Category Archives: News

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.

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

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.

City Sparrowhawks more successful than their country cousins

In the first of its kind study on these raptors, researchers from RSPB Scotland and the Scottish Raptor Study Group examined differences between populations of the birds in Edinburgh and in the Ayrshire countryside over four years from 2009 to 2012.

They found that territories in the urban environment (Edinburgh) were occupied far more frequently than those in the rural study area (Ayrshire) and that the city hawks also had significantly higher breeding success than the country hawks.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: City Sparrowhawks more successful than their country cousins, #ornithology news from @Natures_Voice via @RareBirdAlertUK

Where do cuckoos go in winter?

We’ve known for a long time that British cuckoos fly south to Africa for winter, but their exact routes long remained a mystery, as did their precise wintering quarters (save one record of a young bird in Cameroon 82 years ago).

However, research over the past five years by the BTO has discovered much more about the habitats these birds use during winter.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Where do cuckoos go in winter? | Discover Wildlife

Dramatic plunge in insect numbers

The abundance of flying insects has plunged by three-quarters over the past 25 years, according to a new study that has shocked scientists.

Insects are an integral part of life on Earth as both pollinators and prey for other wildlife and it was known that some species such as butterflies were declining. But the newly revealed scale of the losses to all insects has prompted warnings that the world is “on course for ecological Armageddon”, with profound impacts on human society.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Warning of ‘ecological Armageddon’ after dramatic plunge in insect numbers | Environment | The Guardian

Discover Wildlife has also covered tis research – click here to read their article.

Peak District’s low raptor numbers a ‘national disgrace’

Bird of prey persecution in the uplands of the Peak District is a “national disgrace”, a wildlife group has said.

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust said rare hen harriers had not bred there since 2014 and blamed activities related to the driven grouse shooting industry.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Peak District’s low raptor numbers a ‘national disgrace’ – BBC News

Rare butterfly returns to woodland in West Sussex

One of the UK’s rarest butterflies has returned to woodland in West Sussex where it has not been seen for nearly 20 years.

The Pearl-bordered Fritillary can now be found in good numbers at Stansted Forest, which forms part of the Stansted Park Estate on the border between West Sussex and Hampshire.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Spirit FM – News – Very rare butterfly returns to woodland in West Sussex

Wildlife Walk and Sketchbook Nature Day – 21 October 2017

Come and join artist Kate Wyatt and nature expert Tony Barker for a new “Studies of Autumn” sketchbook nature day at Great Linford Manor Park. The session will focus on visually exploring, documenting and enjoying the natural environment through art.

Assisted by Kate and Tony, you will learn how to sketch from the direct observations of what you discover in the park, and begin to develop your drawing from observation skills.

The session will be based out of St. Andrews Church, where tea and coffee will be available.

If you are unsure if this session is for you, Kate says: “Please do not feel you have to be an artist to take part, this session is all about enjoyment of nature, exploring your local environment and developing sketching skills.”

There are two ticket price options: one for those who already have sketchbooks, and one for those who would like to have a sketchbook supplied for them to keep on the day.
Date: 21st October 2017

Time: 10:00-13:00

Click here for more information and to book your tickets

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.

BBSBI’s Threatened Plants Project

The Threatened Plants Project (TPP) was a five-year survey of the fortunes of 50 British wild flowers which the BSBI Science Team had reason to suspect might be in decline.

The New Atlas of the British and Irish flora, published in 2002, showed that many had declined dramatically in distribution since the 1960s and consequently they were categorised as “threatened” in the Red Data Book for Great Britain published in 2005.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: BSBI News & Views: BSBI’s Threatened Plants Project: interview with Kevin Walker

Pigeons better at multitasking than humans

The density of nerve cells in the human cerebral cortex is six times smaller than in the respective brain region in pigeons. Consequently, the average distance between two neurons in pigeons is only approximately half the size compared to that in humans. If nerve cell groups have to exchange information in rapid succession, pigeons are faster, because the transmitted signals travel a much shorter distance.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Pigeons better at multitasking than humans: study

Making sense of earthworm senses

By taking part in Earthworm Watch in your garden, allotment or other green space near you, the team hope you’ve had the opportunity to record your observations of surface, soil and deep-living earthworms. You can find out more about these earthworm eco-types (which refers to their feeding habits and where they live within the soil) by visiting the science section of our website.

Click on the link for more information: Making sense of earthworm senses | Earthworm Watch

Hollington Wood ultimate Bonfire Party 28 October 2017

It’s that time of year again…

Celebrating fire, the magic of autumn and an extra hour in bed, Apocalypse North Bucks set deep in ancient woodland is the ultimate Bonfire Party. Not for the faint-hearted, but for the reckless and brave fireworks lighting up the trees is an unforgettable experience.

Phonebox Magazine describes the event as “Epic fireworks, scary & dangerous”. Those of you who have been before will know what they mean!

Arrangements as per last year –
Open 5pm – 9pm (refreshments available from 5pm)
Tickets not required (donations to help cover costs expected)
Bonfires lit at dusk
Fireworks around 7pm (depending on light & weather)
Free Shuttle Bus from Prospect Place (5pm-6.30pm, return 8pm-9pm)
Limited parking on site (£10 charge & must be pre-booked)
Wrap up warm and bring a torch
More details on www.hollingtonwood.com and https://www.facebook.com/hollingtonwood/

Hope you can make it…

Philip & Hilary
Hollington Wood MK46 5JH

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.

New Study: Glyphosate persists! And European top soils are contaminated with it

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

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

A new research study[1] from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and two Dutch laboratories shows that 45% of Europe’s top soil contains glyphosate residues, demonstrating the over-reliance of the EU agricultural model on this harmful herbicide chemical. In contrast to what its manufactures[2] purport, glyphosate persists in soils affecting not only soil fertility and crop quality, but also human and environmental health. The -soon available online- research study by the Dutch University of Wageningen and Rikilt laboratories, jointly with the JRC, reveals that among 317 EU soil samples of arable land, 42% contained AMPA, the most toxic metabolite of glyphosate, while glyphosate was found in 21% of the soils; 18% of the samples had both. The study was conducted in six crop systems along 11 EU member states comprising soils under different geographical and climatic conditions.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Press Release: New Study: Glyphosate persists! And European top soils are contaminated with it. | PAN Europe

big butterfly count 2017 results

Gatekeeper ©Paul Young, Bucknell Wood 8 July 2017

Gatekeeper ©Paul Young, Bucknell Wood 8 July 2017

The curse of the UK summer holiday weather struck big butterfly count 2017. For butterflies and butterfly counters, July and August were dominated by unsettled weather and above average rainfall. Overall it was one of the wettest UK summers for 100 years. And this after six months (January-June) of above average monthly temperatures, which encouraged butterflies to emerge earlier than usual.

Click here to read the rest of the article: big butterfly count

WWT publishes “Nature’s Way”

Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), we’re campaigning for a 25 Year Plan with real commitments: strong laws, green investment and a healthier environment for everyone. You can read more about our proposals in our new report, Nature’s Way. Turning things round can help create an environment for success—healthier communities, a stronger economy, protection from flooding, as well as thriving wildlife.

We all need to speak up for nature #TimeToBeHeard.

Don’t let nature fall silent. Please show your support and email your local MP. Let them know we want this environment plan to succeed. It will only take a few seconds to send but collectively your voice for nature will have a big impact.

Click here to visit the WWT site and download the report.

Bird song and bat calls in the arcades of The Shopping Building

A sound installation including wildlife sounds, called ‘City of Things’, has been installed in the arcades of The Shopping Building in Central Milton Keynes (thecentre:mk).

 Local sound artist Caroline Devine has completed a commission to celebrate MK’s 50th year by recording sounds across Milton Keynes. These include recordings she made with a MK Natural History Society member: they listened and recorded the dawn chorus in Linford Wood from 4.15am on a May morning. She also recorded Swift calls at their Heelands colony and bat sounds at Woughton-on-the-Green. Caroline also took part in a course on bird song led by MKNHS member Martin Kincaid and Peter Garner who is chair of Bucks Bird Club.

 The sound installation includes local choirs, Bletchley Park, poetry, grid-roads and other Milton Keynes sounds, as well as wildlife. All of these are part of ‘City of Things’ which you can hear until 5th November in Midsummer Arcade alongside John Lewis. You can find out more on Caroline’s website: www.cityofthings.co.uk .

 Caroline Devine was Leverhulme Artist in Residence at the School of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Birmingham and completed another commission, ‘Resonant Spaces’ in Philadelphia earlier in 2017. Her works have been featured on BBC 4 and BBC 3 and at various galleries.

Article written by Mike LeRoy

MKNHS is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites.

RSPBNBLG Talk – Namibia : Etosha & the Skeleton Coast on 26 October 2017

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

Location: Our special Leighton Buzzard meeting – just 20 minutes down the road from Central Milton Keynes
Venue : Leighton Buzzard Cricket, Hockey and Tennis Club, Bell Close, Lake Street – opposite Morrisons’ petrol station.
Postcode: LU7 1RX (Google map)

Namibia surely ranks among the world’s best wildlife destinations, with a fantastic number and variety of easily-photographable mammals, some exciting birds and unique landscapes. Namibia has it all!

Sure to be an entertaining evening from Chris, illustrated by his superb photographs.

Time: Doors open at 7.30pm for an 8pm start, ends at 10pm. Free tea/coffee at the break.

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

Read more at http://www.rspb.org.uk/groups/northbucks/events/#5HyuulKmmY5YwHYw.99£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.

Butterfly weddings

No, butterflies don’t marry, but did you know some humans release butterflies at weddings (and funerals) as part of the ceremony?

Butterfly releases like this give Butterfly Conservation, as a wildlife charity, cause for concern.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Butterfly weddings | Dorset Butterflies

Make A Difference Day, Linford Lakes NR 22 October 2017

FoLLNR logo

FoLLNR logo

A Parks Trust Event at LLNR,

Make A Difference Day
Date: 22nd October 2017
Time: 10am – 12pm

Join us on the biggest volunteering day of the year as we tidy up Linford Lakes Nature Reserve.

Come dressed for messy, outdoor working.

Price: Free

Age Range: All Welcome, bring family and friends.

Park at Linford Lakes Nature Reserve Education Centre, Wolverton Road, Great Linford MK14 5AH.

Booking Required: None.

RSPBNBLG Walk – Summer Leys NR 21 October 2017

RSPB logoThe RSPB North Bucks Local Group are leading a field trip to Summer Leys Nature Reserve on 21 October 2017:

This popular wetland is a core part of the EU-designated Upper Nene Valley Special Protection Area
Managed by Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire & Northamptonshire Wildlife Trust it provides a variety of habitats – flooded gravel pits, flood meadows, species-rich neutral grassland and mature hedges, attracting waders, waterbirds and lots more too.
Easy paths and hides. All welcome.

Leader : Pete How

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.

How squirrels organise their nuts

Next time you lose your keys, think of a squirrel. The tiny animals have an incredible ability to remember exactly where they buried one nut weeks earlier, and new research is shedding light on how they do this.Squirrels bury groups of nuts in particular places, meaning they will know where each one is buried, according to a new study.

Source: The way squirrels organise their nuts will put your wardrobe to shame | Alphr

When Birds Sing – presentation at Linford Lakes NR 18th October 2017

FoLLNR logo

FoLLNR logo

Wednesday 18th October 2017,

Special Presentation from

Saffron Summerfield.

19:30 hrs doors open @ 19:00hrs.

Seats cost £3.50, no booking required.

Refreshments available. 

WHEN BIRDS SING 

A digitally illustrated Talk

When Saffron Summerfield – Singer/Musician/Sound Artiste and lifetime Bird Watcher – was Artist in Residence at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve she was intrigued  when a Robin sang close to her window when she played the guitar. She recorded the Robin and created a duet with his song and her guitar and so her journey of research and discovery on Bird Songs and Calls began.

Just why does a small bird  (Marsh Warbler) ’collect’ up to 250 other bird songs and calls on its migratory path from Africa to Northern Europe thereby creating an astonishing ‘Songline’ of its journey each year?

How many composers have been inspired by listening to bird song?

Bird songs and calls are frequently referenced in Folk Songs from around the World.

Why does the Dawn Chorus have such an emotional and calming effect on some Humans?

The craze for keeping caged Goldfinches for their magical singing voice in the second half of the nineteenth century nearly did for the poor bird.

What is the connection between Pachelbel’s Canon in D and Bird Song…

This fascinating and revealing talk is digitally presented with many of her own field recordings and photos and all levels of interest is catered for.

www.motherearthmusic.co.uk/gigs

Wetland Bird Surveying course 21 October 2017

Wetland Bird Surveying course 21 October 2017

Wetland Bird Surveying course 21 October 2017

BMERC has been asked by the River Thame Conservation Trust (RTCT) to send round an invite to a local training event on the 21st October for Bird ID and survey work; flyer attached.   For those who can’t open PDF the key details are as follows :-

  • Its free!
  • Its designed to help with the identification of our common winter wetland birds and those who want to improve their ID and survey skills.
  • Targeted at both existing  and new volunteers of both the RTCT and/or other local organisations.
  • 21st October
  • Based at the RSPB’s Otmoor Reserve
  • 9:30 – 1pm
  • You MUST book in advance
  • Book via the Project Officer – natalie@riverthame.org

Please note this is not a BMERC event, any bookings or queries will need to go to the RTCT direct.

Regards

Julia Carey
Environmental Records Centre Manager
Historic and Natural Environment Team
Transport, Economy and Environment
Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Environmental Records Centre
Buckinghamshire County Council, 6th Floor, New County Offices, Walton Street, Aylesbury HP20 1UY
Tel 01296 382431

E-mail jcarey@buckscc.gov.uk

Severe threats to biodiversity from neonicotinoid pesticides

Tree Bumblebee by Harry Appleyard, Tattenhoe 24 February 2017

Tree Bumblebee by Harry Appleyard, Tattenhoe 24 February 2017

Neonicotinoid pesticides pose severe threats to ecosystems worldwide, according to an update to the world’s most comprehensive scientific review of the ecological impacts of systemic pesticides released by IUCN’s Task Force on Systemic Pesticides (TFSP) this week.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Severe threats to biodiversity from neonicotinoid pesticides revealed in latest scientific review | IUCN

Record Highs for RSPB Hope Farm Monitoring 

© Alan Woodgate

Here at RSPB Hope Farm we undertake a summer monitoring programme every year to measure how our bird and butterfly populations change in relation to our wildlife friendly farm management. Bird monitoring begins at the end of March and runs until the first week of July, with between 8 and 12 surveys of the whole farm completed. For each survey, I walk every hedgerow and field boundary on the farm and map the locations of all bird activity (singing, alarm calls, nest building) using Common Bird Census (CBC) methods.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Record Highs for Hope Farm Monitoring – Saving Species – Our work – The RSPB Community

Mushroom Magic Bucks County Museum 7 October 2017

Fungus by Peter Hassett, Bow Brickhill 1 November 2014

Fungus by Peter Hassett, Bow Brickhill 1 November 2014

Discover the weird and wonderful world of mushrooms and toadstools at this FREE event at Bucks County Museum this Saturday (7th).

Members of the Bucks Fungus Group will be presenting a massive one-day display of locally collected mushrooms and toadstools. Discover which species are best to eat and which ones are best to avoid. Bring your own mystery fungi in for identification and add to the display.

Suitable for all ages – children can make a mushroom badge, Play-doh toadstool or join in our fungus collage

The event is FREE. No need to book – just turn up

Bucks County Museum, Church Street, Aylesbury HP20 2QP
Tel 01296 331441
Saturday 7th October, 11am to 4pm

Mike Palmer
Keeper of Natural History
T: 01296 325223
E: mpalmer@buckscountymuseum.org
www.buckscountymuseum.org

Please note the event is being run by the County Museum in collaboration with the Bucks Fungus Group, any enquiries should go via Mike Palmer, contact information at the base of the page.

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.

Colour aberrations in birds

Colour aberrations in birds

Colour aberrations in birds

In the birding world, general confusion seems to exist about colour mutations in wild birds and the correct naming of these aberrations.

Almost all whitish aberrations are called ‘(partial) albino’. However, most of these are not albino and ‘partial albinism’ is – by definition – not even possible.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Open Sunday at Linford Lakes NR 15 October 2017

FoLLNR logo

FoLLNR logo

Open Sunday

15th October

10:00 – 16:00 hrs

The centre and the reserve are available for you, your family and friends to enjoy, as well as the usual Open Sunday treats;

There are two opportunities to learn about the water birds at LLNR.

Come and join Andy Harding, County Bird Recorder, in his morning duck count, meet in the centre at 10am.

There is another opportunity to learn how to identify some of our

water birds. A practical spotting session for all,

Join us in the Centre for 13:30, bring bins & scopes.

You are invited to the official opening of our new hide.

‘The Warbler Hide’ will be opened by Andy Harding,

County Bird Recorder and Guide.

The event will take place at 12:00 at the new hide.

Bee identification

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

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

Welcome to the BRITISH BEES ON FLICKR site. This collection covers nearly all 278 species of bee on the British and Irish list (including the Channel Islands) acting as a virtual field experience and virtual museum collection. Special thanks are due to the Natural History Museum, London and the Oxford University Museum for allowing me to photograph specimens that were lacking in my own collection and to other photographers for allowing me to host their images.

Click here to view the guide.

RSPBNBLG Talk – Barn Owl Ecology & Conservation 12 October 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)

“A Northamptonshire Case Study”
The Northamptonshire Barn Owl Project was set up in 1995 to conserve and increase the Barn Owl population in the County. Paddy will talk to us about the success of this project and these beautiful birds.

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.

Plantlife 50% membership discount

Plantlife wants to attract new members and is offering a 50% discount on membership:

Plantlife is a British conservation charity working nationally and internationally to save threatened wild plants and fungi. Our team of dedicated conservation experts work with landowners, businesses, conservation organisations, community groups and governments, pushing boundaries to protect the familiar and save our rarest in the plant and fungi kingdoms. Plantlife was instrumental in the creation of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation.

Our nature reserves are home to 3,439 species from all taxon groups. This includes 795 vascular plants, of particular interest to bees. There are also 327 bryophytes, 386 fungi, 147 lichens, 1,511 insects and much more.

Joan’s Hill Farm nature reserve, Herefordshire

On Joan’s Hill Farm nature reserve in Herefordshire, the number of green-winged orchid flowers (a Red List species) increased from zero in 1999 to over 500 spikes in 2015. We protect dark-red helleborine and lily-of-the-valley at Deep Dale in the Peak District; lesser butterfly-orchid and moonwort at Cae Blaen-dyffryn in Carmarthenshire; Dyer’s greenweed and saw-wort at Ryewater Farm in Dorset; and the internationally-rare marsh saxifrage at Munsary in Caithness.

Plantlife’s most bio-diverse reserve, Ranscombe in Kent, our largest in England, has an astonishing 402 vascular plants. We manage our reserves to protect what is there and create the conditions for populations to increase. Plants in need of conservation at Ranscombe include UK Red Data List species: man orchid, ground-pine, broad-leaved cudweed, lady orchid, stinking chamomile, white helleborine, fly orchid, prickly poppy, common cudweed and meadow clary.
Species like narrow-fruited cornsalad, do not receive a great deal of
publicity but do need help. Our assessment of the population at
Ranscombe last year found an estimated 30,000 plants, which must
surely be one of the biggest UK populations. Our management helps
increase the diversity and resilience of plants. The ancient woodland
species, goldilocks buttercup, and the fern, adder’s-tongue, was
recently noted for the first time, while endangered field gromwell has
been identified in our arable fields. And it helps other taxa too. We have recorded some 295 moth species to date, including specialists such as the liquorice piercer, the larvae of which feed on wild liquorice. Other rare and threatened invertebrates seen regularly at Ranscombe include the hornet robber-fly, the brown-banded carder bee, the bryony mining bee and the five-banded weevil-wasp.
meadow clary at Ranscombe
We also work much more widely across Important Plant Areas (IPAs), landscapes we have identified as being of the highest botanical importance – 166 of them, right across the UK. From familiar landscapes such as The Broads, Snowdon and the Cairngorms, to lesser known places with intriguing flora, such as Mwnt in West Wales, Chudleigh Rocks in Dartmoor or the exceptional Mid Cornwall Moors, Plantlife partners communities and land managers work to protect the wild plants which grow in these special habitats and to promote enjoyment and understanding of these extraordinary landscapes.

One of Plantlife’s experts, Tim Pankhurst, works with landowners in the East of England to reverse species declines. The fen orchid occurs on just a few sites and numbers were low enough for this to be on the government list of species most likely to disappear from England forever. Tim has tested different ways of managing fens and helped landowners change to better techniques. This year there were several thousand flower spikes, a huge increase, driven by expertise and hard work. He is now trialling ways to propagate them so they can be reintroduced to sites where they flourished in the past.

We’re on the road to saving the fen orchid but we need to continue this work until the species becomes self sustaining. Tim also has plans for helping many other species in East Anglia, such as fen violet and Spanish catchfly. All this depends on securing funding.

Our expertise has helped landowners plan how to get lowland grassland and heathland back into the favourable condition and provided management advice on rare and declining species, such as basil-thyme, yellow century and purple milk vetch.

fen orchid In 1989, the year Plantlife formed, we made the decision that we wanted to be a membership charity.

That is because members give plant conservation three vital things – a voice, funds and dedication. The more members we have the more decision-makers listen; 23,000 signatures for our road verge campaign have proved this.

Plantlife wants more members. There are only about 7,500 of us. Many county wildlife trusts have four-times as many. The more of us there are, the more conservation we can do. Please will you consider joining us?

We know you love the natural world and want it to be protected for future generations. So we’d like to offer you a 50% discount on your first year of Plantlife membership (usually £36 per year). You will receive our magazine three times a year, invitations to events such as Members’ Day, but most of all you will be contributing to protecting wild plants and fungi and the ecosystems which depend on them.

Joining is easy, just visit our website. When you get to the checkout, just enter ORCHID in the discount code box. If you would like more information to circulate, there are contact details below.

We need as much help as we can get to protect our essential ecosystems and we would love you to be part of Plantlife.

For more information visit www.plantlife.org.uk https://shop.plantlife.org.uk/collections/membership or email alex.christian@plantlife.org.uk

Commons Library analysis: Bees and neonicotinoids

This briefing concentrates on the interaction between bees and a group of insecticides – known as neonicotinoids – which have been in the spotlight after a number of studies yielded evidence (although much of that evidence is contested) of sub-lethal, harmful effects on bees. In July 2015, the UK Government granted an emergency authorisation for the use of restricted neonicotinoids on oil seed rape seeds in four English counties. Similar application for emergency authorisations for 2016 and 2017 were rejected.

Click here for more information: Commons Library analysis: Bees and neonicotinoids – Commons Library briefing – UK Parliament

National Barkfly (Outdoor Psocoptera) Recording Scheme

The order Psocoptera is one of the least recorded insect groups. This lack of recording is not because the species are rarely encountered – on the contrary; almost every tree in Britain is likely to be home to some of these creatures and psocids are far more abundant than some insect orders (e.g. lacewings).

Click on the link for more information: National Barkfly (Outdoor Psocoptera) Recording Scheme

National Fungus Day – Aylesbury County Museum 7 October 2017

The Buckinghamshire Fungus Group will have an exhibition at Aylesbury County Museum  on 7 October 2017 to celebrate National Fungus Day.

Open to the public from 11am till 4pm, there will be not only fresh local fungi on display but also a microscope and sporeprint corner run by Derek, a TV screen showing a wide range of county fungus photos taken by members, a fungus-based activity area for children, banners and posters and much more!

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.

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