Author Archives: admin

The reintroduction of the Chequered Skipper

On Monday 21st May, I was fortunate enough to travel to the Fagne-Famenne region of Belgium with Butterfly Conservation to collect Chequered Skippers for translocation to Rockingham Forest. It only took two days and nights for us to find ourselves in a stand-off with a family of boar, assaulted by marauding thunderstorms, dazzled by all manner of creepy-crawlies, deafened by the croaks of lime-green frogs, overawed by beautiful Belgian woodland, and (almost) claimed by a tractor on a blind bend. All in pursuit of an itty-bitty, fuzzy-wuzzy, gold and brown butterfly that vanished from England in 1976.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: The reintroduction of the Chequered Skipper – Back From The Brink

Latest trends in butterfly indicators revealed

Male Orange Tip Butterfly by Harry Appleyard, Howe Park Wood 3 April 2017

Male Orange Tip Butterfly by Harry Appleyard, Howe Park Wood 3 April 2017

Though better than the previous year, 2017 was a relatively poor year for butterflies; attributable to periods of poor weather during the spring and summer and preceding winter months.

In the UK, since 1976, the habitat specialists butterflies index has fallen by 77%, whilst wider countryside abundance is down by 46%.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Butterfly Conservation – Latest trends in butterfly indicators revealed

Where have all our insects gone?

When Simon Leather was a student in the 1970s, he took a summer job as a postman and delivered mail to the villages of Kirk Hammerton and Green Hammerton in North Yorkshire. He recalls his early morning walks through its lanes, past the porches of houses on his round. At virtually every home, he saw the same picture: windows plastered with tiger moths that had been attracted by lights the previous night and were still clinging to the glass. “It was quite a sight,” says Leather, who is now a professor of entomology at Harper Adams University in Shropshire.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Where have all our insects gone? | Environment | The Guardian

Mystery Solved

Lane asked for assistance in identifying the objects in these photos.

Found on a Devon coastal road (one during the evening and one in the daylight) near East Prawle on 5th June.  It rolls into a ball like a pillbug when alarmed.

I’m delighted to say that Ayla Webb has identified the mystery object as the larvae of a Bloody-nosed beetle Timarcha tenebricosa

Lyme Disease vaccine set to become available soon

In an exciting announcement, French drug manufacturer Valneva has announced that they’ve successfully completed their first-ever human trial of a vaccine against the disease. The vaccine, which is reportedly up to 96% effective, might soon be available in the UK and US at a “reasonably low” price.

Source: Lyme Disease vaccine set to become available soon, as first trials successfully passed

Why we should care about the vanishing of the swifts

It is the most miraculous bird, the ultimate winged messenger, exploring our globe, spending its life on the breeze. Sickle-shaped wings silhouetted against the sky, the swift is the fastest of all birds in level flight and remains entirely airborne for 10 months, or more, feeding, sleeping and mating on the wing. These long-lived creatures can clock up 4 million miles, commuting between English summers and African winters.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Why we should care about the vanishing of the swifts | Patrick Barkham | Opinion | The Guardian

Briefing at start of the walk ©Peter Hassett 5 June 2018

Trip Report – Rushden Lakes 5 June 2018

This week’s meet took place at Rushden Lakes in Northamptonshire, a large reserve of lakes, woodland and flower meadows owned by The Wildlife Trusts. While this site is somewhat further afield from many of our previously-visited sites, like many of our more familiar parks and reserves in Milton Keynes, it is a mere stone’s throw away from a large retail park which continues to grow day by day. Such a busy urban setting might put a casual wildlife enthusiast off from the area but as we gathered from our visit, this is an incredibly rich and diverse area in terms of both habitats and species.

As usual for our outdoor meetings, our walk began around 7pm, led this time by Reserve Ranger Toni Castello and three of his volunteers from The Wildlife Trusts. For much of the day, the weather was dull and overcast but fortunately as we made our way there, the low-level cloud cleared, bringing warm sunshine and a mostly clear sky for the rest of the evening, ideal for finding basking insects and bird-watching. After a brief introduction to the site, its history and its management, our walk began, passing by two of the lakes, the Nene Valley River and into two of the meadows.

While the breeze on the surface of the lakes prevented us from seeing the clouds of damselflies Toni and his volunteers claimed to see frequently there, we found no shortage of them basking along the waterside vegetation, two of the most numerous being the Red-eyed Damselfly and the stunning Banded Demoiselle. Male Banded Demoiselles were frequently popping up from the nettles and bushes as we walked by, with a few females and a mating pair among them also. While we were stopped next to one of the lakes, we also spotted many freshly-emerged damselflies with their exuvia in the reed-beds including Common Blue and Azure Damselflies.

Much of the discussion from Toni and the volunteers went into the making and management of various parts of the reserve, including the man-made lakes, one of which was said to be far more productive and beneficial for wildlife having been dug to various depths, rather than a mere large hole in the ground filled with water.

Fellow society member Mary Sarre wrote about the meadows and their rich diversity of flora:

“The large meadows we saw had never been ploughed and there were cattle grazing. There are two meadows, both categorised as MG4 (Lowland Meadow), the western one drier, and the eastern one wetter.

The western meadow had a range of tall grasses, and Great Burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis) in flower, and earlier in the year the Cuckoo flower, Ladies bedstraw, Birds foot Trefoil, and Meadow Vetchling would be showing.

The eastern meadow is wetter, with wet flushes containing Yellow flag Iris, soft rush and Water figwort. A Thalictrum sp was mentioned by the guide, but not seen.”

While the densely covered trees and hedgerows prevented us from seeing many of them, it was a great evening for birdsong and observing several species around the lakes. Several Black-headed Gulls were seen over the lakes, with Cormorants and Grey Herons passing over. Just before the walk began, a distant Cuckoo was heard from the circular walk and warblers were singing constantly through the evening, including 5 Garden Warblers, Reed Warblers, Willow Warblers as well as 3 Song Thrushes. This year’s unprecedented lack of hirundines was unfortunately apparent here also but a group of at least 10 Swifts could be seen over the lakes.

This trip was a satisfying and educational end to what started off as an otherwise dull day, at a site that I’m sure many of us will visit again in the future to find out more. It is apparently a notable site for waterfowl in the winter, so a recommendation for local bird-watchers for sure.

Article by Harry Appleyard and Mary Sarre
Click on any of the pictures for a larger image.

Pictures from top to bottom:
Briefing at start of the walk ©Peter Hassett
Female Banded Demoiselle ©Harry Appleyard
View over the lakes ©Harry Appleyard
Nene Valley River ©Harry Appleyard
Blue-tailed damselfly ©Julian Lambley
Meadow ©Harry Appleyard
Male Banded Demoiselle, ©Harry Appleyard
Lakeside view ©Harry Appleyard
Lakeside Trees and Reeds ©Harry Appleyard
Female Red-eyed Damselfly ©Harry Appleyard
Black-headed Gull ©Peter Hassett
Kingfisher Carving ©Harry Appleyard

Briefing at start of the walk ©Peter Hassett 5 June 2018

Female, Banded Demoiselle ©Harry Appleyard, Rushden Lakes 5 June 2018

View over the lakes ©Harry Appleyard, Rushden Lakes 5 June 2018

Nene Valley River ©Harry Appleyard, Rushden Lakes 5 June 2018

Blue-tailed damselfly ©Julian Lambley, Rushden Lakes 5 June 2018

Meadow ©Harry Appleyard, Rushden Lakes 5 June 2018

Male Banded Demoiselle, ©Harry Appleyard, Rushden Lakes 5 June 2018

Lakeside view ©Harry Appleyard, Rushden Lakes 5 June 2018

Lakeside Trees and Reeds ©Harry Appleyard, Rushden Lakes 5 June 2018

Female Red-eyed Damselfly ©Harry Appleyard, Rushden Lakes 5 June 2018

Black-headed Gull ©Peter Hassett, Rushden Lakes, 5 June 2018

Kingfisher Carving ©Harry Appleyard, Rushden Lakes 5 June 2018

 

 

Vision in Birds

Osprey ©Peter Hassett Everglades, florida 26 February 2011

Osprey ©Peter Hassett Everglades, florida 26 February 2011

Vision has a strong influence on animal behaviour and survival. Vision expert Graham Martin explains how exactly birds see the world around them

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Drowning, a mysterious cause of death amongst  young starlings

Drowning has emerged as a mysterious cause of death amongst groups of young common starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), according to research by a team of scientists led by international conservation charity the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Drowning has emerged as a mysterious cause of death amongst groups of young common starlings

New Nature Magazine June 2018 published

New Nature Magazine June 2018

New Nature Magazine June 2018

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

Click here to download the magazine

Bee Orchid Stonepit Field

Spectacular display of Bee Orchids along Grafton Street

This month (June 2018), a stretch of grassland along Grafton Street (V6) between Bradville and New Bradwell is a riot of colour. In previous years, these grass verges have been mown in early June but following concerns raised by local residents, The Parks Trust has reviewed the management regime for this area and the grass is not cut until later in the summer.

The early results of this change in practice are spectacular. I visited the area last week and was amazed to see hundreds of bee orchids – many of which seem taller than is usual – on the grass banks between Wheelers Lane, Bradville and the New Bradwell aqueduct (on the east side of the V6). Carol Allen, Helen Wilson and myself paid a visit on 10thJune and as well as bee orchids, noted the following species:

Bird’s Foot Trefoil Lotus corniculatus
Common Vetch Vicia sativa
Black Medick Medicago lupulina
Self-heal Prunella vulgaris
Red Clover Trifolium pratense
White Clover Trifolium repens
Meadow Buttercup Ranunculus acris
Ox-eye Daisy Leucanthemum vulgare
Yarrow Achillea millefolium
Sorrel Rumex acetosa

These flowers we noted in a quick, 15 minute visit and there are sure to be many more species to be found by the discerning botanist! Also seen were meadow brown, common blue and brown argus butterflies and burnet companion moths. Plenty of bumblebees too.

To witness this lovely display I would suggest parking in either Wheelers Lane or Nightingale Crescent, Bradville and then walking along the redway parallel to the V6 for 200 yards or so. But don’t leave it too long – it will be past its best in early July.

 

Martin Kincaid

 

Ravens and crows may be just as clever as chimps

A new study suggests that ravens can be as clever as chimpanzees, despite having much smaller brains, indicating that rather than the size of the brain, the neuronal density and the structure of the birds’ brains play an important role in terms of their intelligence.

Source: Despite their small brains, ravens and crows may be just as clever as chimps, research suggests: Study shows how these birds parallel great apes in motor self-regulation — ScienceDaily

Bat Roost Count

Do you know of a bat roost near you, or do you have bats roosting on your property?

Help us monitor how different bat species are faring across the UK by taking part in the Roost Count. All you need to do is to count bats emerging from the roosts on two or more evenings during the summer.

Click on the link for more information: Roost Count – Bat Conservation Trust

Cross between a Common Spotted and Southern Marsh orchids © Julian Lambley, Clinton Ragpits 12June 2018

Trip Report – Aston Clinton Ragpits 12 June 2018

About ten of us made the rather long trek down to Aston Clinton on a lovely sunny but cold evening. The Ragpits are a tiny reserve full of interesting butterflies and flowers but as it was a cold evening the butterflies were not in evidence. However the orchids were putting on a a lovely show especially the fragrant orchids which looked gorgeous in the evening sunlight. There were also common spotted, butterfly and pyramidal orchids and many twayblades in flower.

Amongst the other floral delights was squinancywort, fairy flax, yellowort and white milkweeds. The quacking grass also looked lovely in the low sunlight. A blackcap was singing and kites were flying overhead.

Just as we were leaving Jenny found an orchid which nobody could identify on site which looks a bit like a southern marsh orchid to me – any ideas? (It has now been identified at a cross between a Common Spotted and Southern Marsh orchids).

Julie Lane

Heartwood’s wildlife numbers double

Over six years more than 40 dedicated volunteers have been monitoring the wildlife at Heartwood Forest – a newly planted woodland near St Albans. Their results show how, since planting half a million trees, some wildlife numbers have more than doubled, and new species have begun moving to the site.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Heartwood’s wildlife numbers double – Woodland Trust

headstarting – Project Godwit

We are almost half way through the wader breeding season and what a rollercoaster it has been. We started on some highs, with the return of Mark Whiffin as our Senior Researcher on the ground who was joined by Helen Jones, new to Project Godwit but not to wader research. The reserve team at RSPB Nene Washes had been very busy getting the habitat ready and the predator fences erected. So with the research team in place and the reserve looking fantastic, the godwits started to return and just as the first ones were about to start laying eggs, a huge amount of rain combined with high tides and the whole reserve went under water. This was a massive low point for everyone.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: headstarting – Project Godwit

Vegetative guide to orchids of the British Isles

Green-winged Orchid ©Harry Appleyard, Tattenhoe, 30 May 2018

Green-winged Orchid ©Harry Appleyard, Tattenhoe, 30 May 2018

An aid to identifying 39 orchid species when they are not in flower was produced by ID Trainer For The Future Mike Waller. It’s available to download from the Natural History Museum website.

Click here to download the guide.

Milton Keynes Festival of Nature Poster 6-15 July 2018

Milton Keynes Festival of Nature 6-15 July 2018

Organised in partnership with The Parks Trust and Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust and MK Natural History Society the Festival of Nature is a celebration of the fascinating and varied nature that can be found across the city.

There is a wide-ranging programme of activities available for people of all ages, located in areas across MK.

Full details about each activity can be found in the MK Festival of Nature booklet and please go to The Parks Trust website for booking events (please note that the Teens Go Wild event is taking place at Linford Lakes Nature Reserve not MK Museum as advertised in the booklet).

If anyone is happy to help us run the Teens go Wild event on 14th July or help with our activities at the Nature Day on 14th July please contact Julie Lane at silverteasel@hotmail.com Your help would be very much appreciated.

Marsh Tit Species Focus

Marsh Tit by Harry Appleyard, Howe Park Wood 16 February 2017

Marsh Tit by Harry Appleyard, Howe Park Wood 16 February 2017

Do you know why Marsh Tits are in decline, their typical lifespan or how many gardens they are recorded in? Find out in this article from the BTO quarterly magazine,

Click here to download the article

Exhibition –  Milton Keynes’ Hidden Jewel 16 June  – 6 July 2018

Westbury Arts Centre had a grant from Heritage Lottery’s My Heritage Fund to explore aspects of local history or heritage. The main focus is the history of the site, the old manor and farm. MKNHS have contributed work on the natural history heritage. A summary of the observations recorded are included in the free exhibition and booklet.

The image above shows one of the 24 panels on display at the exhibition. The exhibition is for every one interested in the world around them and especially for those who think Milton Keynes has no history.

Click on the link for more information: Upcoming Events | Exhibition – Milton Keynes’ Hidden Jewel | Westbury Arts Centre

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.
Pasqueflower ©Phil Sarre, Knocking Hoe NR 9 June 2018

Trip report – Knocking Hoe Nature Reserve 9 June 2018

Leader: Matt Andrews

We all agreed this reserve was a star visit for botanists in the MKNHS calendar (but not for hay fever sufferers).

Joe and I compiled a list of outstanding flora, and others contributed observations on fauna.

We met at the ‘Live and Let Live’ pub in Pegsdon, just off the road to Hitchin, Bedfordshire, where we were treated to a rapid passing of a Merlin. We then set off with Matt who had arranged for us to walk up the private farm track along which we had sightings of several farmland birds, including skylarks, partridge, whitethroat, and yellow hammer.

Then we headed up into the chalk hills and immediately found displays of the chalk fragrant orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea) and impressive spreads of Dropwort (Filipendula vulgaris), and Hounds-tongue (Cynoglossum officinale), a member of the Borage family. The tight grassland sward showed the many characteristic plants of this habitat: fairy flax, milkwort, salad burnet, rock rose, Sainfoin, etc.

Burnt-tip orchid ©Mary Sarre, Knocking Hoe NR 9 June 2018

Burnt-tip orchid ©Mary Sarre, Knocking Hoe NR 9 June 2018

One of our target species, the Burnt tip orchid, (Orchis ustulata) was also abundant,  as well as the Pyramidal orchid and a few Bee orchids.

The Pasqueflower was largely over (photo at top of page of the one last) but its presence was clear from the many fluffy seed-heads, mostly on the southern side of the hill. The Field fleawort and Moon-carrot were also spotted here.

The spires of Wild Mignonette, Reseda lutea and Weld, Reseda luteola were noticeable rising from the longer grasses as we walked along the ridge towards the Beech woodland on the top. Here we saw a few White Helleborines, and Sanicle, common in woodland on chalk and limestone.

Returning down by the field paths, we were intrigued by a field of red poppies, perhaps a crop for poppyseed, with fumitory, candytuft and Field madder on the edge. A Brown argus, brimstone and Common blue were seen here.

We were then ready for a very welcome sit-down and refreshment at the pub. Many thanks to Matt for his expert local knowledge and direction.

Article supplied by Mary Sarre
Photo of Pasqueflower ©Phil Sarre

Swift Awareness Week, 16-23 June 2018

This summer, Britain will become the first country in the world to dedicate a national week in support of Swifts.

Swift Awareness Week will run from 16 – 23 June. There will be events and publicity all around the country, organised by dozens of local Swift groups. These events aim to raise awareness of Swifts and bring a focus to their plight, and of course provide information about how to help them. The Swift is one of the few endangered species that individuals really can help in their own property and there are many groups across the country working hard to try to halt their dramatic decline of 50% in just 20 years.

Source: Action for Swifts: 2018 UK Swift Awareness Week, 16-23 June

Australian magpies understand other bird calls

Australian magpies can understand what other birds are saying to each other, a new study has found.

The research, published in the journal Animal Behaviour, says the wily magpie has learned the meanings of different noisy miner calls and essentially eavesdrops to find out which predators are near.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Australian magpies can understand other bird calls, study finds | Environment | The Guardian

Butterfly Walk – Salcey Forest 23 June 2018

Third place, Wood White ©Paul Lund, Bucknell Wood, 8 July 2017

Wood White ©Paul Lund, Bucknell Wood, 8 July 2017

Woodland Wings will be hosting a butterfly walk in Salcey Forest

Salcey Forest. (SP801509, ‘horsebox’ car park, Nearest Postcode: NN7 2HA) Saturday 23rd June, 10:30am

Join butterfly expert Doug Goddard to learn about and look for woodland butterflies, with target species including Wood White and the rare Black Hairstreak. Parking is limited so please let us know if you are planning on coming.

Use the following links to find out more information:

Woodland Wings Events 2018
Download the Woodland Wings Project Overview

Operation Turtle Dove

Turtle doves are ecologically unique, being Europe’s only long distance migratory dove. They spend just a third of the year on their breeding grounds in Europe and spend the winter on their non-breeding grounds in sub-Saharan West Africa. There are four main factors associated with the decline of turtle doves. These include the loss of […]

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Why are turtle doves in trouble? – Operation Turtle Dove

Does garden feeding shape populations?

Our understanding of the impact of feeding wild birds is far from complete, but we are beginning to unravel the effects of providing foods at garden feeding stations. An important area of research has been to examine how supplementary foods shape populations through its impacts in individuals.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Does garden feeding shape populations? | BTO – British Trust for Ornithology

RSPBNBLG Walk – 17 June 2018 Floodplain Forest NR

RSPB logoThe RSPB North Bucks Local Group are leading a field trip:

Location: Meet at Haversham Road car park (free) near Ouse railway viaduct

SP 816 421

A second visit to this newly created Parks Trust reserve. From the three hides we should see young waders and plenty of dragonflies.

Leader : Pete How

Time: 10 am to 12.30 pm

Price: Free

Find out more about this premiere birding site on our Wildlife Sites page.

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.

Preventing disease at bird feeders

Bullfinch on feeder ©Peter Hassett, Summer Leys 14 January 2017

Bullfinch on feeder ©Peter Hassett, Summer Leys 14 January 2017

If you feed your backyard birds or know someone who does check out our new brochure on “Strategies to prevent and control bird-feeder associated diseases and threats”. Help spread the info and help prevent disease and threats to birds.

Click here to download the guide.

National Moth Night – Bucknell Wood 16 June 2018

MKNHS members mothing at Linford Lakes NR by Julie Lane9 July2016

MKNHS members mothing at Linford Lakes NR by Julie Lane, 9 July2016

As part of National Moth Night, Woodland Wings will be hosting an event at Bucknell Wood. (SP660451, Nearest Postcode: NN12 8TW)

  • Saturday 16th June, 8:30pm  (bat walk at approx. 9pm)
  • Sunday 17th June, 8am

As part of National Moth night the moth group will be inviting members of the public to join them to see what species are caught in their moth traps. Join us for the evening to see the traps getting set up, then go on a bat walk whilst we wait for some moths to get trapped. In the morning a light breakfast will be provided whilst we identify and show you what moths were caught overnight. Pick and choose whether you would like to join us for the whole event or just the evening or morning, but please let us know if you are coming.

Use the following links to find out more information:

Woodland Wings Events 2018
Download the Woodland Wings Project Overview

30 Days Wild

Can you do something wild every day throughout June? That’s 30 simple, fun and exciting Random Acts of Wildness.

We’re giving you a free pack of goodies to help you plan your wild month, plus lots of ideas from your Wildlife Trust to inspire you to stay wild all throughout June (and beyond!). You’ll also get inspiring emails from your Wildlife Trust, invites to exclusive events and a chance to join in on social media.

Click on the link for more information: 30 Days Wild | The Wildlife Trusts

Corncrakes may have bred on Rathlin Island

RSPB staff and volunteers heard the unmistakeable call of the corncrake on Rathlin Island in Northern Ireland during the last weekend of April.

Although this species has been heard on the island before, the timing is much earlier than usual and has prompted hopes that this is the offspring of previously heard birds.

Click here to read the rest of the article

Where are all our Swifts?

BirTrack chart of Swift migration 2018

BirTrack chart of Swift migration 2018

Data from @BirdTrack show the delay in Swift arrivals this spring. There’s still time for them to arrive but it is getting late.

You can read the BirdTrack April 2018 migration update here.

Thanks go to Sue and Andrew Hetherington for drawing my attention to BirdTrack;’s tweet.

Hydrotherapy helps a hedgehog to recover

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In November 2017, a hedgehog that was unable to move its hind legs came into the care of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

A vet at the Scottish SPCA’s National Wildlife Rescue Centre recommended physiotherapy to help the hedgehog regain its strength, but this presented the centre with an interesting dilemma.

Click here to read the rest of the article

Green Drake mayfly, Ephemera danica by Frupus (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Mayflies

Last week (22 May 2018) on our walk around Stony Stratford Nature Reserve we saw lots of mayflies pulsating up and down above the river and settled in the foliage on the banks. On coming home I then read a very interesting article on mayflies by Nick baker in the BBC wildlife magazine and thought I would pass on some of the interesting facts here.

Green Drake mayfly, Ephemera danica by Frupus (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Green Drake mayfly, (Ephemera danica) by Frupus (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The mayfly we saw is I think the green drake or Ephemera danica which is the biggest of the British species, some of the other 51 species being absolutely tiny.

These mayflies, commonly copied by anglers for their lures, dance above the water in a mating frenzy with the females emitting an intoxicating perfume that attracts the males before she scatters her clutch of up to 8000 eggs into the waters to pass on her genes to the next generation. These eggs sink to the bottom and turn into nymphs which spend the next 1-3years developing in the sediment at the bottom of the river. Meanwhile their parents dancing above last but a day or two before they die (having no mouthparts they rely on the fat reserves laid down as a nymph to power them through this stage).

The nymphs carry on their lives in the river moulting up to 50 times before they are finally ready to return to the surface. At this stage they blow up like little air filled balloons and bob to the surface. Almost immediately on hitting the surface they unzip in a matter of seconds and emerge as adults with fully functioning wings. You might think this was their final moult but no they are unique in the insect world in having a second moult from one rather dull winged form to another, this time the sparkling beauty we saw last week. Why they do this no-one really knows.

Then the dancing begins and the whole lifecycle starts all over again.

One final fact – mayflies are the most primitive insects alive today and have been around since before the dinosaurs.

What an amazing insect!

Article kindly supplied by Julie Lane

Big Half Term Hedgehog Watch 2018

The hedgehog is rapidly disappearing from Britain. This half term week we need you to help us find out why. Hedgehogs are thought to have declined by around a third over the past 10 years, and the reasons for the decline remain largely unknown. To help solve the mystery we would like you to record when and where you see hedgehogs …

Click on the link for more information: Big Half Term Hedgehog Watch 2018 – The Mammal Society

Cooperation across the flyway for turtle doves

Yesterday (24 May 2018) a much-needed action plan was launched to save our most rapidly declining migratory bird: the turtle dove. The RSPB has worked for three years to get wide support for this plan and I am delighted to host this blog from my colleagues, Joscelyn Ashpole, Ian Fisher and Carles Carboneras, to say more.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Good news for a Friday: cooperation across the flyway for turtle doves – Martin Harper’s blog – Our work – The RSPB Community

GDT nature photographer of the year 2018

Click here to view the photos: GDT nature photographer of the year 2018 – in pictures | Environment | The Guardian

Aylesbury Peregrine Project Watch Day 31 August 2018

Event details

Thu, 31/05/2018 – 10:00am2:00pm

Join us at our Peregrine Watch Day. We will be located near the Clock Tower, Market Square with our telescopes to show you these magnificent birds and their chick.

Venue location

Market Square, Aylesbury,
Aylesbury ,
Buckinghamshire ,
HP20 1TW

Click here to see the organiser’s web site.

Meadows and the Agriculture Bill

Ancient meadows have quietly disappeared from under our feet. Without the roar of chainsaws or the sound of mighty oaks crashing to the ground, sites with undisturbed floral histories going back generations can be lost in a single afternoon. Since the 1930s, over 97% of our meadows – a staggering 7.5 million acres – have been ploughed, ‘improved’ or built on. This is a key driver in the higher-profile declines of pollinators and birds – and a loss to us all.

Click on the link to read the rest of the article: Colouring our countryside: meadows and the Agriculture Bill

RSPBNBLG Walk – 6 June 2018 Calvert Jubilee & Gallows Bridge Farm

RSPB logoThe RSPB North Bucks Local Group are leading a field trip:

Location: Meet: roadside car park (tiny—please car-share if possible) 300m N of Calvert X-roads: SP 681 250. Short walk, but uneven in places.

CALVERT JUBILEE RESERVE & GALLOWS BRIDGE FARM, BUCKS
Two BBOWT reserves. Calvert, a former clay-pit, has “chalkland” butterflies like green hairstreak, dingy and grizzled skippers. Scrub holds many warblers, incl. possibly nightingale. Three miles on, Gallows Bridge Farm, part of the important Upper Ray Meadows, has breeding curlew.

Leader: Chris Coppock

All welcome

Time: 10 am to 1 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.

Kew Gardens’ Temperate House restored – in pictures

Click here for more information: Kew Gardens’ Temperate House restored – in pictures | Science | The Guardian

Cranes by Sue and Andrew Hetherington, Gallows Bridge 16 May 2018

Cranes in Buckinghamshire 2018

Two cranes arrived at Gallows Bridge BBOWT reserve on Wednesday 16 May 2018.  They remain there to date (21 May 2018) so it is a possibility they will remain.  They are unringed which gives some clues as to where they came from – or rather where they did not come from.  Educated guesses say they may have come from Otmoor.  Some display behaviour has been observed.

Text and photo by Sue and Andrew Hetherington

Buckinghamshire Bird Club have published a  blog posting on the cranes which you can view here.

Waterbirds in the UK – Summary report 2016-17

Teal ©Peter Hassett, Willen 25 January 2018

Teal ©Peter Hassett, Willen 25 January 2018

Waterbirds in the UK presents the results of the annual WeBS report, with digital PDF copies of current and past editions available below. It provides a single, comprehensive source of information on the current status and distribution of waterbirds in the UK for those interested in the conservation of the populations of these species and the wetland sites they use.

Click on the link for more information: Waterbirds in the UK – Summary report | BTO – British Trust for Ornithology