Category Archives: News

Monitoring of bush-crickets with acoustic monitoring of bats

  1. Nymph of Roesel's Bush Cricket by Paul Lund, Linford Lakes NR 16 June 2015

    Nymph of Roesel’s Bush Cricket by Paul Lund, Linford Lakes NR 16 June 2015

    Monitoring biodiversity over large spatial and temporal scales is crucial for assessing the impact of global changes and environmental mitigation measures. However, large-scale monitoring of invertebrates remains poorly developed despite the importance of these organisms in ecosystem functioning. Exciting possibilities applicable to professional and citizen science are offered by new recording techniques and methods of semi-automated species recognition based on sound detection.

  2. Static broad-spectrum detectors deployed to record throughout whole nights have been recommended for standardised acoustic monitoring of bats, but they have the potential to also collect acoustic data for other species groups. Large-scale deployment of such systems is only viable when combined with robust automated species identification algorithms. Here we examine the potential of such a system for detecting, identifying and monitoring bush-crickets (Orthoptera of the family Tettigoniidae). We use incidental sound recordings generated by an extensive citizen science bat survey and recordings from intensive site surveys to test a semi-automated step-wise method with a classifier for assigning species identities. We assess species’ diel activity patterns to make recommendations for survey timing and interpretation of existing nocturnal data sets and consider the feasibility of determining site occupancy.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Potential for coupling the monitoring of bush-crickets with established large-scale acoustic monitoring of bats – Newson – 2017 – Methods in Ecology and Evolution – Wiley Online Library

Is Everest shrinking?

Exactly how tall is Mount Everest? That’s what scientists in India are trying to figure out.

This week, India’s surveyor general announced that the government is going to remeasure Mount Everest, in a bid to determine whether the world’s tallest peak shrank (or grew) following a devastating earthquake in 2015. The expedition is the first Indian survey of the mountain in more than 60 years, but experts say obtaining an accurate measurement will be a tall order, and determining the earthquake’s effect on it may be even tougher.

Click this link to read the rest of the article: This expedition is trying to find out if the tallest mountain in the world shrank – The Verge

Spiders are a treasure trove of scientific wonder

House Spider by Peter Hassett, Preston Montford 25 September 2016

House Spider by Peter Hassett, Preston Montford 25 September 2016

Australia has an incredible diversity of native spiders, including the potentially lethal funnel-web, the ubiquitous huntsman, and the charming peacock spider. Only two can be deadly for humans – the funnel-web and redback spiders – and we have antivenom for both.

Found all across the country, spiders play an important role in the environment as generalist predators. Increasingly, their venom is being used to develop novel human therapeutics and to create new, selective, sustainable insecticides.

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Source: Spiders are a treasure trove of scientific wonder

SpaceX is blasting a superbug into orbit

Perhaps concerned that life on Earth isn’t quite interesting enough, SpaceX’s next move will be to do something that you imagine a wise old scientist in a science-fiction movie would advise against, before being overruled and watching everything go to hell. In a break from the usual flowers and chocolates, this Valentine’s Day Elon Musk’s private space company will be sending a lethal, antibiotic-resistant superbug into orbit.

Source: SpaceX is blasting a superbug into orbit | Alphr

Rock and Fossil Day – Bucks County Museum 25 March 2017

Rock and Fossil Day - Bucks County Museum 25 March 2017

Rock and Fossil Day – Bucks County Museum 25 March 2017

Rock and Fossil day at the County Museum,  on Saturday 25th March. It’s a free event, 11am – 3pm and  fabulous opportunity to meet group members, bring in your mystery finds to see if we know what they are (no promises on that!) and to find out a bit more about Buckinghamshire’s deep and mysterious past.  Suitable for adults and children alike, and a good family activity in the main museum itself which is always worth a wider visit.

South Africa is still losing three rhinos a day

Today, the South African Department of Environmental Affairs announced that in 2016 1,054 rhinos were reported killed in the country. This is a decline from 1,215 in 2014 and 1,175 in 2015.

Enhanced enforcement efforts in the Kruger National Park, one of Africa’s biggest wildlife reserves and home to the world’s largest population of white rhino, also resulted in a decline in the number of rhinos killed. The number fell from 826 in 2015 to 662 in 2016 (a 20 per cent reduction) despite an increase in the number of reported incursions in the 19 500km2 park.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Latest official poaching figures show that South Africa is still losing three rhinos a day | WWF

LED lighting could have major impact on wildlife

LED street lighting can be tailored to reduce its impacts on the environment, according to new research by the University of Exeter.
The UK-based study found predatory spiders and beetles were drawn to grassland patches lit by LED lighting at night, but the number of species affected was markedly reduced when the lights were dimmed by 50% and switched off between midnight and 4am.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Featured news – LED lighting could have major impact on wildlife – University of Exeter

Alien bird species mapped for the first time

Scientists from University College London have studied the movement of ‘alien’ bird species between 1500 and 2000AD.

They found that there was a sharp increase in the rate of introductions in the 19th century when Europeans exported birds such as ducks, geese and pheasants to new territories.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Alien bird species mapped for the first time | Discover Wildlife

You will find more information here Mapping movements of alien bird species — ScienceDaily

Talking Trees presentation 22 March 2017

South Beds. Wildlife Trust Local Group are hosting a talk entitled ‘Talking Trees’ on Wednesday, 22 March 2017 at Dunstable Community Fire Station Lecture Theatre at 7.30pm. Please note: doors open 7.15pm.

Click on this link 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.

ATOM Festival of Science & Technology 22-26 March 2017

The 2017 ATOM Festival of Science and Technology will take place in Abingdon between Wednesday 22nd and Sunday 26th March. The Festival has a full programme of talks, school events and a Fair in the Market Square on Saturday 25th.

Your members and their families may be particularly interested in the talks on “What makes us human”, “Dinosaur hunting in Africa” (aimed at a family audience) and “Antarctica: Treasury of climate data” although, of course, they will be most welcome at any of the talks or events. We would be very grateful if you could inform your members of the Festival, perhaps via your newsletter or any regular emails that you send out.

Full details of all of the talks and events can be found on the Festival web site, www.atomfestival.org.uk  where tickets can be purchased for any of the talks. There is also an early bird discount for those booking before the end of February, or a Festival pass for those wishing to attend a number of talks. In addition, if your organisation would like to arrange for a group of ten or more to go to one of the talks please contact me at dave.pennington21@virginmedia.com to discuss a group booking at a discount from the full (March) prices.

If you have any other questions about the Festival, please contact us at organisers@atomfestival.org.uk.

We look forward to seeing some of your members at the Festival.

Startled honeybees give a little ‘whoop’

Recent research has shed new insight into this vibrational pulse emitted by honeybees, scientists have concluded they ‘whoop’ when surprised!

Once thought to initiate food-giving behavior, the vibration is most widely accepted as the ‘stop signal’, directed at bees advertising a particular foraging site through their ‘waggle dance’.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Startled honeybees give a little ‘whoop’ | Discover Wildlife

Photography Event at Linford Lakes NR 21 March 2017

Photography Event at Linford Lakes NR on Tuesday 21 March 2017

Doors open 19:15, presentation 19:30hrs

£2:00 each.

 David Harris.

www.flickr.com/photos/g8ina/albums/

David is an experienced photographer with several awards

to his name. He is also a member of the Northampton Natural

History Society.  www.nnhs.info/photo

 Infra red & Macro Photography.

Infrared : Hardware, Software, Techniques & Examples.

Macro: Hardware, Techniques, Examples.

Please bring your kit for advice, if needed.

This drone could pollinate your entire garden

When you hear ‘bees’ and ‘drone’ in the same sentence, you think of the low, continuous hum that the insects omit. What you don’t think is expensive gadget used to film smug family’s Jamaican getaway. Nonetheless, the scientific community’s concerns about the imminent demise of honeybees has instigated the development of drones – of the tangible persuasion – to carry out artificial pollination.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: This drone could pollinate your entire garden | Alphr

Fungi walk Finemere Wood 19 March 2017

Buckinghamshire Fungus Group (BFG) are hosting a Fungi walk in Finemere Wood 19 March 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.

France bans plastic cups, plates and cutlery

France has passed a new law to ensure all plastic cups, cutlery and plates can be composted and are made of biologically-sourced materials. The law, which comes into effect in 2020, is part of the Energy Transition for Green Growth – an ambitious plan that aims to allow France to make a more effective contribution to tackling climate change.  Although some ecologists’ organisations are in favour of the ban, others argue that it has violated European Union rules on free movement of goods.

Source: France bans plastic cups, plates and cutlery | The Independent

RSPBNBLG Walk – Floodplain Forest NR, Wolverton 18 March 2017

RSPB logoThe RSPB North Bucks Local Group are leading a field trip to RSPBNBLG Walk – Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve on Wolverton 18 March 2017:

Location: Map ref SP 816 421. Not our usual car park, which always seems too small for the numbers attending, but the one off the Haversham Road at the eastern end of the reserve.

Another visit to this excellent reserve on the northern edge of Milton Keynes, formerly called Manor Farm and much improved by the MK Parks Trust with new paths and 3 hides. Leader Brian Pratt.

Time: 10.00 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.

Climate Change and Trees

Weathering the storm Trees live a long time, which means they have to be able to cope with change. But is the climate changing too fast for them to keep up? Conversely, how can trees help us adapt to the new regime of extreme weather, such as heatwaves and floods?   The Ankerwycke Yew, under […]

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Climate Change and Trees –

Birds of a feather mob together

Rooks mobbing Short-eared Owl by Harry Appleyard, Tattenhoe 19 October 2016

Rooks mobbing Short-eared Owl by Harry Appleyard, Tattenhoe 19 October 2016

Dive bombing a much larger bird isn’t just a courageous act by often smaller bird species to keep predators at bay. It also gives male birds the chance to show off their physical qualities in order to impress females. This is according to a study in Springer’s journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology on predator mobbing behavior of birds where potential prey approach and harass would-be predators such as owls. The study was led by Filipe Cunha of the University of Zurich in Switzerland and the Federal University of Ouro Preto in Brazil.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Birds of a feather mob together

Talk – Geology of The Jurassic Coast by Simon Penn 9 March 2017

Poster - Talk Geology of The Jurassic Coast by Simon Penn 9 March 2017BMERC has been asked by the Bucks Geology Group to circulate information about an event which is happening this week at The Museum Resource Centre,  Halton. NB this is part of Bucks County Museum but for those wishing to come it is not the main public galleries in Aylesbury; it is in fact near Wendover, in Halton Village, about 5 miles further south.

The speaker rarely gets into Bucks so the group are extremely please to have managed to secure a talk from him on a section of the south coast which many of us may be familiar with. See attached poster for details.  For those who can’t open the poster the key details are:-

  • The event is from 7:15 – approximately 8:30 in the evening.
  • Thursday 9th March
  • Bucks County Museum Resource Centre, Rowborough Road, off Tring Road, Halton. HP22 5PL.
  • Free event but spaces strictly limited.

Please note booking is essential – and should be done by contacting Mike Palmer either by telephone on 01296 325223 or by email mpalmer@buckscountymuseum.org

Julia Carey
Environmental Records Centre Manager
Historic and Natural Environment Team
Transport, Economy and Environment

BTO Beyond Birds: working across other taxa

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

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

The British Trust for Ornithology have produced a report on their recent research

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is the UK’s leading independent research organisation studying birds and their habitats, with considerable expertise in the design and implementation of monitoring and research projects, from intensive studies to extensive surveys. The BTO also collects, analyses and shares information on other taxa, both through its core monitoring schemes and through the other projects with which it is involved, often working in partnership.

One of the great strengths of the BTO is its volunteer networks, and the organisation’s expertise in working with and supporting volunteers delivers valuable monitoring outputs across a broad range of taxa, from deer and butterflies through to bats and bush-crickets. Many of those interested in birds and birdwatching are also interested in other wildlife, and the BTO recognises the contribution that its volunteers can make to our knowledge of habitats and wildlife.

Click on this link to read the rest of the report

The State of European Cetaceans Report (2006 – 2015)

The State of European Cetaceans is ORCA’s report series, documenting the results of its survey findings, and more importantly, drawing conclusions about what the results mean for whales, dolphins and porpoises in the wild. With significant and emerging threats continuing to adversley impact these animals and their habitats, ORCA’s findings are crucial in providing evidence to conserve these animals in the future.
ORCA’s first report, ‘The State of European Cetaceans (2006 – 2015)‘, is the culmination of 10 years’ worth of sightings and environmental data collected during the 376 ORCA surveys conducted between 2006-2015 using vessels of opportunity (namely ferries and cruise ships). This report summarises the distribution and range of cetacean populations in and around Europe’s waters and identifies marine areas and species that are of greatest importance. This insight is crucial to make authoritative and informed decisions about the protection required for cetaceans.

Click on the link for more information: The State of European Cetaceans Report | Our Work | ORCA – Looking out for Whales and Dolphins

Birders asked to help find Lesser Spotted Woodpecker nests

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker numbers have declined considerably here in recent years, and this bird is now on the UK red list. The reasons for this decline are not fully understood, but RSPB research has suggested that the birds have not been breeding successfully but it is not clear whether this is a widespread problem.

In the last few years since the completion of the RSPB project very few lesser spotted woodpecker nests have been reported and monitored. However, two conservationists, Ken and Linda Smith, are now aiming to help bird watchers rectify this. With over 30 years experience of monitoring woodpecker nests they are hoping to build up a clearer picture of where the birds are and how well they are breeding. They began their research in 2015, and so far have been able to follow 10 nests each year, finding out whether the woodpeckers are successfully raising their young. In 2017 they hope to be able to study more.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Birders asked to help find Lesser Spotted Woodpecker nests, #ornithology news via @RareBirdAlertUK

Where do our wintering Blackcaps come from?

Over the next three winters, a new study focusing on Blackcaps wintering in Britain and Ireland will help reveal how novel migratory changes arise and spread. The study will look at genetic and morphological differences between breeding populations and migration strategies, as well as investigate aspects of wintering behaviour, movements and survival of individuals wintering in Britain.

Source: BTO Bird Ringing – ‘Demog Blog’

Rare woodlouse found to glow in the dark

The spiky yellow woodlouse is Critically Endangered and found on St Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean.

It is one of a number of endemic and rare species on the remote island.

The spiky yellow woodlouse is the only the second woodlouse species known to glow under ultraviolet (UV) light, a feature that is more commonly seen in scorpions.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Rare woodlouse found to glow in the dark | Discover Wildlife

A butterfly that lives underground

Large Blue Butterfly (c) Butterfly Conservation

Large Blue Butterfly (c) Butterfly Conservation

A butterfly that spends most of its life underground? Why? What is it doing? What does
it eat? Professor Jeremy Thomas solved the puzzle for the large blue butterfly Maculinea
arion in the 1970s just before it became extinct in the UK. Fortunately his findings were
used to successfully re-introduce the enigmatic species into England. Now, with the help
of partners, David Simcox and Sarah Meredith are continuing to discover more about this
iconic butterfly and they are using their knowledge to help it to thrive and to survive
threats such as habitat loss and climate change.

Click on the link for more information: A butterfly that lives underground? An evidence case story – EIN023

Moths of the season: Spring Quakers and Drabs, Part I

Twin-spotted Quaker by Gordon Redford taken at Linford Lakes NR 03Apr15

Twin-spotted Quaker by Gordon Redford taken at Linford Lakes NR 03Apr15

The early spring period is just round the corner, and for many mothers this is one of the most exciting times of the year, especially after a long winter of rather extreme weather with only a few windows of trapping opportunity.

Following the very cold early winter of 2010–11 there was a bumper crop of macro-moths in March and April of that spring. The majority of these consisted of noctuids in the genus Orthosia. A cold second half to this winter could trigger another good emergence if the temperatures rise quickly in March.

This time last year we dealt with Challenging Chestnuts using a selection of images to illustrate variations among this tricky species duo. This year we will look at the range of Orthosias and observe some routine moths and later, some variations and potential pitfalls along the way.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Moths of the season: Spring Quakers and Drabs, Part I

RSPBNBLG Talk – Peregrines, Pyramids and Purple Emperors 9 March 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)
As Biodiversity Officer for the Trust, Martin Kincaid is perfectly placed to give us an insight into how they are conserving wildlife. In particular, he’ll be telling us about the Floodplain Forest reserve, which he believes is “the most exciting habitat creation scheme in Milton Keynes’ young history.

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

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.

Scientists pinpoint location of unexplained space radio signals

A decade ago, scientists first detected fast radio bursts (FRB). They’re so-called because they’re incredibly powerful bursts of radio signals, but they’re extremely short-lived: a few milliseconds in length. Last year, scientists finally managed to catch one happening in real-time. And now we’ve managed to pinpoint where a repeating signal – FRB 121102 – is coming from. What is causing it is still open to speculation.

Source: Scientists pinpoint location of unexplained space radio signals | Alphr

Grass-carrying wasp, Isodontia mexicana (de Saussure) 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.

Click on this link to read the rest of the article

Biosecurity for everyone – Check, Clean, Dry

Common Frogs by Harry Appleyard, Howe Park Wood (Short-listed in Countryfile 2016 Competition)

Common Frogs by Harry Appleyard, Howe Park Wood, March 2016 (Short-listed in Countryfile 2016 Competition)

Biosecurity for everyone

Everyone visiting a water body is responsible for helping to avoid the spread of non-native species on their clothes, equipment and everything else that comes into contact with water.

This guidance sets out simple instructions that can help everyone prevent the accidental transfer of non-native species.

Click on the link for more information: Biosecurity for everyone – Check, Clean, Dry – GB non-native species secretariat

2017 Photo Competition Winners

Winner. Hoverflies by Mark Strutton. 3 July 2016

Winner. Hoverflies by Mark Strutton. 3 July 2016

Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 Photo Competition.

You can see the winning and shortlisted entries in the Gallery or by clicking here.

If anyone can remember the eight shortlisted entry, please let me know using this link.

BuBC Field Trip – Elmley Marshes and Sheppy 5 March 2017

Buckinghamshire Bird Club will be hosting an Field Trip on 5 March 2017 – 9:30 to 16:00 to Elmley National Nature Reserve, Elmley (Lat/Long 51.3772 and 0.783506)

Raptors, waders and seabirds.

Meet RSPB/NNR Car Park; TQ937678 Post Code ME12 3RN

Click on the link 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.

How flies are flirting on the fly

Yellow Dung fly by Peter Hassett, Whipsnade Zoo, 6 September 2016

Yellow Dung fly by Peter Hassett, Whipsnade Zoo, 6 September 2016

Flies have some of the most elaborate visual systems in the Insecta, often featuring large, sexually dimorphic eyes with specialized “bright zones” that may have a functional role during mate-seeking behavior. The fast visual system of flies is considered to be an adaptation in support of their advanced flight abilities. Here, we show that the immense processing speed of the flies’ photoreceptors plays a crucial role in mate recognition.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Flirting on the ‘fly:’ what blow flies can tell us about attraction, dating apps — ScienceDaily

Scientists discover new ancient otter species

The newly described species of otter, Siamogale melilutra, is estimated to be the size of a modern wolf, weighing approximately 110lbs and is one of the largest otter species ever discovered.

The skull was found in the Miocene lignite beds in the Yunnan Province of China, an area which is well-known for its diversity of fossils, including elephants, apes, birds and crocodiles.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Scientists discover new ancient otter species | Discover Wildlife

Seven Alien ‘Earths’ Found Orbiting Nearby Star

An illustration shows the view from just above one of the middle planets in the TRAPPIST-1 star system, which is now known to host seven Earth-size worlds. ILLUSTRATION BY M. KORNMESSER, SPACEENGINE.ORG/ESO

The Earth-size worlds orbit a star just 39 light-years away, and most may have the right conditions to host liquid water on their surfaces.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Seven Alien ‘Earths’ Found Orbiting Nearby Star

RSPBNBLG Walk – Draycote Water, Warwickshire 1 March 2017

RSPB logoThe RSPB North Bucks Local Group are leading a field trip to Draycote Water, Warwickshire on 1 March 2017:

Location: Map ref SP 463 691
Near Dunchurch, just south of Coventry, at the main car park.
Postcode: CV23 8AB (Google map)

This is yet another new location for us. It is a 630 acre reservoir with a flat paved path all round. The bird list for 2016 (up to mid-May) covers 137 species. Leader Brian Lloyd.

Time: 10.00 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.

Bird Beaks Are Cooler Than You Think — Literally

The image reveals the conchae inside the nasal cavity of a song sparrow, taken from a 3D reconstruction built on enhanced-contrast micro-CT scans. Credit: Eric Gulson and Mary Margaret Ferraro

The image reveals the conchae inside the nasal cavity of a song sparrow, taken from a 3D reconstruction built on enhanced-contrast micro-CT scans. Credit: Eric Gulson and Mary Margaret Ferraro

Whether stubby, slender, spoon-shaped, flattened or sharply pointed, bird beaks can be highly specialized, and now, researchers have found that some even have built-in AC.

For the first time, scientists were able to image tiny structures inside nasal cavities in song sparrow beaks. These structures function like air conditioning units, cooling airflow during breathing and helping to reclaim moisture in dry habitats.

Previous studies have examined the role that beaks’ sizes and shapes play in regulating birds’ body temperatures, and how certain bill types are linked to particular climates. But far less was known about how beaks’ internal structures were involved

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Bird Beaks Are Cooler Than You Think — Literally

Butterflies face a sharp decline in urban areas

Small White Tattenhoe Park Harry Appleyard 14th October 2016

Small White Tattenhoe Park Harry Appleyard 14th October 2016

Over the course of 20 years, 28 species of butterfly in urban and countryside environments were monitored and the results are a cause for concern.

In rural areas, butterfly numbers declined by 45%, while in urban environments, a 69% decrease occurred.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Butterflies face a sharp decline in urban areas | Discover Wildlife

The best garden flowers for bees

 

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

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

Many flowers are attractive to bees, with different types of bee varying in their particular preferences. In particular, long-tongued bumblebees such as Bombus hortorum tend to favour deep flowers, and of course short-tongued bumblebees such as Bombus terrestris prefer shallow flowers. Sometimes short-tongued bees rob deep flowers by biting a hole in the side of the flower so they can reach the nectar.

In general herbs and cottage garden perennials are good, and annual bedding plants are best avoided (because they have been intensively bred and have often lost their rewards or become so mishapen that insects cannot get in to them – also, many have been drenched in insecticides).

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: The best garden flowers for bees : Resources : Goulson Lab : School of Life Sciences : University of Sussex

Talk – Wildlife in Milton Keynes on 13 March 2017

Poster - Wildlife in Milton Keynes talk 13 March 2017

Poster – Wildlife in Milton Keynes talk 13 March 2017

Stony Stratford in Bloom have arranged a talk in Stony Stratford Library on Monday 13 March 2017 at 7 p.m., when Martin Kincaid of the Milton Keynes Parks Trust will speak on ‘Wildlife in Milton Keynes (focusing on Ouse Valley Park)‘.

Wine, juice and cake will be provided after the talk. For tickets, contact Judy Deveson at judith.deveson@gmail.com or on 01908-562876.

Tickets are free of charge, but donations will be requested on the night to cover costs.

Use this link to download a poster for this event.

Dragon Finder – an app to identify reptiles and amphibians

With the app you can:– Identify reptiles and amphibians:Identify adult reptiles and amphibians as well as their eggs, larvae and calls. Simple questionnaires, illustrations and photographs will help you identify animals, and you can compare photographs of different species to make sure you’ve identified the animal correctly.– Report a sighting.Submit your records quickly and easily using the recording form. Use your phone’s GPS function to determine your location or manually input your location. Use this form to submit information about dead or diseased animals to help track the spread of deadly diseases in the UK.

Source: Dragon Finder

Grasshoppers and crickets are in trouble | Discover Wildlife

Nymph of Roesel's Bush Cricket by Paul Lund, Linford Lakes NR 16 June 2015

Nymph of Roesel’s Bush Cricket by Paul Lund, Linford Lakes NR 16 June 2015

Experts assessed the conservation status of grasshopper, cricket and bush-cricket species found across Europe for a IUCN report.

They discovered that more than 25 per cent of the 1,082 species studied were at risk of extinction due to intensive agriculture, wildfires and tourism development.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Grasshoppers and crickets are in trouble | Discover Wildlife

The city as a refuge for insect pollinators

Bee by Paul Lund

Bee by Paul Lund. Taken in Paul’s garden using two flash guns to freeze motion.

Research on urban insect pollinators is changing views on the biological value and ecological importance of cities.

The abundance and diversity of native bee species in urban landscapes that are absent in nearby rural lands evidence the biological value and ecological importance of cities and have implications for biodiversity conservation.

Lagging behind this revised image of the city are urban conservation programs that historically have invested in education and outreach rather than programs designed to achieve high-priority species conservation results.

We synthesized research on urban bee species diversity and abundance to determine how urban conservation could be repositioned to better align with new views on the ecological importance of urban landscapes. Due to insect pollinators’ relatively small functional requirements—habitat range, life cycle, and nesting behavior—relative to larger mammals, we argue that pollinators put high-priority and high-impact urban conservation within reach. In a rapidly urbanizing world, transforming how environmental managers view the city can improve citizen engagement and contribute to the development of more sustainable urbanization.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: The city as a refuge for insect pollinators – Hall – 2017 – Conservation Biology – Wiley Online Library

European Red List of Habitat Types

The first ever European Red List of Habitats reviews the current status of all natural and semi-natural terrestrial, freshwater and marine habitats and highlights the pressures they face.

Using a modified version of the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems categories and criteria, it covers the EU28, plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and the Balkan countries and their neighbouring seas. Over 230 terrestrial and freshwater habitats were assessed.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Red List of Habitat Types – Nature – Environment – European Commission

How do warm winters affect hibernating toads?

Common Toad by Harry Appleyard, Howe Park Wood 23 March 2016

Common Toad by Harry Appleyard, Howe Park Wood 23 March 2016

Toads spend the winter underground.

They use their back legs to ‘knead’ their bodies into the soil, submerging themselves completely when the days get shorter and nights turn colder.

There is increasing concern that this could pose problems for the animals in milder conditions.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: How do warm winters affect hibernating toads? | Discover Wildlife

How to build your own moth trap

Tom.bio has been working with moth trap designer Paul Palmer to produce a series of short films, designed to accompany his book ‘How to Build Your Own Moth Trap’.  Paul has designed a low cost, lightweight and highly portable moth trap which can be easily built at home using household tools and a few bits of specialist equipment.

Source: How to build your own moth trap – video guides | Tomorrow’s Biodiversity

Rise in Hedgehog sightings due to late start to winter

Active Hedgehogs were being seen in gardens well into December, according to reports from the British Trust for Ornithology’s weekly Garden BirdWatch (BTO GBW) scheme. Volunteer Garden BirdWatchers reported more Hedgehogs in November and December than in previous years.
Before the onset of winter Hedgehogs are busy foraging for earthworms and insects to gain plentiful fat reserves. These reserves are crucial for surviving during their hibernation, which is normally from November to March. However, timing of hibernation varies between individuals and depends on weather conditions. This year results from Garden BirdWatch show that more Hedgehogs were active later in the year than usual, likely as a result of mild weather.

Click on the link to read the rest of the articleWhy are you still awake? Rise in Hedgehog sightings due to late start to winter | BTO – British Trust for Ornithology

PondNet Spawn Survey 2017

Tadpoles and Sticklebacks by Harry Appleyard, Howe Park Wood 23 May 2016

Tadpoles and Sticklebacks by Harry Appleyard, Howe Park Wood 23 May 2016

Julia Carey of the Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Environmental Records Centre has asked for help to record frog and toad spawn.

We have been asked by the Freshwater Habitats Trust (Pond Action or Pond Conservation Trust for those of us who have known them a while…) to forward information on this year’s survey effort for frog and toad spawn. See below and attachments for information. Looks simple, and even the BMERC staff can manage this one!

If anyone has trouble opening the forms can they let us know at erc@buckscc.gov.uk and we will see if we can get a different version for you. If needed, I’m sure we can also print some paper copies for those who aren’t happy to record straight onto the web. The data will be collected direct by the FWHT, and once considered like other Record Centres we will welcome a copy of it back to local centres so whatever you capture will be back in Bucks later. No need to copy us in. NB for those not in Bucks, it doesn’t matter, the survey is national.

Given how warm and sunny it is today this may be of use sooner rather than later.

Happy recording.

Julia Carey
PondNet Spawn Survey 2017 Recording Form
PondNet Spawn Survey 2017 Poster

Click on this link for more information on the survey: PondNet Spawn Survey 2017

“What’s About” is now “Recent Sightings”

Recent Sightings graphicSince the website was launched, we have posted details of recent sightings of wildlife in the Milton Keynes area. These sightings have been published as weekly news items called “What’s About”.

Our members have said that they would prefer a single page with all sightings, rather than the individual weekly news items.

From January 2017, we have introduced a new page on the website called “Recent Sightings”. You can access the page from the menu at the top – choose “News”,  then “Recent Sightings”. There is also a quick link in the right hand sidebar under the Magpie logo called “Click Here For Recent Sightings”.

Sightings are listed in date order with the most recent at the top of the list.

We hope you like this change. Please send your sightings and photos to sightings@mknhs.org.uk so that we can share them with everyone interested in wildlife in the Milton Keynes area.

The new sightings mailbox has been added to the contact form on the contact us page.

Blue Tits missing from gardens after washout summer

The winter months are normally a busy time for Blue Tits in our gardens. However, the latest figures from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) show that numbers are down, probably due to a wet summer.

During the winter months a lack of food in the wider countryside encourages both adult and juvenile Blue Tits into gardens, to make use of feeders. However, this November BTO Garden BirdWatchers reported the lowest numbers of Blue Tits in gardens since 2003, thought to be due to a lack of young birds this year.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Blue Tits missing from gardens after washout summer | BTO – British Trust for Ornithology