Category Archives: News

RSPBNBLG Walk – Farmoor Reservoir on 4 October 2017

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

This giant concrete bowl beside the Thames holds waterfowl, waders, wagtails and farmland birds.
Meet in the car park (£2 parking all day)
Toilets on site, easy walking around the reserve.
When we last visited this reserve (October 2015) we saw “Grebes Galore”! (although sadly not the Red-necked Grebe that had been seen there earlier in the week) – but we did see plenty of waterfowl, plus Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail and a Yellow-legged Gull.
Leader : Brian Lloyd

Time: 10 am to 1 pm

Price: Parking £2 (at June 2017)

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.

Feeding on fruits and seeds

A significant number of plants rely on birds to act as dispersal agents for their seeds. As an incentive, the plants often offer nutritious fleshy fruits to attract birds to take the seeds, hidden inside, and ingest them. The seeds have tough external coats that protect them from the digestive systems of birds, allowing them to be deposited elsewhere once they have passed through the bird’s gut.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Feeding on fruits and seeds | BTO – British Trust for Ornithology

FSC Course – Identifying Autumn Wild Flowers 30 September 2017

An introduction to wild flowers, this practical day will help you identify some of those found in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Following a brief introduction to ways of identifying plants, most of the day will be spent outside. The location, a blend of urban park and wildlife haven, will surprise in its diversity.

Click on the link for more information: Identifying Autumn Wild Flowers – 66158 – FSC

ZSL launches a new wildlife garden

The wildlife garden at London Zoo launched this week and highlights the citizen science project co-ordinated by vets at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

The garden is full of advice and guidance on how visitors can welcome wildlife into their own gardens, including making minibeast hotels and installing hedgehog highways.

Click here to read the rest of the article: How to attract more wildlife to your garden | Discover Wildlife

First White-letter Hairstreak spotted in Scotland for more than 130 years

A butterfly enthusiast in the Scottish Borders has reported the third ever sighting of a white-letter hairstreak in Scotland.

The insect was seen in a field edge near Paxton, Berwickshire, and has only ever been sighted in Scotland twice before, in 1859 and 1884..

Click here to read the rest of the article: Why is this butterfly sighting so special? | Discover Wildlife

Golden eagles satellite tagged in new RPUK/Chris Packham project

At the 2017 British Birdfair at Rutland Water Raptor Persecution UK joined with Chris Packham to launch a new joint project.

Privately funded by a pair of extraordinarily generous and supportive philanthropists, this project has been in development since the New Year. We are grateful not only to our funders, but also to a number of people without whose help the project would have been a non-starter.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: A shedload of golden eagles satellite tagged in new RPUK/Chris Packham project | Raptor Persecution UK

Charter for Trees, Woods and People Newsletter

More than 70 organisations from across multiple sectors have joined forces to create a Charter for Trees, Woods and People that will guide policy and practice in the UK. We believe the people of the UK have a right to the many benefits brought by trees and woods. The new Tree Charter, launching on 6 November 2017, will recognise, celebrate and protect this right.

Read their latest newsletter here.

RSPBNBLG Walk – Floodplain Forest NR on 24 September 2017

RSPB logoThe RSPB North Bucks Local Group are leading a field trip to Floodplain Forest NR on 24 September 2017:

Location: Meet in car park (free) SP 816 421, Haversham Road near railway viaduct.

This Parks Trust reserve, formerly “Manor Farm”, should be good for passage waders at this time of year.

All welcome

Leader: Chris Ward, 01908-669448

Time: 10 am to 12.30 pm

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.

Tiny Creatures Captured with a Laser-Scanning Microscope

If you’ve ever wondered how a diving beetle swims through the water or manages to rest just on the surface, the answer is in part because its foot is infinitely more complicated than your own. As seen above, this microscopic image of a male Acilius sulcatus (diving beetle) by photographer Igor Siwan

Source: The Extraordinary Details of Tiny Creatures Captured with a Laser-Scanning Microscope by Igor Siwanowicz | Colossal

FSC Course – Identifying Fungi 23 September 2017

Fungus by Peter Hassett, Bow Brickhill 1 November 2014

Fungus by Peter Hassett, Bow Brickhill 1 November 2014

Did you know that there are over 1,500 species of fungi in London? This beginners course will explore the environment of Bushy Park, showing how and where to find different species of fungi and examining their amazing lifestyles. A combination of walks and talks will help you start to learn the basic identification techniques. This course will not teach you how to forage fungi for food.

Click on the link for more information: Identifying Fungi – 66169 – FSC

How flexible can birds be with feather moult? 

New BTO research uses information collected by bird ringers to investigate large-scale differences and flexibility in the timing of feather moult across 15 passerine species that breed in the UK. Different moult strategies were found between migrant and resident species, alongside within-species regional variation in moulting schedules.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: How flexible can birds be with feather moult? | BTO – British Trust for Ornithology

RSPBNBLG Talk – Trinidad and Tobago 14 September 2017

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

Location: The Cruck Barn, City Discovery Centre, Bradwell Abbey, Milton Keynes
Postcode: MK13 9AP (Google map)
Paul got our 2015/16 season off to a great start with his talk on “Orange Cats & Blue Cows”.
This time he’ll take us to a place with an old Colonial feel, but firmly in the New World. With a mix of rain-forest and stunning beaches, highlights will include dashing hummingbirds, bright Scarlet Ibis and the bizarre nocturnal cave dwelling Oilbird.

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.

Clean Water for Wildlife – a citizen science survey

Clean Water for Wildlife is a citizen science survey that aims to raise awareness of the true extent of nutrient pollution in England & Wales.

Click on this link to see how you can become involved in this project: Clean Water for Wildlife – Freshwater Habitats TrustFreshwater Habitats Trust

Hannah Worker, the Freshwater Habitats Trust Project Assistant has provided additional information:

I’m writing to you from the Freshwater Habitats Trust to request your help to find clean unpolluted ponds, streams and ditches where wildlife can thrive.

Through our citizen science survey, Clean Water for Wildlife, we are supplying volunteers with simple kits that rapidly measure the water quality of local ponds, streams and ditches. Through the survey we hope to build a map of water quality across the country and to find amazing clean (unpolluted) freshwater habitats where wildlife can thrive. Would you be able to help publicise the survey to your members? I hope this is something they would be interested in taking part.

Why is the survey important?

Clean unpolluted water supports rich and diverse communities of freshwater plants and animals, including many of our now rarest species. It is often the best indicator of a thriving waterbody. Despite its importance very little is known about the water quality in most freshwater habitats, particularly in our smaller waters. Until recently it was only possible to measure water quality through expensive laboratory tests, now with simple kits it takes just a few minutes. With new technology it is now possible to fill in the gaps in our knowledge and it presents an opportunity to find many more really special clean waters where wildlife can flourish.

The kits

The kits rapidly measure the levels of two widespread nutrients pollutants, nitrate and phosphate, and can be used in all type of freshwater habitats (garden ponds, ditches, streams, fens, rivers and more). With these quick kits people can now actively participant in current scientific research into water quality and help to discover clean water habitats where wildlife can thrive. You can see the kits in action in our short ‘How to Video’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63teHzPeX4M&t=4s)

For more information please visit

http://freshwaterhabitats.org.uk/projects/clean-water/

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.

Kind regards,

Hannah

 

Hannah Worker
Freshwater Habitats Trust Project Assistant

(Please note I work on several projects and may be away from my desk for periods of time. This may mean there is a delay in my response)

 

07741495682
www.freshwaterhabitats.org.uk 

Freshwater Habitats Trust, 1st Floor, Bury Knowle House, North Place, Headington, Oxford, OX3 9HY

RSPBNBLG Walk – Rutland Water on 6 September 2017

– Summer Leys NR 14 January 2017

RSPB logoThe RSPB North Bucks Local Group are leading a field trip to Rutland Water on 6 September 2017

A full day at England’s premier inland water site, for wader passage and perhaps departing ospreys.
Shop selling some snacks and hot drinks, toilets, but no cafe so you may want to bring lunch.
Always produces a good list of birds (57 species when we visited in September 2016) and, with some late summer sunshine, possibly some butterflies too.

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 17 September 2017

Open Sunday at Linford Lakes NR 17 September 2017 10:00-16:00hrs.

The reserve is open to friends and family,

Bring the neighbours too.

Waders and other migrating birds are on the move.

Come and check out what’s dropped in.

Stop off at the centre for a fresh cuppa and a piece of home-made cake.

Buy a unique gift and some bird-seed too.

.

Merlin Bird ID app

Red-necked Grebe by Peter Hassett, Draycote Water 1 March 2017

Red-necked Grebe by Peter Hassett, Draycote Water 1 March 2017

You may be interested in this free app, available for Apple and Android devices:

Smartphones are becoming an increasingly important part of birding. If you want to be the first person to hear about a rare bird, digiscope a rarity, or submitting your sightings, having a small portable computer at your fingertips is enabling all of this to happen. We also look to our smartphones as identification aids now that field guides are packaged into apps. But what if your app could instantly scan your photo and match it to a species based on an archive of millions of bird images? It can.

The Merlin Bird ID app was developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to do just this, taking a photo you snap in the field, and suggesting an identification. Photo ID identifies birds in photos using computer vision technology trained on nearly 3 million images uploaded to Macaulay Library through eBird checklists.

The high accuracy of the Photo ID tool is largely thanks to the extensive collection of images at Macaulay Library, showing birds from many different angles. Annotations on these images (a box drawn around each bird in the photo) also help teach the Photo ID tool to find the birds in the photo–-anyone can help improve Merlin’s accuracy by adding new annotations with Macaulay’s MerlinVision tool.

Click on the link for more information: Blog – Merlin Bird ID app – SWAROVSKI OPTIK

Jackdaws flap their wings to save energy

For the first time, researchers have observed that birds that fly actively and flap their wings save energy. Biologists have now shown that jackdaws minimize their energy consumption when they lift off and fly, because the feathers on their wing tips create several small vortices instead of a single large one. The discovery could potentially be applied within the aeronautical industry.

Source: Jackdaws flap their wings to save energy — ScienceDaily

Investigating the Owl to Develop New Technology

Anupam Sharma, an assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Iowa State University, is turning to an unusual source to make technology quieter. Sharma is researching nocturnal owls, specifically the Barn owl (Tyto Alba), to understand what makes the bird so quiet during flight, and use bio-inspiration to develop nearly silent aircraft, UAVs, and wind turbines.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Investigating the Owl to Develop New Technology – Business, Finance, Stock, Real Estate and Auto News

FSC Course – Introduction to Hedgerows 16 September 2017

Hedgerows are boundary features of the landscape and their history is usually reflected in their wildlife. Learn about how hedgerows were created – or planted, their trees and flora, and of species that help to indicate their origin. We will look at how to create a hedgerow, even within a small site, how to manage the hedgerow and how to encourage wildlife. Based in Bushy Park.

Click on the link for more information: Introduction to Hedgerows – 66162 – FSC

The Barrie Jones Award Lecture 2017

The Barrie Jones Award Lecture 2017 Poster

The Barrie Jones Award Lecture 2017 Poster

Dear sir/madam,

We have the pleasure of inviting you to attend the Barrie Jones Award Public Lecture at the Open University, regarding the search for life in the universe which we hope will be of interest to you and your students. The lecture will be held in the Berrill Lecture Theatre at the Open University, on Wednesday 13th September 2017 at 6 pm. It is a public lecture and there is no charge for admission. See attached flyer for more information.

We would very much welcome your attendance to this event. I do hope that you will be able to confirm your attendance to this invitation by 8th September, so we can accommodate numbers accordingly.

We look forward to meeting you in the Berrill Lecture Theatre at the Open University.

Yours sincerely

Manish Patel
Senior Lecturer in Planetary Sciences”

Please respond to the sender as soon as possible

Bee Conservation in the United Kingdom questionnaire

Tree Bumblebee by Harry Appleyard, Tattenhoe 24 February 2017

Tree Bumblebee by Harry Appleyard, Tattenhoe 24 February 2017

My name is Sarah Miller and I am a Masters student from the School of Applied Sciences at Edinburgh Napier University. As part of my degree course, I am undertaking a research project. The project is about investigating public attitudes towards bee conservation.

Use this link to complete the questionnaire.

NASA’s Awe-Inspiring Images of the Solar Eclipse 2017

The solar eclipse isn’t exactly an everyday event, and it’s something that brings together photographers, amateur astronomers and the public alike in an attempt to catch a glimpse of its celestial beauty. But if you missed it for one reason or another, then fear not. NASA – being the astronomical experts they are – have captured images almost as rare and stunning as the eclipse itself.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: These are NASA’s Awe-Inspiring Images of the Solar Eclipse 2017 | Nature TTL

FSC Course – Identifying Birds by Sight and Sound 7 September 2017

Do you live in or around London? Here’s a great opportunity if you’re new to birding or have a little experience. Spend a day in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park learning how to identify the resident and migrant birds found here – and more widely throughout London. With the River Lea running through the middle of the Park and new wetlands and woodlands created alongside, we’ll be able to see how well birds are colonising the area just a few years after the 2012 Olympic Games. We’ll be watching, listening and using the latest smartphone apps to help you become more confident in your identification, learn more about bird behaviour and increase your enjoyment of birdwatching generally.

Click on the link for more information: Identifying Birds by Sight and Sound – 66148 – FSC

FSC Course – Bats and their Natural History 2 September 2017

Daubenton’s bat by Chris Damant

Daubenton’s bat by Chris Damant

During this introductory day and evening course in Bushy Park we will look at bats in general, but with emphasis on the 17 species of British bats. Starting with their biology, evolution and environmental requirements for feeding, living and breeding, etc, we will then cover classification and names of our native species and how we identify them in the hand, with the assistance of some live bats. We will also learn how bat detectors can be used to identify bats in flight, using their echolocation calls, and there will be a practical session in the Park in the evening, using bat detectors to find and identify some of our common bats in flight.

Click on the link for more information: Bats and their Natural History – 66149 – FSC

New scanning process allows unprecedented look inside live insects

Until now, insects have been too wriggly to make good subjects for scientists wanting to understand more about insect innards.
But an interdisciplinary team of biologists and imaging specialists from Western University has worked out a novel micro-imaging solution that’s leading to unprecedented new ways of viewing insect development.

Click on the play button to watch the video

Click here to read the rest of the article: New scanning process allows unprecedented look inside live insects

Cock Marsh – wetland plant walk 9 September 2017

tland Plant Walk 9th Sept 2017

Wetland Plant Walk 9th Sept 2017

Wetland Plant Walk – Cock Marsh (Cookham)

Saturday 9th September, 10:30-12:00

Join us for a guided walk around the Cock Marsh Ponds and discover more about the wetland plants that make this site so special.

Cock Marsh is one of 70 selected flagship sites. Flagship Sites are the best of the best ponds and pond landscapes in England and Wales. Cock Marsh itself supports several of our rarest and most threatened wetland plants. With the help of local volunteers and support from the Heritage Lottery Fund we are working to protect these ponds for the long term.

From 12pm onwards there will be chance to learn how to identify a selection of rare wetland plants before trying your hand at surveying them across the site.

No booking is required to this free event.

For more information or to let us know about any special requirements please email Peter at pcase@freshwaterhabitats.org.uk

4th World Shorebirds Day 1-7 September 2017

Gyorgy Szimuly has provided the following information about this year’s World Shorebirds Day which runs from 1-7 September 2017

Dear Friends,

The 4th World Shorebirds Day is around the corner and in a month hundreds of birdwatchers are going out for counting shorebirds. The Global Shorebird Counting is a popular program of World Shorebirds Day that will take part between 1-7 September 2017. Registration is already open and available at this link: https://goo.gl/9Q9ZSN

For committed and returning counters a loyalty program was announced last year. I encourage you to register through the form embedded in our blogpost and give yourself a chance to win one of the fantastic prizes. Please find the post at this link: https://goo.gl/hftjym

It would be fantastic to hit an all time high record in the registered sites in 2017. Results of the previous year’s counting will be published later (hopefully shortly).

Follow and subscribe to our blog at https://worldshorebirdsday.wordpress.com

Looking forward to seeing you among the supporters of World Shorebirds Day.

Very best wishes, Szimi

Birds avoid crossing roads to prevent predation

Falco peregrinus

Peregrine by Harry Appleyard, Hazeley Wood, 29 May 2016

Roads can be dangerous to wildlife. Animals making the perilous journey against the traffic run the risk of meeting an untimely death. Until recently, it was widely believed, unlike other animals, birds were largely unaffected by the presence of roads and traffic, simply because they could fly.

A new study, published in the open-access journal, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, reveals this is not the case. Birds can find roads challenging too – they are less likely to be found next to roads and are hesitant to cross them.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Birds avoid crossing roads to prevent predation

There’s a way to save hedgehogs – and all of us can help

Nesting Hedgehog by Susie Lane, Skelton, Cumbria 20 May 2017

Nesting Hedgehog by Susie Lane, Skelton, Cumbria 20 May 2017

Today (15 August 2017) sees the launch of the “hedgehog housing census”. All over the country, thousands of people are going to the trouble and expense of building or buying hedgehog homes. We want to know how important this is to the lives of one of our most loved animals – and how we can improve the way we help hedgehogs in the future.

Click on the link to find out more: There’s a way to save hedgehogs – and all of us can help | Hugh Warwick | Opinion | The Guardian

Observatree – help spot tree disease

Volunteers play an essential role within Observatree. They are critical ‘citizen scientists’ who help perform a number of functions.

How anyone can help – Increasing surveillance and reporting

This could be you! We aren’t looking for any huge commitment. All we ask is that you keep an eye out when you’re out and about around trees:

Click on the link for more information: Observatree – the official project website

Why gardeners should protect caterpillars

Elephant hawk moth Caterpillar, Deilephilia Elpenor by Julian Lambley, Old Wolverton Mill, 11 September 2016

Elephant hawk moth Caterpillar, Deilephilia Elpenor by Julian Lambley, Old Wolverton Mill, 11 September 2016

Caterpillars are not pests. I know the cabbage white will make light work of your tea, the clothes moth will leave your finery in tatters and the tomato moth will munch through your ripening tomatoes, but for every one that is after your crops or clothes, there is another that brings beauty to your garden. And not just in the obvious fluttering way: those fat teenaged blue tits ganging around your garden right now are almost pure caterpillar. They are an essential part of the food chain.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Why gardeners should protect caterpillars | Life and style | The Guardian

Urban indicators for UK butterflies

Silver-washed Fritallary (male)©Paul Young, Bucknell Wood 8 July 2017

Silver-washed Fritallary (male) ©Paul Young, Bucknell Wood 8 July 2017

Highlights
•Urban abundance trends were negative for all 28 UK butterfly species considered.
•Trends were more negative in urban versus rural areas for 25/28 species.
•Declines in composite abundance were significantly more negative for urban areas.
•Urban populations generally showed earlier emergence and longer flight periods.
•Indicators are vital for monitoring populations pressurised by urbanisation.

Click here to read the rest of the article Urban indicators for UK butterflies – ScienceDirect

Wild flower hour

At 8pm every Sunday, we all share pictures of flowers we have found growing wild in Britain and Ireland over the preceding week. Of course, if you’re busy at that time, you can always post something during the week – but 8-9pm is when we have a proper party.

Click on the link for more information: About us – #wildflowerhour

Open Sunday at Linford Lakes NR 20 August 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 20 August 2017 10:00-16:00hrs.

Activities for the family today.

Simon Bunker has two sessions on;-

An Introduction to Grasshoppers & Bush Crickets.

Morning session 10:30- 12:30.  Afternoon session 13:30 – 15:30.

No need to book, just turn up.

Crafts, bird seed and refreshments & home-cakes on sale.

.

FSC Course – Introduction to Beetles and True Bugs 19 August 2017

Thick-Legged Flower Beetle by Peter Hassett at Grangelands NR. 23May15

This course will provide an introduction to the many families within these two large insect orders and cover the identification of more distinctive species. You will gain an insight into the varied biology of these insects and become familiar with some of the field techniques required to find them. Based in Bushy Park.

Click on the link for more information: Introduction to Beetles (Coleoptera) and True Bugs (Hemiptera) – 66154 – FSC

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)

Hundreds of rare natterjack toadlets spotted at Sandy RSPB lodge

CONSERVATIONISTS are celebrating a revival in numbers of one of the country’s rarest amphibians at a Bedfordshire reserve, despite difficult breeding conditions.

Last month RSPB wardens and volunteers counted more than 300 of the thumnail-sized natterjack toads emerging from the pools at the RSPB’s nature reserve at The Lodge, in Sandy.

Read more at http://www.bedfordshire-news.co.uk/rare-natterjack-toadlets-causing-a-stir-on-rspb-nature-reserve/story-30473412-detail/story.html#EBObXYwxkBF5jLUJ.99

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Baby boom as rare natterjack toadlets spotted in their hundreds at Sandy RSPB lodge | Bedfordshire News

Comprehensive plant database released

Kew GardensThe Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew has launched the first online database of the world’s flora.

Plants of the World Online (POWO) contains information on identification, distribution, traits, threat status, molecular phylogenies and uses of all known seed-bearing plants around the world.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Comprehensive plant database can be accessed by everyone | Discover Wildlife

The Importance of Nest Sites for Birds and Bees

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

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

Over the last century, land use in the UK has changed drastically. Small mixed-crop farms, traditionally separated by lanes, hedgerows and wild meadows have been replaced with larger, more specialised facilities. At the same time, the density of grazing animals such as sheep and cattle has also risen substantially. This combination of land-use change and agricultural intensification has contributed significantly to habitat degradation and biodiversity loss, and has led to huge, often dire, changes for the wildlife that call these places home.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Red Admiral spotting seeking a butterfly revival

Red Admiral butterfly by Harry Appleyard, Howe Park Wood 20 December 2016

Red Admiral by Harry Appleyard, Howe Park Wood 20 December 2016

By any standards, it was a poor day to count butterflies. Denbies Hillside, on the south-facing flank of the North Downs – supposedly a summer haven for lepidopterists – was swept by wind and heavy showers. Butterflies, like humans, take a poor view of such conditions and had made themselves scarce.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Red Admiral spotting: desperately seeking a British butterfly revival | Environment | The Guardian

Volunteers wanted for MiaFest

Would anyone be happy to help at the event below? It would be great if someone from the society can give them a hand.

From: Kirstin McIntosh 

Email:<kirstin@miaswood.org.uk>

Message:

“Hello there,

I am the co-founder of a children’s environmental charity, Mia’s Wood (registered charity number 1169919), which is located on a small 2 acre newly planted woodland site just outside Little Horwood (the entrance is on the Little Horwood Road towards Great Horwood.)

We hold an annual children’s nature festival, MiaFest, and we are always looking for naturalists and knowledgeable folk who might be willing to speak to children to teach them about different aspects of nature.  I have found this quite challenging so far, as many of the big groups provide online resources rather than hands-on experience. This year, MiaFest will be held on Saturday 23rd September 12 noon-late and I’d love it if we could find a way to share your members’ nature knowledge with our little MiaFesters.

http://www.dfmanagement.tv/category/wildlife-presenters

MiaFest is a free children’s nature festival where we have 500 people who come along to enjoy a magical day of fun together.  There are all kinds of nature crafts and activities, as well as music, food and experiences.   Here’s a link to our website www.miaswood.org.uk and you can find MiaFest here, as well as some of our activities.

Mia’s Wood is a children’s environmental charity which has been set up in the memory of our daughter, who died unexpectedly at the age of 13 months.  Even at that age, she loved the outdoors, and we want Mia’s Wood to be a way for children to experience the wonder of nature.

We have two Forest Schools using Mia’s Wood, and we hold regular events at the site to maintain the little woodland and nature activities.

For MiaFest, we have previously had Kate from BBOWT and her team to support us, but otherwise, it has proved very challenging to have an educational element around nature for children.  We know the Parks Trust quite well, but they always have an event clash with MiaFest, and otherwise, groups like The Woodland Trust are not able to support us as so much of their material is online learning only.

Ideally, I would love someone who could help us to engage children in observation skills – perhaps something as simple as insect identification and why they are different, or even learning about different types of trees and leaves.  I’d be very happy to discuss further if it would help.

Why midsized animals are the fastest on Earth

An elephant should run faster than a horse—at least in theory. That’s because big creatures have more of the type of muscle cells used for acceleration. Yet midsized animals are the fastest on Earth, a trend that researchers have long struggled to explain. Now, an analysis of nearly 500 species ranging from fruit flies to whales has an answer

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Why midsized animals are the fastest on Earth | Science | AAAS

Pollinator Monitoring and Research Partnership

Tree Bumblebee by Harry Appleyard, Tattenhoe 24 February 2017

Tree Bumblebee by Harry Appleyard, Tattenhoe 24 February 2017

Many insect pollinators are becoming less widespread in Britain and elsewhere and we have limited understanding of the effect of these changes on the pollination services they provide. This is largely due to the lack of long-term, standardised monitoring of their populations.

Source: Establishing a UK Pollinator Monitoring and Research Partnership | Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

A New Dragonfly Species in MK

Scarce Chaser Dragonfly by Martin Kincaid, Linford Lakes NR 27 July 2017

Scarce Chaser Dragonfly by Martin Kincaid, Linford Lakes NR 27 July 2017

On Thursday 27th July, Martin Kincaid spotted a dragonfly at Linford Lakes Nature Reserve which turned out to be a Scarce Chaser Libellula fulva. This species, once restricted to East Anglia, has undergone a period of range expansion in recent years and has been found across Northants. This however is the first record for this species in Milton Keynes. Similar to the more common Black Tailed Skimmer, this species can be told apart by the blue tinted eyes and slightly thicker abdomen.

Picture and text by Martin Kincaid

 

Planet Nine: ‘Extreme’ objects in the far reaches of our solar system

In 2014, a bold – and somewhat controversial – study claimed there was a mystery planet lurking in the far reaches of our solar system. Dubbed Planet Nine, it was “spotted” in January 2016 using mathematical modelling and computer simulations and was said to be interfering with the orbits of known objects in the Kuiper Belt.

Source: Planet Nine: ‘Extreme’ objects in the far reaches of our solar system hint at mystery world | Alphr

Tardigrades, toughest animals in the world?

Tardigrades are arguably the toughest animals on earth, as Brett Westwood discovered when recording Natural Histories. With the appearance of a hoover bag and powers that put most sci-fi heroes to shame, these micro-animals can withstand being boiled, frozen or blasted into outer space…
Here are 10 tough facts to put you in your place.

Source: BBC Radio 4 – Natural Histories – What Are Tardigrades?

Go rockpooling for research!

Natural History Museum Rockpooling research

Natural History Museum Rockpooling research

The Big Seaweed Search gathers data for research into the effects of sea temperature rise, ocean acidification and the spread of non-native species on UK shores. We need more data points to robustly address our research questions.

If you’re heading to the coast this summer, please download a survey guide or request a hardcopy by emailing your name and address to seaweeds@nhm.ac.uk.

Long-tailed tit retrap record

Long Tailed Tit by Peter Hassett, College Lake 18 June 2017

Long Tailed Tit by Peter Hassett, College Lake 18 June 2017

Julie Lane has provided details of a local Long-tailed tit retrap record.

I have just had news from my friend Del Gruar that a female long-tailed tit that he ringed at Potton, Cambridgeshire last April was retrapped by Kenny Cramer at the Wildlife Day at Howe Park Wood on 1st July this year. A real coincidence as Del was the ringer at our first Howe Park Day in 2016. What goes around comes around!!

These are the details supplied by the British Trust for Ornithology:

Here are the details of a recovery of one of your birds.
Species: Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus) Scheme: GBT Ring no: HRX352

Ringing details
Age: 4 Sex: F Sex meth: B P.ringed: 0 P.alive: 0 Condition: U
Colour marks added: – Metal marks added: N Act1: U Act2: U
Ringing date: 16-Apr-2016 14:20:00
Reg code: – Place code: POTTON Site name: Potton, near Sandy, Bedfordshire, UK
County code: GBBED Grid ref: TL2248 Accuracy 0 Co-ords: 52deg 6min N 0deg -13min W Accuracy 0
Hab1: F2 Hab2: —
Biometrics: Wing: 60.0 mm. Weight: 9.5 g. Time: 14:20:00hrs
Remarks: –
Ringer: D J Gruar, 4538
________________________________________
Finding details
Ring not Verified Age: 4 Sex: F Sex meth: B
Colour marks added: – Metal marks added: – Act1: U Act2: U
Finding date: 01-Jul-2017 (0) 15:10:00
Reg code: – Place code: HWPKWD Site name: Howe Park Wood, Milton Keynes, UK
County code: GBMKE Grid ref: SP8334 Accuracy 0 Co-ords: 51deg 59min N 0deg -47min W Accuracy 0
Hab1: A1 Hab2: —
Biometrics: Wing: 61.0 mm. Weight: 8.3 g. Time: 15:10:00hrs
Finding condition: 8:20 Movement: 9
Subsequent Capture by Ringer Intentionally Taken
Remarks: –
Duration: 441 days Distance: 41 km Direction: 252deg (WSW)
Finder: Northants Ringing Group, 9187