everyone, I hope you wont mind me contacting you but the National Trust, who survey for the Duke on their land at Ivinghoe, would like us to do the same on Pitstone Hill in the coming late spring and early summer.

As you are probably aware the Duke is now extinct in Oxfordshire. Reduced to perhaps a single site in Berkshire (it wasn’t reported at all in 2016) and is hanging on in three sites in Bucks.. By far the largest of the three extant colonies is at Ivinghoe and the National Trust have not only been caring for it there but also managing Pitstone Hill so that it’s condition becomes suitable for the species to spread. This is essential if we are to make a successful job of saving the Duke. It must expand from its relatively small breeding areas into new patches of suitable habitat. The Natioanl Trust’s own volunteers will be surveying the large expanse of the Ivinghoe complex for the species but they feel that they cant adequately survey Pitstone Hill as well.

I plan to hold an initial meeting at Pitstone Hill at 11.00 on Thursday 25th May. (OS ref. SP955148 , Nearest postcode: LU7 9EN  )

We will take a walk to see the areas where the Duke is most likely to set up a new colony and with luck see the butterfly, its eggs and maybe even a larvae. Even if we don’t have any luck I shall show you images of the butterfly, egg, larvae and the type of feeding damage the larvae causes on leaves, which are readily spotted and make surveying for the Duke fairly straightforward. This meeting will last about 2 hours and after that you will be able to go back and survey at times to suit yourself, and we can also agree on two further search dates, to resurvey as a group if you would prefer to search with others.

This  is a chance to take part in a very worthwhile exercise. It would be brilliant to discover a new colony of the Duke, the first for decades. Even if we don’t succeed this year, we will establish a group to return each year, because eventually the Duke will make it the 500 m or so from the edge of the Ivinghoe colony to the slopes of Pitstone Hill.

There is also a previous event at NT Bradenham estate (meeting point to be decided, probably the cricket ground), this initial visit will be 17th May.

If you think you might be able to help with this work, even only making a single visit; please email me (Nick Bowles <> ) so that I can add your name to my list of those receiving updates. Thank you.

best wishes Nick Bowles
Chair, Upper Thames branch / BC
Butterfly Conservation will never swap, sell or rent your details to anyone. We will always follow the strict code of conduct set out by the Fundraising Standards Board.  You can change how you hear from us or unsubscribe from our mailing lists at any time, just let us know.

How can I survey and monitor my grassland?

Save Our Magnificent Meadows is the UK’s largest partnership project transforming the fortunes of vanishing wildflower meadows, grasslands and wildlife.

They have produced some useful guides:

  • Surveying and monitoring grassland habitats
  • Surveying and monitoring grassland species

Click on the link to view the guides: Magnificent Meadows

Hollington Wood – Bluebell Day 1 May 2017

Bluebell Day 2017
Bank Holiday Monday
1st May
10am – 5pm


Free admission (but all donations are very gratefully received) and you are free to explore all of the wood for the day.
Nearest free parking in Prospect Place.


  • Guided walks (11am & 2pm)
  • Refreshments available, incl primrose wine nouveau
  • Kids activities with Anna
  • Airsoft taster with Carlos
  • Nature experts on hand…

View the Hollington Wood website for more information.

MKNHS is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites. You should check details of any events listed on external sites with the organisers.

A fossilised flower in amber – with its pollinator!

There have been only a handful of occasions in my professional life when I’ve been sent a manuscript to review that has caused my jaw to hit the floor with amazement.  The last time it occurred was July 2016 when I received a request to review a study that claimed to have found a fossil flower in amber, with an associated pollinator.  Not only that, but the flower appeared to belong to a species of asclepiad (Apocynaceae subfamily Asclepiadoideae) – the plant group on which I have focused a good deal of my attention over the years.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: A fossilised flower in amber – with its pollinator! | Jeff Ollerton’s Biodiversity Blog

Hedgehog Awareness Week 30 April – 6 May 2017

Hedgehog Awareness Week runs from 30th April to 6th May 2017 and hedgehoggy events are being organised all around the country already!

Hedgehog Awareness Week is organised by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and takes place every year.  It aims to highlight the problems hedgehogs face and how you can help them.

Click on the link for more information: Hedgehog Awareness Week 2017 – The British Hedgehog Preservation Society

Brain size in birds is related to traffic accidents

Chaffinch by Tony Wood. Linford Lakes NR. 8 June 2016

Chaffinch by Tony Wood. Linford Lakes NR. 8 June 2016

Estimates suggest that perhaps a quarter of a billion birds are killed by traffic annually across the world. This is surprising because birds have been shown to learn speed limits.

Birds have also been shown to adapt to the direction of traffic and lane use, and this apparently results in reduced risks of fatal traffic accidents. Such behavioural differences suggest that individual birds that are not killed in traffic should have larger brains for their body size.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Brain size in birds is related to traffic accidents | Open Science

Identification Guides and Recording pages added MKNHS website

New Menus April 2017One of the Society’s initiatives this year is to encourage more people to report their sightings to create biological records.

To help people we have produced a list of recommended Identification Guides covering:
Fungi and Lichen
Millipedes and Centipedes
Reptiles and Amphibians
Slugs and Snails
Spiders and Harvestmen

There is also a new page on Recording and our indoor meeting on 25th April 2017 is entitles “How to Record”

You can find the new pages under the  menu.

We will put our new found knowledge into practice by recording our sightings in our outdoor meetings which you can view here.

Celebrate Milton Keynes’s 50th birthday with the Society

On 23 January 2017 Milton Keynes was 50 years old. There are celebrations throughout the year to celebrate.
MKNHS is joining in the celebrations and we’ve added the MK50 page to the website covering:

MK Festival of Nature logo colour png

  • Photographic Exhibition 30 June- 30 July 2017
  • Self-Guided Nature Walks:

Tattenhoe page added to Wildlife Sites

Male Willow Emerald Damselfly by Harry Appleyard, Tattenhoe Valley Park 14 October 2016

Male Willow Emerald Damselfly by Harry Appleyard, Tattenhoe Valley Park 14 October 2016

Ian Saunders has produced another of his excellent guides for the Wildlife SItes section of the website.

This time he describes Tattenhoe. Click here to visit the page in the Wildlife Sites section of this website.

But that’s not all. Ian’s guide is based on an extensive description of the site with wonderful photos produced by local naturalist Harry Appleyard. Harry has also produced a self-guided walk for this must see park.

View Harry’s extensive description of the site here.

View Harry’s self-guided walk here.

RSPBNBLG Walk – Paxton Pits NR 23 April 2017

RSPB logoThe RSPB North Bucks Local Group are leading a field trip to Paxton Pits Nature Reserve on 23 April 2017:

Location: Map ref TL 195 629, at W edge of Little Paxton, just off the A1 N of St.Neots
Postcode: PE19 6ET (Google map)

75 hectares of lakes, meadow, grassland, scrub and woodland next to the river Great Ouse, near St.Neots. A visit at this time of year to this particular location is all about Nightingales – hence the early start! Leader TBD. The café and toilets open after 10am.

Time: 08.30 am

Price: Free

See the RSPB North Bucks Local Group website for more information

MKNHS is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites. You should check details of any events listed on external sites with the organisers.

Garden Bird Watch 2016 – interactive analysis tool

Robin by Peter Hassett, College Lake 29 December 2016

Robin by Peter Hassett, College Lake 29 December 2016

Most of 2016 was warmer than average, but this didn’t mean that life was always easy for birds. Mild temperatures over the 2015/16 winter probably resulted in good over-winter survival of small garden birds, and numbers of Wrens, Coal Tits and Goldcrests were all high in gardens during the early part of the year. However, although birds escaped severe freezes, they were battered by storms and wet weather.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: GBW Annual Results 2016 | BTO – British Trust for Ornithology

100-million-year-old insect found preserved in amber

Researchers at Oregon State University have discovered a 100-million-year-old insect preserved in amber with a triangular head, almost-alien and “E.T.-like” appearance and features so unusual that it has been placed in its own scientific “order” – an incredibly rare event.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Ancient, scary and alien-looking specimen forms a rarity in the insect world – a new order | News and Research Communications | Oregon State University

Red Admiral migration

Have you seen a Red Admiral? Please record it!

The Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) is a migratory butterfly colonising Central and Northern Europe every year from the South. In autumn, the offspring of these spring arrivals migrate southwards.

We investigate the migration of the Red Admiral by the help of citizen science. Thanks to the more than 40 citizen science portals across Europe that share their data with us, we are now able to study Red Admiral occurrence in an unprecedented spatio-temporal resolution.

Now we need you to help our project! Please report any records of Red Admirals

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Red Admiral migration | Insect Migration & Ecology Lab

Who’s the daddy? 

Garden bird enthusiasts might be surprised – shocked even – to discover the goings on in their own back gardens. Between the well-kept flowerbeds and over neatly-trimmed lawns, nesting garden birds flit to and fro, their endeavours to rear their young a shining example of what hard-working, faithful couples can achieve. Or so, until relatively recently, it was presumed.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Who’s the daddy? | BTO – British Trust for Ornithology

We share the planet with 60,000 tree species

A list of tree species around the world has been compiled by the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) in conjunction with 500 member organisations.

The assessment has created Global Tree Search, the first complete database of tree species and country distributions, published in the Journal of Sustainable Forestry.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: We share the planet with 60,000 tree species | Discover Wildlife

State of UK Birds 2016

The main theme of The State of the UK’s Birds report (SUKB) 2016 is the latest Birds of Conservation Concern 4 list – BoCC4 published in 2015 – and the species whose status has changed. The increase in the Red list by 15 species is due to problems in all habitats including farmland, woodland and coasts but most notably in uplands with five new upland species moving onto the red list. One of these is Curlew.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: State of UK Birds 2016 | BTO – British Trust for Ornithology

Fungi walk Rushbeds Wood 17 April 2017

Buckinghamshire Fungus Group (BFG) are hosting a Fungi walk in Rushbeds Wood 17 April 2017.

Details of the event can be found here.

Please note that, if you are not a member of BFG, you are asked to contact Penny Cullington if you would like to attend any meetings.

MKNHS is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites. You should check details of any events listed on external sites with the organisers.

Singing bird provides hope in Galápagos

The mangrove finch has been a focus of captive-rearing efforts for the past three years in the Galápagos Islands and it looks like all this work has been successful.

A captive-reared male mangrove finch has been observed singing in the wild, representing the first released bird to have been seen exhibiting this breeding behaviour.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Singing bird provides hope in Galápagos | Discover Wildlife

Bumblebee identification course 30 April 2017

Bumblebee Identification and Field Techniques with Ivan Wright. 30 April 2017, 10am – 4pm.

A welcome into the wonderful world of bumblebees! There are approximately 24 species of Bumbleebee in the UK and they are fascinating creatures, but under-recorded.

This training day will mostly deal with the accurate identification of bumblebees for recording purposes. It will also be covering what is – and is not – possible in the field with a pragmatic understanding of recording some difficult species e.g. transect work. The workshop will also include hands-on survey and specimen preparation experience – including a chance to practice field and bench techniques.

Click on the link for more information: TVERC training courses: Bumblebee identification 30 April 2017 | Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre

Open Sunday at Linford Lakes NR 16 April 2017

Open Sunday at Linford Lakes NR 16 April 2017 10:00-16:00hrs.

Bring friends and family and explore the reserve.
There will be a nature hunt for families to take part in,
With rewards on completion for the younger family members.
Come along and see the herons on their nests.
Refreshments, home-made cakes and facilities available
Crafts, second-hand books and bird seed for sale.

World’s spiders devour 400-800m metric tons of insects yearly

The world’s spiders eat 400-800m tonnes of insects every year – as much meat and fish as humans consume over the same period, a study said Tuesday.

In the first analysis of its kind, researchers used data from 65 previous studies to estimate that a total of 25m metric tonnes of spiders exist on Earth.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: World’s spiders devour 400-800m metric tons of insects yearly – experts | Environment | The Guardian

Petition to keep the ban on bee-killing pesticides

Red-Tailed Bumblebee by Harry Appleyard, Tattenhoe 11 April 2016

Red-Tailed Bumblebee by Harry Appleyard, Tattenhoe 11 April 2016

38 Degrees are running a petition to the ban on bee-killing pesticides.

Britain’s bees are in danger. Powerful lobbyists want to spray toxic pesticides that kill bees all over our fields this summer. These pesticides are so deadly that there’s a ban on using them – so the lobbyists must convince the Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom to lift the ban.

Andrea Leadsom is fairly new to the job – and this is the first time she’s had the fate of our bees in her hands. But so far, the only people she’s heard from are lobbyists. Together, we can change that. A huge petition, delivered straight to her, would prove that the public expect her to protect our bees – and keep the ban in place

Please can you sign the petition right now and demand that the ban on bee-killing pesticides stays in place? It takes less than a minute to add your name:

RSPBNBLG Talk – Wildlife of Transylvania 13 April 2017

RSPB logoThe RSPB North Bucks Local Group are hosting a talk:

Location: Cruck Barn, City Discovery Centre, Bradwell Abbey, Milton Keynes
Postcode: MK13 9AP (Google map)
Andy, the Bucks Bird Recorder for the last 28 years, also leads overseas natural history tours. He’ll draw on all of his experience to take us on a virtual tour of this spectacular landscape where traditional farming and herding practices allow biodiversity to thrive. Birds, flowers, butterflies and moths … and maybe a bear!

Time: Doors open 7.15 pm for a prompt 7.45 pm start
Price: Group members £2.50, Non-Group members £3.50, Children £1

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How do animals see in the dark?

On a moonless night, light levels can by more than 100m times dimmer than in bright daylight. Yet while we are nearly blind and quite helpless in the dark, cats are out stalking prey, and moths are flying agilely between flowers on our balconies.

While we sleep, millions of other animals rely on their visual systems to survive. The same is true of animals who inhabit the eternal darkness of the deep sea. In fact, the overwhelming majority of the world’s animals are primarily active in . How is their formidable visual performance possible, especially in insects, with tiny eyes and brains less than the size of a grain of rice? What optical and neural strategies have they evolved to allow them to see so well in dim light?

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