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Winner. Hoverflies by Mark Strutton. 3 July 2016

Annual Photographic Competition 23 January 2018

Following the success of last year’s competition with a large turnout and many high quality prints submitted I hope we can do as well this year. To remind you of the rules:-

Prints only can be entered.

Maximum size of prints A4 (210x297mm)

Each member may enter a maximum of 2 prints per category. (That’s 8 prints in total). Prints must be unmounted.

The four categories are:-

  1. Birds
  2. All other animals, including mammals, fish, insects etc.
  3. Plants and fungi.
  4. Habitats, geological, astronomical.

Domestic animals and cultivated plants are not eligible.

People must not be a major subject of any photograph.

Pictures must be handed to Julie Lane, Linda Murphy or Jean Cooke by the end of the 16 January 2018 meeting.
You can see the winners of previous competitions in the gallery section of the website. You can see the winner of last years competition –
Hoverflies by Mark Strutton at the top of the page.

May the best photograph win! It could be yours!

Paul Lund

 

 

Using mobile phones to identify mosquitos

The direct monitoring of mosquito populations in field settings is a crucial input for shaping appropriate and timely control measures for mosquito-borne diseases. Here, we demonstrate that commercially available mobile phones are a powerful tool for acoustically mapping mosquito species distributions worldwide. We show that even low-cost mobile phones with very basic functionality are capable of sensitively acquiring acoustic data on species-specific mosquito wingbeat sounds, while simultaneously recording the time and location of the human-mosquito encounter. We survey a wide range of medically important mosquito species, to quantitatively demonstrate how acoustic recordings supported by spatio-temporal metadata enable rapid, non-invasive species identification. As proof-of-concept, we carry out field demonstrations where minimally-trained users map local mosquitoes using their personal phones. Thus, we establish a new paradigm for mosquito surveillance that takes advantage of the existing global mobile network infrastructure, to enable continuous and large-scale data acquisition in resource-constrained areas.

Source: Using mobile phones as acoustic sensors for high-throughput mosquito surveillance | eLife

First interstellar asteroid

For the first time ever astronomers have studied an asteroid that has entered the Solar System from interstellar space. Observations from ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile and other observatories around the world show that this unique object was traveling through space for millions of years before its chance encounter with our star system. It appears to be a dark, reddish, highly-elongated rocky or high-metal-content object.

Source: First interstellar asteroid is like nothing seen before: VLT reveals dark, reddish and highly-elongated object — ScienceDaily

RSPBNBLG Talk – Hedgehogs on 14 December 2017

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

“Hedgehogs” – Dr Pat Morris, President of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society
Location: The Cruck Barn, City Discovery Centre, Bradwell Abbey, Milton Keynes

Postcode: MK13 9AP (Google map)

Many of us would describe the hedgehog as Britain’s favourite mammal.
Pat is Britain’s foremost authority on hedgehogs and has studied these wonderful animals for over 40 years. years. His talk will cover garden hedgehogs, how far do they roam, effects of putting out food for them, diet and impact on birds (including the controversy about predation on bird colonies in the Hebrides), hedgehog survival and current population status and the impact of caring for sick and injured hedgehogs and their subsequent release into the wild.

Time: Doors open 7.15pm for a prompt 7.45pm start, ends at 10pm

Price: Group members £3, Non-group members £4, Children £1

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.

Open Sunday at Linford Lakes NR 10 December 2017

Linford Lakes Nature Reserve visitors enjoying an Open Sunday

Linford Lakes Nature Reserve visitors enjoying an Open Sunday

Open Sunday.

10 December 2017. (note not third Sunday

10:00- 16:00hrs

With Xmas Craft Making Event.

Suitable for people of all ages, each session includes full tuition

and all materials to enable you to make and take home traditional

Christmas Decorations, using natural materials.

 The Christmas Craft sessions will run from

11am to 12.30pm and from 1.30pm to 3pm

 The Christmas Craft Sessions cost £10.00 each, £15 for family.

No booking required.

 Please note Children under 16 are welcome,

must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

There is also the usual Open Sunday opportunities.

Andy Harding may be recording his duck count this morning.

He is willing to take a group along. Please meet at 10:00 in the centre.

You can enjoy a walk and spend time in the hides watching our winter wild fowl and other seasonal visitors.

If you fancy some warmer wildlife watching, then why not use  the viewing gallery in the Centre, where you will also find:

Crafts, Gifts, Second-hand book stall, bird seed for sale and warming refreshments including mince pies and home-made cakes.

 Family and friends welcome.

Dinosaurs & Ichthyosaurs of Britain – lecture 13 December 2017

Dinosaurs lecture 13Dec17-2

With Jurassic World 2 currently set to be released next year palaeontologist and fossil detective Dean Lomax takes us on a journey back to the amazing British finds that sparked the original dinomania in the 1800s. From the ‘invention’ of dinosaurs to the great granddad of T. rex, he reveals British dinosaur and ichthyosaur discoveries, including recent identification of new species and some incredibly rare finds.

Dean Lomax is an internationally recognised multi-award-winning palaeontologist, science communicator and author. He has travelled the globe and worked on many fascinating projects from excavating dinosaurs in the American West, to describing new species of extinct marine reptiles and winning a gold medal for excellence in science. A visiting scientist at The University of Manchester, Dean is passionate about communicating palaeontology with the public and regularly appears on television, including as series advisor and recurring on-screen expert presenter for ITV’s Dinosaur Britain. He has written two books, numerous scientific papers, and many popular articles. Dean is also the patron of the UK Association of Fossil Hunters (UKAFH).

Click here for more information: Abingdon School

India closes the loophole threatening vultures

This week, the Indian Government took an important step towards preventing the extinction of Asia’s Critically Endangered vultures by upholding the ban on large vials of diclofenac, a painkiller that is fatal to vultures. The judge was on the vultures’ side throughout, preferring to call them “sanitary workers” rather than “scavenging birds”.

Click here to read the rest of the article: India closes the loophole threatening the recovery of Asia’s vultures | BirdLife

MKNHS Society walk by Ann Strutton, Willen Lake 26 November 2017

Trip report – Willen Lake 26 November 2017

Sunday 26th November 2017 saw the first of our Society winter walks. 15 hardy souls braved the icy winds at North Willen Lake and were well rewarded.

We met at the Willen Pavilion car park on the west shore of the lake and began by looking at the veteran ash tree near the lake edge. Martin Kincaid explained how The Parks Trust has managed the decline of this tree and the recent discovery of bats roosting in it.

We then walked clockwise around the lake, stopping at times to look at the many species of duck among the huge group of coots (cootarium!) on the water. A single female Scaup, among a group of Tufted Ducks, was probably the pick, with good numbers of Teal, Mallard, Wigeon and Gadwall also spotted. We also found some nice specimens of the fungus Clitocybe geotropa on the grassy banks. When we reached the Flood Control structure, Mark Strutton shared his experiences of seeing otters here on several occasions in 2016. The animals are still active here and we were able to pick out a track from the lake edge, across the redway and down to the River Ouzel where we also found several piles of otter spraint and a slide down into the river!

At the bridge between the north and south lakes, we added 4 Little Grebes to the list and a Kingfisher was spotted shooting low across the water. We also admired a very tame Little Egret roosting in willow at this point. Ann Strutton managed to spot a group of 6 Goldeneye bobbing about on the South Lake at this point, and we did our best to see them between their frequent dives.

On the approach to the bird hide we spotted a Chiffchaff (there seem to be more than ever around this autumn) and hazel catkins. Form the hide itself we added Pochard and Shoveler to the wildfowl list bringing our duck total to nine species. However, waders were thin on the ground with just a single Lapwing observed. A single Greylag was the only goose we saw – obviously there were easier pickings on the South Lake.

The main target for today’s walk was the starling murmuration and we quickly marched around towards the Peace Pagoda to take position and wait. The first group of about 50 starlings appeared right on queue at 3.50pm and within five minutes they were swarming over the lake. Although there were probably no more than 2,000 birds (a pretty modest number) they put on a fine display as the sun set and for those who had not witnessed a starling murmuration before it was a memorable experience. A singing Cetti’s Warbler was a bonus at this point. The starlings finally settled in the reed beds at around 4.15pm at which point we said our goodbyes and retired for the evening, happy but in need of thawing out!

Starling Murmuration by Ann Strutton, Willen Lake 26 November 2017

Starling Murmuration by Ann Strutton, Willen Lake 26 November 2017


Report by Martin Kincaid

Wildlife crimes going unpunished without proper reporting

Crimes against wildlife are going unpunished, as crime figures aren’t properly recorded and assessed, warns a wildlife coalition as it launches a new report [1] today: ‘The Recording of Wildlife Crime in England and Wales’. The report is being launched at the National Wildlife Crime Enforcers Annual Conference

Click here to read the rest of the article: Wildlife crimes going unpunished without proper reporting

BTO Goldfinch Feeding Survey – winter 2015/16

An amazing 5,183 households took part in our Gold nch Feeding Survey over the winter, which was run to determine what exactly it is about our gardens that Gold nches nd attractive. While the analysis of the results is ongoing, Kate Plummer and Clare Simm reveal the initial ndings.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Open Sunday at Linford Lakes NR 10 December 2017

Linford Lakes Nature Reserve visitors enjoying an Open Sunday

Linford Lakes Nature Reserve visitors enjoying an Open Sunday

Open Sunday at Linford Lakes NR 10 December 2017 (note 2nd Sunday)

With Xmas Craft Making Event.

Suitable for people of all ages, each session includes full tuition

and all materials to enable you to make and take home traditional

Christmas Decorations, using natural materials.

 The Christmas Craft sessions will run from

11am to 12.30pm and from 1.30pm to 3pm

 Please note Children under 16 are welcome,

to be accompanied by a responsible adult.

.

BuBC trip – London Wetland Centre 10 December 2017

Oystercatcher ©Peter Hassett, Floodplain Forest NR 19 June 2017

Oystercatcher ©Peter Hassett, Floodplain Forest NR 19 June 2017

Buckinghamshire Bird Club will be hosting a field trip on 10 Dec 2017 – 00: to 00:00 at London Wetland Centre, Queen Elizabeth Walk, Barnes (Lat/Long 51.4756 and -0.236873).

Click here 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.

Natural History Museum expands online collections

Examples of some of the Lepidoptera specimens available on the Data Portal.

Examples of some of the Lepidoptera specimens available on the Data Portal.

The final batch of data from the iCollections project has now been released through the Museum’s Data Portal – a total of 260,000 Lepidoptera specimen records, bringing the total number of Museum specimen records accessible on the Portal to just over 3.8 million.

Click on the link for more information: A Flutter of Data | Digital Collections Programme | Blogs from the Natural History Museum

Current status of Red Deer and Roe Deer in Scotland

 

Responding to a request for information on the status of deer in Scotland, BTO researchers Dario Massimino and John Calladine analysed data on Red Deer and Roe Deer distribution and abundance, collected through the BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey.

Click on the link for more information: Modelled abundance and change in abundance of Red Deer and Roe Deer in Scotland from Breeding Bird Survey data | BTO – British Trust for Ornithology

Feeding Red Kites

Red Kite

Red Kite by Peter Hassett

Red Kites were once such urban birds that Shakespearian London was ‘the city of kites and crows’. Lacking modern sanitation, the streets provided rich pickings. Yet, although the species has now been reintroduced across the UK, our towns and cities are far cleaner. Mel Orros explores why hundreds are now visiting Reading.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Number 1 hide, Floodplain Forest NR

Water Quality Survey, September 2017

This project was part of the ‘Clean Water for wildlife survey’ run by the Freshwater Habitats trust’s “people Ponds and Water Project”.

Phil and I had 5 testing kits and we set off to find 5 different water bodies, to test for Nitrates (ppm) and Phosphates (ppm). Our test sites were:

  1. Pond in Little Linford Wood (SP 8285 4550) 21/09/17
  2. River Great Ouse, Stony Stratford (SP7875 3965) 22/09/17
  3. Calverton Brook (SP 78095 3861) 22/09/17
  4. Pond, High Street, Stony Stratford (SP 7840 4080) 24/09/17
  5. Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve (SP8112 4220) 24/09/17

The test results showed that the water quality around MK is generally pretty good, with low levels of both Nitrates and Phosphates. Phil researched the net to try and establish an ‘acceptable’ level for nitrates for ‘environmental Water’ and the International Consensus is less than 5ppm.

So how did our 5 sites compare?

Site Nitrates Phosphates
Little Linford Wood less than 0.2 ppm less than 0.02ppm
River Great Ouse 0.5 – 1ppm less than 0.02 ppm
Calverton Brook 1-2ppm* less than 0.02ppm
Pond, High Street: less than 0.2ppm Less than 0.02ppm
Floodplain Forest NR less than 0.2ppm 0.02 – 0.05ppm

* indicates the higher level of Nitrates. This brook runs through farmland, which might account for it.

These figures need to be taken with a pinch of salt as the colour of the water in the test kit was assessed against the colour on the recording chart.

I wonder if there were there any other results to compare locally? Please send your results to info@mknhs.org.uk

Mary Sarre, November 22nd, 2017

RSPBNBLG Walk – The Lodge 6 December 2017

RSPB logoThe RSPB North Bucks Local Group are leading a field trip to The Lodge on 6 December 2017:

Location: Meet in the car park (free to members) behind the shop on the south side of the B1042 Sandy to Potton road

WC near the shop. Please note there will be some steep paths with steps and tree roots.

Leader : George Conchie
Postcode: SG19 2DL (Google map)

After a wander through landscaped gardens, hilly pinewoods, old quarries and restored heathland – where better to buy Christmas presents than the RSPB shop? We hope to look inside this elegant house too.

Time: 10 am to 1 pm

Price: Free to members (Parking charge for non-members)

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.

Why is the Red List so important?

Red: a colour of alarm, urgency, passion and energy. For most conservationists, “The Red List” evokes all four of these feelings, perhaps all at once. The Red List tells us which species are most in danger and which to conserve first. It is also a powerful tool for persuading governments to protect threatened species, and for most of the plant and animal species worldwide, it is vital. The Red List is nicknamed the “barometer of life”, for it is a rich compendium of information on the threats to species, their ecological requirements, where they live, and information on conservation actions that can be taken to reduce their risk of extinction.

In full, it’s called The IUCN [International Union for the Conservation of Nature] Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM, and BirdLife International is the authority for birds, coordinating the process of evaluating all of the world’s bird species against the Red List categories and criteria in order to assess their extinction risk.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Why is the Red List so important? | BirdLife

Red Kite Survey

Red Kite by Harry Appleyard, Tattenhoe Park 19 April 2016

Red Kite by Harry Appleyard, Tattenhoe Park 19 April 2016

Why pollinator biodiversity is important

In a new review paper that’s just been published in the Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics I have looked at the question of just how diverse the pollinators are, and why pollinator biodiversity is ecologically important and therefore worthy of conservation.  I’ve taken a deep time and wide space approach to this, starting with what the fossil record tells us about when animal pollination evolved and the types of organisms that acted as pollinators in the past (the answer may surprise you if you’re unfamiliar with the recent paleontological literature on this topic).  Some of the most prominent biogeographical patterns have been highlighted, and I have tried to estimate the global diversity of currently known pollinators.  A conclusion is that as many as 1 in 10 described animal species may act as pollen vectors.

Click here to read the rest of the article: Pollinator biodiversity and why it’s important: a new review just published – download it for free | Jeff Ollerton’s Biodiversity Blog

Warriors Protecting Elephants

From afar, the cries of a baby elephant in distress seem almost human. Drawn by the sounds, young Samburu warriors, long spears in hand, thread their way toward a wide riverbed, where they find the victim. The calf is half-submerged in sand and water, trapped in one of the hand-dug wells that dot the valley. Only its narrow back can be seen—and its trunk, waving back and forth like a cobra.

Click here to read the rest of the article: Warriors Who Once Feared Elephants Now Protect Them

Talk: Hazel Dormice 22 November 2017 Linford Lakes NR

Open Sunday at Linford Lakes NR 19 November 2017

Linford Lakes Nature Reserve visitors enjoying an Open Sunday

Linford Lakes Nature Reserve visitors enjoying an Open Sunday

 Talk: Hazel Dormice

Date: 22nd November 2017

Time: 7.30pm-9pm.

Location: Linford Lakes Nature Reserve

The Hazel Dormouse being nocturnal and rarely seen was believed to be endangered in Britain in the 1990s.  Learn  about the speakers  project to release these small mammals in a local wood in 1998 and their present status locally.

More information regarding this project can be found here:-

http://mknhs.org.uk/dormouse-project/

 Price: £3, Age Range: Over 16 Meeting Place: Linford Lakes Nature Reserve.  Booking Required: Yes

Click here to book.

National Hedgehog Survey

Long-term studies by ourselves, People’s Trust for Endangered Species, and the British Trust for Ornithology have found that hedgehogs have undergone a drastic decline within Britain over the last two decades (see State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2011). Our humble hedgehog is now listed as a species of principal importance to protect.

Click on the link for more information: National Hedgehog Survey – Peoples Trust for Endangered Species

Identifying Redshanks from Spotted Redshanks

Redshanks are a common wader found, year-round, on the marshes of the north Norfolk coast. At any time of year, on a visit to RSPB Titchwell, Snettisham or the NWT Holme Dunes you often see redshanks probing their bills into the mud for insects, worms, and crustaceans. This year has even seen them returning to breed on nearby Roydon Common, the first time in 40 years. Winter sees the numbers grow as more birds arrive from Iceland, spending their winters in the UK.

The Autumn and winter months can also bring a small number of the much rarer Spotted Redshanks. Most of these birds are passing through the UK but with a few overwintering on the marshes in this part of the UK. At this time its not uncommon to hear about local sightings of Greenshanks on their migration to their African wintering grounds. In recent years, a number of these have overwintered on the estuaries of SW England.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Help with Identifying Redshanks from Spotted Redshanks

Impact of weather on  butterfly populations

Silver-washed-Fritillary by Julian Lambley Bernwood Butterfly trail 24June 2017

Silver-washed-Fritillary by Julian Lambley Bernwood Butterfly trail 24June 2017

The aim was to assess the sensitivity of butterfly population dynamics to variation in weather conditions across their geographical ranges, relative to sensitivity to density dependence, and determine whether sensitivity is greater towards latitudinal range margins.

Click here to read the rest of the article: European butterfly populations vary in sensitivity to weather across their geographical ranges – Mills – 2017 – Global Ecology and Biogeography – Wiley Online Library

The limits of phenology

Henry David Thoreau monitored flowering times in Concord from 1852 to 1858; his data is a key component in our study. Photo by Richard Primack and Abe Miller-Rushing.

Henry David Thoreau monitored flowering times in Concord from 1852 to 1858; his data is a key component in our study. Photo by Richard Primack and Abe Miller-Rushing.

Species must either adapt in-place to survive climate change or migrate elsewhere to track their prefered environmental conditions. Increasingly, the phenologies of species – the timing of their life history events – are changing in spring, with flowers opening earlier, or birds migrating sooner. Measuring the degree of this phenological change is challenging because it’s difficult to get good data before climate changed (when did plants start flowering in the past?), and it’s hard to be certain when an event actually took place (On a Saturday in spring you noticed the first violet flower; did they first flower that day, or during the past week when you were busier?). In our paper, we apply a new method to estimate the onset of events, allowing us to more precisely combine historic herbarium and museum data with contemporary observations to detect evidence of climate change.

Click here to read the rest of the article: The limits of phenology | Nature Ecology & Evolution Community

UK will back total ban on bee-harming pesticides

The UK will back a total ban on insect-harming pesticides in fields across Europe, the environment secretary, Michael Gove, has revealed.

The decision reverses the government’s previous position and is justified by recent new evidence showing neonicotinoids have contaminated the whole landscape and cause damage to colonies of bees. It also follows the revelation that 75% of all flying insects have disappeared in Germany and probably much further afield, a discovery Gove said had shocked him.

Click here to read the rest of the article: UK will back total ban on bee-harming pesticides, Michael Gove reveals | Environment | The Guardian

Most complete tyrannosaur fossil is found

A fossilized skeleton of a tyrannosaur discovered in Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was airlifted by helicopter Oct 15, and delivered to the Natural History Museum of Utah where it will be uncovered, prepared, and studied. The fossil is approximately 76 million years old and is likely an individual of the species Teratophoneus curriei.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: New tyrannosaur fossil is most complete found in Southwestern US: Researchers are amazed to find nearly complete skeleton with many bones in life position — ScienceDaily

Back From The Brink

Grey Heron by Harry Appleyard, Howe Park Wood 19 April 2016

Grey Heron by Harry Appleyard, Howe Park Wood 19 April 2016

Back from the Brink is one of the most ambitious conservation projects ever undertaken.
Its aim – to save 20 species from extinction and benefit over 200 more through 19 projects that span England; from the tip of Cornwall to Northumberland.

It’s the first time ever that so many conservation organisations have come together with one focus in mind – to bring back from the brink of extinction some of England’s most threatened species of animal, plant and fungi. Explore the diverse projects below to find out more about the special species we’ll be saving, the places we’re be working and how you can get involved and make a difference.

Click on the link for more information: The projects – Back From The Brink

British Wildlife Photography awards 2017

Daniel Trim’s airport-roosting pied wagtail has won the 2017 competition, which celebrates the work of amateur and professional photographers and the beauty and diversity of British wildlife. Winning images are chosen from thousands of entries, including film and junior categories.

More than 100 images are on show at the Mall Galleries in London, before touring nationally

Click on the link for more information: The British Wildlife Photography awards 2017 – in pictures | Environment | The Guardian

FSC Course – Mosses &Liverwort Identification 18 November 2017

An introduction the field identification of mosses and liverworts, using characters that can be seen using a hand lens. During the day the field characters of mosses and liverworts will be examined and we will identify a number of common species that can be found in London. Based in Bushy Park.

Click on the link for more information: Mosses and Liverwort Field Identification – 66168 – FSC

RSPBNBLG Quiz – Wicken Sports Club 24 November 2017

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

Location: Wicken Sports Club, Wicken, Milton Keynes – just 15 minutes from Central Milton Keynes.
Postcode: MK19 6BU Google map

Our Annual Fun Quiz Night.
Bring your own team (of up to 6 people) or come along and join others on the night.
£4 per person – a prize for each member of the winning team.
An extra “spot round” during the interval – with an individual prize for the winner.
Wicken Sports Club will provide refreshments – tea, coffee and a licensed bar.

Please book in advance by Friday 17 November – to AnnRSPBNBucks@hotmail.co.uk

Time: Doors open 7.30pm for an 8pm start

Price: £4 per person

Booking essential

Telephone: 07803905958

E-mail: AnnRSPBNBucks@hotmail.co.uk

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.

Relocated squirrels moving to new areas

Red squirrels relocated to woodlands in the north west Highlands are “flourishing and breeding”, according to a conservation charity.

More than 80 squirrels were trapped in other parts of the Highlands in phases of the project led by Findhorn-based Trees for Life.

The animals were released in areas that had no squirrels, including Shieldaig.

Click here to read the rest of the article: Relocated squirrels moving to new areas, says charity – BBC News

Fossil coral reefs show sea level rose in bursts during last warming

Scientists have discovered that Earth’s sea level did not rise steadily when the planet’s glaciers last melted during a period of global warming; rather, sea level rose sharply in punctuated bursts.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Fossil coral reefs show sea level rose in bursts during last warming: Reefs near Texas endured punctuated bursts of sea-level rise before drowning — ScienceDaily

New Nature magazine published

New Nature Magazine Issue 11

New Nature Magazine Issue 11

New Nature is the only natural history magazine written, edited and produced entirely by young people: by young ecologists, conservationists, communicators, nature writers and wildlife photographers each boasting an undying passion for the natural world. It is intended, foremost, as a celebration of nature, but also of the young people giving their time, freely, to protect it.

Click here to download the magazine

House sparrow decline linked to air pollution and poor diet

Female house sparrow drinking dirty water. Credit: © VOLODYMYR KUCHERENKO / Fotolia

Female house sparrow drinking dirty water. Credit: © VOLODYMYR KUCHERENKO / Fotolia

House sparrows are well-adapted to living in urban areas, so it is surprising their numbers have fallen significantly over the past decades. An investigation into this worrying trend finds that sparrows living in urban areas are adversely affected by pollution and poor nutrition. The study also finds the birds suffer more during the breeding season, when resources are needed to produce healthy eggs.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: House sparrow decline linked to air pollution and poor diet: City sparrows suffer from more stress than their country cousins, find Spanish researchers, especially during breeding season — ScienceDaily

New draft Silphidae guide

Draft interactive ID guide for Silphidae

Draft interactive ID guide for Silphidae Carrion Beetle

A new draft interactive ID guide for Silphidae (Silphidae is a family of beetles that are known commonly as large carrion beetles, carrion beetles or burying beetles) is available for download: goo.gl/FMVZ3i

The Tree Charter is launched

“A new forest charter that aims to put trees and woods back at the heart of people’s lives has been launched on the 800th anniversary of the original.

Click on the link for more information: Charter

Open Sunday at Linford Lakes NR 19 November 2017

Linford Lakes Nature Reserve visitors enjoying an Open Sunday

Linford Lakes Nature Reserve visitors enjoying an Open Sunday

Open Sunday at Linford Lakes NR 19 November 2017 10:00-16:00hrs.

 The centre and the reserve are available for you, your family and friends to enjoy,

 as well as the usual Open Sunday treats.

You are invited to join Keith on a guided walk on the Periphery Path. 

This event will take place at 10:30 from the centre.

On sale are crafts, gifts and bird seed.

Also on sale, the FoLLNR calendar 2018,

Glorious shots, to grace your wall all year.

They make wonderful gifts.

Only £5.00.

Profits from sales go to fund future projects at the reserve.

.

Starling by Harry Appleyard, 20 April 2016

Starlings – love them or hate them?

Worldwide range of the common starling with natural populations in blue and introduced populations in red

Worldwide range of the common starling with natural populations in blue and introduced populations in red

I read a warning on an Australian website asking for all sightings of starlings to be reported, not because they were concerned about the welfare of the birds, but because”

The common starling (Sturnus vulgaris) is one of the most invasive bird pests worldwide, having established populations in many countries outside its natural range.

You can read more of the Australian Government’s warning here.

In England, Starlings are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which makes it illegal to intentionally kill, injure or take a starling, or to take, damage or destroy an active nest or its contents.

The Starling is on the Red List of Birds of Conservation Concern.

I will let you draw your own conclusions.

RSPBNBLG Walk – Marston Vale Country Park 19 November 2017

RSPB logoThe RSPB North Bucks Local Group are leading a field trip to Marston Vale Country Park 19 November 2017:

Location: Meet: Marston Vale Forest Centre car park (free) MK43 0PS. Turn off Marston Moretaine to Lidlington road at SP 999 411.
Postcode: MK43 0PS Google map

We’ve twice done the free area. This time we’ll visit the permit-only reserve, with wide reedbeds and the splendid new tower hide. Look for bearded tit, barn or short-eared owls, or our nearest breeding marsh harriers! The visitor centre has shops, toilets & a cafe.

Leader: Chris Coppock

Time: 10 am to 1 pm

Price: £2.50 for entrance to permit only area (£1.75 concessions)

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.

The status of Hazel Dormouse in Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull in 2016

Orphaned hand reared Dormouse

The Society has been running  a dormouse monitoring project in Little Linford Wood for many years. You can find out more about the project here.

A similar project has been run in the Midlands by Ruth Moffatt who was Local Biodiversity Action Plan co-ordinator for Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull from 2003 to 2008. She now runs the Warwickshire Dormouse Conservation Group.

You can download the full 40-page report The Status of the Hazel Dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) in Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull using this link.

Some birds use discarded cigarettes to fumigate their nests

NESTS are made from things birds find in the environment. For those that live far from human dwellings, twigs and leaves predominate. For those that live in cities, the list of materials is more eclectic. Often it includes plastic bags, paper, aluminium foil, electrical cables and even cigarette butts. Most of these have been assumed to be the result of birds simply making do with what the urban world provides them, but a study just published in Avian Biology by Monserrat Suárez-Rodríguez and Constantino Macías Garcia of the National Autonomous University of Mexico has demonstrated that the cigarette butts are being woven into nests not by accident but by design.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Some birds use discarded cigarettes to fumigate their nests

The British Bat Survey

Pipistrelle Bat Linford Lakes NR 17th October 2016 Martin Kincaid

Pipistrelle Bat Linford Lakes NR 17th October 2016 Martin Kincaid

Bat monitoring technology has improved rapidly since the inception of the National Bat Monitoring Programme (NBMP) in 1996. BCT are working with researchers from University College London, Oxford University and the British Trust for Ornithology to develop a new survey for the NBMP, the British Bat Survey, which will utilise the latest developments in acoustic sensor design, automated call recognition and interactive volunteer feedback. We aim to pilot aspects of this survey in 2017 and 2018. Here is some of the work underway so far:

Click here to read the rest of the article: The British Bat Survey – Bat Conservation Trust

RSPBNBLG Talk – Tales from the Urban Jungle 9 November 2017

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

“Tales from an Urban Jungle” – David Lindo, the Urban Birder
Location: The Cruck Barn, City Discovery Centre, Bradwell Abbey, Milton Keynes

Postcode: MK13 9AP (Google map)

We’re very pleased to welcome David Lindo back for a return visit to our Group – since he last visited us, David has been as busy as ever, writing, broadcasting on TV and radio, leading bird tours … and travelling far and wide.

David has visited over 270 cities worldwide in search of urban birds. During his travels he has found a surprising number of committed conservationists, interesting birding locations and, importantly, many birds. Join him on his journey in and around some of the world’s best urban birding areas. Sure to be an entertaining and informative evening.

Time: Doors open 7.15pm for a prompt 7.45pm start, ends at 10pm

Price: Group members £3, Non-group members £4, Children £1

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.

381 new species have been discovered in the Amazon

A fire-tailed titi monkey, a honeycomb patterned stingray, a pink river dolphin and a yellow-moustached lizard are among nearly 400 new species to be discovered in the Amazon in just two years.

A new report by WWF and the Mamirauá Institute in Brazil reveals that a new species of animal or plant is being discovered in the Amazon every 2 days, the fastest rate this century. However, because huge parts of the forest are being destroyed so fast, WWF is warning that we may never know all of the riches that the world’s largest tropical rainforest holds.

Some 381 new species were discovered in the Amazon 2014 and 2015, including 216 plants, 93 fish, 32 amphibians, 20 mammals – 2 of which are fossils – 19 reptiles and 1 bird. The new species include:

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: 381 new species have been discovered in the Amazon – here are some of the most intriguing – The i newspaper online iNews

Birds of Prey Survey

Red Kite

Red Kite by Peter Hassett

The Hawk Conservancy Trust is seeking volunteers to perform raptor surveys this autumn/winter (Oct-end Dec).  Surveys involve walking a pre-determined route (8-10km) along public rights of way and recording every Kestrel, Buzzard and Red Kite seen.  Each observation is recorded using a GPS (to note observer location), laser rangefinder (to determine distance to the bird) and a compass (to note bearing to the bird).  All equipment (except binoculars) is provided as is training on how to use the equipment and perform the surveys.

If you are good at finding birds in the landscape and interested in taking part, please contact Matt Stevens at Matt@hawkconservancy.org or 07920 720067 for further details.

Grey Heron by Harry Appleyard, Howe Park Wood 19 April 2016

MKNHS Photo Exhibition at Howe Park Wood Visitor Centre

If you missed our wonderful photographic exhibition at MK Library earlier this year, fear not – you have another chance to see it in all its glory! The fabulous banner, displaying beautiful photographs taken by many Society members, is now on display at The Parks Trust’s Howe Park Wood Visitor Centre.

The exhibition will be housed here until at least January 2018 and hopefully beyond. The Visitor Centre and café are open 9am-3pm on weekdays and from 9am-4pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Programme Change 7 November 2017

The originally planned presentation by Caring for God’s Acre, has been rescheduled to April 2018.

We are now delighted to announce that Jeff Blincow is now coming to tell us about “Conservation Projects at Yardley Chase”. This is a completely new talk he has not yet given elsewhere.

National golden eagle survey 2015

Every year a proportion of the Scottsh golden eagle population is surveyed by licensed experts from the Scottish Raptor Study Group. This phenomenal voluntary effort (currently 373 home ranges [approx 53% of known ranges] monitored by 150 eagle experts) provides invaluable data that are submitted to the Scottish Raptor Monitoring Scheme and are used to inform conservation policy at local, regional and national level.

Source: National golden eagle survey 2015: low occupancy on Eastern Highland grouse moors remains a concern – Raptor Persecution UK

‘Field and Stubble’ Exhibition – 12 November 2017

‘Field and Stubble’, an Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings showcasing the latest work by the renowned local wildlife artist Kate Wyatt

The exhibition focuses on the wildlife and landscape of the Milton Keynes area

The exhibition is at All Saints, Lathbury, North Bucks on 11th and 12th November 2017 from 10-5pm.

Hawfinches galore!

The incredible numbers of Hawfinches across southern England has dominated the migration picture this week, with thousands of birds thought to be involved and there does not appear to be any let up.  Many areas where Hawfinch would be a rare bird if a single bird appeared have seen staggering numbers, with the largest count being 115 over Steps Hill in Buckinghamshire on a single morning.

Click here to read the rest of the article: BTO Bird Migration Blog: Hawfinches galore!

Met forensics expert invents kit to catch African ivory poachers

A Met forensics specialist who developed an ivory fingerprinting kit used to identify elephant poachers and traders in Africa is to be honoured for his achievement.

Mark Moseley, who works at crime scenes for the Met, developed the kit in his spare time after being challenged by his two daughters to find a way to save elephants. It can allow fingerprints to be obtained from ivory for up to 28 days after it has been handled.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Met forensics expert invents kit to catch African ivory poachers after daughters ask him to save elephants | London Evening Standard

Delightful damselflies

Birdwatchers love to see something new, but after a while new birds can be harder to come by and, as a result, some of us develop wider tastes. One group that has long attracted the attention of birders is the Odonata – better known as the dragonflies and their smaller cousins, the damselflies. As with most insects, the highest diversity is in mid-summer but as the days lengthen, the species count drops. However, in October and even later in milder years, Common Darters, Migrant Hawkers and Southern Hawkers can still catch the eye as a flash of colour in the fading countryside.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: BBC Blogs – Autumnwatch – Delightful damselflies

Moths and light pollution

There are lots of moths (over 2,500 species have been recorded in the UK) and many of them visit flowers to drink nectar. However, because observing insect visits to flowers is much more difficult in the dark, relatively little research has been carried out on the importance of nocturnal moths as pollinators.

Recent reviews of the scientific literature have concluded that moths act as pollinators for a wide range of plants in many different ecosystems, from tropical rainforests to Scottish pinewoods, and that the role of moths as pollinators has, to date, been underestimated and, therefore, undervalued.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: The pollinator night shift: Moths and light pollution — Bee Coalition

Steady decline in honey crop

Beekeepers have raised concerns over the future of honeybees as an annual survey showed a “steady decline” in the honey crop.

The survey by the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) revealed beekeepers in England produced an average of 11.8kg (26 lb) of honey per hive this year, down 1kg on last year.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: ‘Steady decline’ in honey crop raises concern for honeybees’ future | Environment | The Guardian

Will climate change bring new bird species to the UK?

Researchers are increasingly investigating the effects that climate change might have on animals and plants. At the British Trust for Ornithology we have investigated how climate change will affect the abundance of over 100 bird species across Great Britain by using annual bird counts undertaken by skilled volunteers in the UK and France.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: BBC Blogs – Autumnwatch – Will climate change bring new bird species to the UK?

RSPBNBLG Walk – Back Wood 8 November 2017

RSPB logoThe RSPB North Bucks Local Group are leading a field trip to Farmoor Reservoir on 4 October 2017:

Location: Meet: gateway at SP 913 325 immediately E of bridge taking Lt Brickhill to Woburn road over A5 at crest of Greensand Ridge. Slip-roads from both directions on A5.

It’s some time since we visited the Brickhill Woods. This scenic corner has held woodcock, brambling, siskin, crossbill, raven and goshawk.

A short but challenging walk with boggy hillsides and plenty of mud.
Parking very limited—please car share.
Leader: Chris Coppock
Time: 10 am to 1 pm

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.