Starlings in the UK
These birds are residents, and most never leave us. However, this number almost doubles every winter with the arrival of thousands more birds from Eastern Europe. Hard weather there forces them to migrate west in search of food.
Using new technology including robot cameras which can be remotely controlled by humans to look at plants in remote places, the show will treat audiences to a “mind-blowing” look at an “unseen” world.
Click here for more information.: Sir David Attenborough’s new Green Planet series will use robots to tell ’emotional stories’ about plants
One of southern Africa’s biggest tourist attractions has seen an unprecedented decline this dry season, fuelling climate change fears
Click here for more information.: Victoria Falls dries to a trickle after worst drought in a century | World news | The Guardian
French hunters claim tradition justifies their exemption from EU rules. But with many species endangered, there is growing pressure for a ban
Their bright green feathers and unmistakable squawk make ring-necked parakeets a striking addition to British park wildlife, but the question of how the tropical birds were first introduced has been a subject of contention.
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Hendrix? Hepburn? Study busts myths about origins of UK’s parakeets | Science | The Guardian
An acoustic camera has captured never-before-seen footage of the endangered fish setting off on its journey from the Gloucestershire wetlands to the Sargasso sea. This success story comes at a time of turning fortunes for the mysterious and fascinating animal.
Unlike mammals and birds, butterflies and moths rely mainly on external sources of heat to warm their bodies so that they can be active. Although many are adept at increasing their body temperature way above ambient air temperature by basking in sunshine or shivering (vibrating their flight muscles), when their surroundings are really cold, most butterflies and moths are forced to remain inactive.
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Where do butterflies and moths go in winter?
For 24 hours only we are offering one year’s free membership of Butterfly Conservation
Offer valid until midnight 12/12/2019
Click here for more information.: Treat yourself this festive season with 12 months free membership
1 hedgehog was admitted to an RSPCA rescue centre, on average, every 2 hours throughout October.
Jurassic butterflies disappeared a full 45 million years before the first caterpillar decided to grow up and become a beautiful butterfly—again
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Butterflies in the Time of Dinosaurs, with Nary a Flower in Sight – Scientific American Blog Network
Butterflies are rather like Goldilocks, preferring conditions to be neither too hot nor too cold, but “just right”. Under climate change, the temperature at any given time of summer is, on average, getting warmer, leaving butterflies (and their nocturnal cousins, the moths) with the challenge of how to remain in their optimal temperature window.
Nitrogen in the air is one of the greatest threats to our wild plants, lichens and fungi, yet few people have even heard about it. Plantlife’s new report We need to talk about Nitrogen raises the alarm about its devastating impacts.
Click here for more information.: Plantlife :: We need to talk about Nitrogen…
Anyway, after some fun time with my Dictionary of Entomology, (which is much more of an encyclopaedia than a dictionary), and of course Google, I have great pleasure in presenting my one stop shop for those of you who wonder how insect orders got their names. Here they are, all in one easy to access place with a few fun-filled facts to leaven the mixture.
Last of the species in country, a female rhino named Iman, ‘died sooner than expected’
Voters have woken up to the climate emergency. Equally urgent is the threat to nature and wildlife – and the issues are linked
“I have loved nature for as long as I can remember, certainly before I was old enough to go to school. I used to spend hours peering into our garden pond in the 1960’s and marvelling at the different creatures to be found living there. There were many frogs, toads and newts that used the pond for spawning and I would watch the progress of their tadpoles each year. There was much invertebrate life there too which was also a fascination to me. We lived about a mile from Gatwick airport and one negative aspect of this was that I often had to use newspaper on the surface of the pond to take off the thin coating of oil that accumulated, presumably from fuel dumping.
Click here for more information.: Pond Ponderings: From a Redesigned Mature Pond in Suburban Suffolk! – British Dragonfly Society
There are around 650 species of spider in the UK alone. That’s a lot! Some spiders can be identified by eye, others require hand lenses and many even require microscopes to correctly identify them to species level. Most people find spiders creepy though, so never get close enough to identify them in the field, let alone choose to look at them down a microscope. Earlier this year, however, I attended the Tomorrow’s Invertebrate Recorders course run by the FSC Biolinks team during which I chose to spend a whole day learning microscopic identification of spiders.
Click here to read the rest of the article.: I spied-a spider: Microscope work isn’t as daunting as it appears! | Biodiversity Projects
Stephen Moss has written a round-up of nature books for many years and this is the second year when it has appeared here on this blog. Stephen is course leader of the MA Travel & Nature Writing at Bath Spa University.
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Stephen Moss’s 2019 Round-up of Nature books. – Mark Avery
Juniper, a rare conifer which is used to flavour gin, is making a comeback in southern England with the help of a conservation rescue mission, Plantlife has said.
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Rescue mission to save ‘gin plant’ juniper in southern England bears fruit – ITV News
An ‘unnoticed apocalypse’ may have killed half of the world’s insects in the 50 years since 1970, according to a new study.
Click here to read the rest of the article.: The ‘unnoticed insect apocalypse’: How people in towns and cities can help – BBC News
Since 2019 is the Year of the Fly I thought it was time to dust off my boyhood interest in flies and see how many families of flies I could see through the year. Each time I see one from a new family I will write a post, and by the end of the year I hope to know my way around them.
Click here for more information.: The year of the fly – Exploring the families of British Diptera
Latin America’s mammals could be the next to suffer under palm oil production, warns charity.
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Jaguars under threat from palm oil expansion – Discover Wildlife
The days are shortening and the temperature is falling. This is a signal to deciduous (broadleaf) trees that it is time to close down for the winter, conserve energy and prevent it from losing precious nutrients.
Plankton-feeding manta rays and whale sharks may accidentally ingest harmful microplastics in Indonesian oceans.
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Microplastics polluting Indonesian feeding grounds of ocean giants – Discover Wildlife
This page is a very useful guide to bee identification guides:
Source: Identification Guides | BWARS
Chaotic mobs of jackdaws suddenly get organised once enough birds join in, new research shows.
Click here for more information.: Jackdaw mobs flip from chaos to order as they grow, #ornithology research news via @RareBirdAlertUK
Click here to view the Bedfordshire Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire Wildlife Trust newsletter.
Data collected from electronic tags retrieved from 47 journeys made by the Farne Island Arctic Terns, has revealed for the first time how climate change might affect their behaviour.
Click here for more information.: First evidence of the impact of climate change on Arctic Terns, #ornithology research news via @RareBirdAlertUK
How big is the biggest insect wingspan in the world? One foot wide, wingtip to wingtip. This encounter in the rainforests of Brazil is on I’ll always remember. http://www.instagram.com/phil_torres
Click here for more information.: Beavers to be released in plan to ease flooding and aid biodiversity | Environment | The Guardian
Light pollution is a significant but overlooked driver of the rapid decline of insect populations, according to the most comprehensive review of the scientific evidence to date.
Outstanding conditions for growth topped by finds of exceptionally rare species around the UK
Click here for more information.: Plantwatch: weather triggers magical season for exotic fungi | Science | The Guardian
A study has identified the genes that give trees resistance to ash dieback, which arrived in the UK in 2012 and has now spread to almost every part of the country.
One of the longest standing mysteries of migration has finally been solved after scientists discovered where the UK’s Painted Lady butterfly population goes each autumn.
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Painted Lady migration secrets revealed
Research suggests density of hairdressers in an area – and resulting human hair – affects rate of lost toes
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Human hair behind pigeons’ lost toes, Paris study finds | World news | The Guardian
As Australia experiences record-breaking drought and bushfires, koala populations have dwindled along with their habitat, leaving them “functionally extinct.”
Click here to read the rest of the article.: ‘Insect apocalypse’ poses risk to all life on Earth, conservationists warn | Environment | The Guardian
The rate of population decline, stated most recently in People’s Trust for Endangered Species State of Britain’s Dormice 2019 report is that populations of hazel dormice have fallen by half since 2000. The range decline refers to the 17 counties where dormice are now extinct since the end of the 19th century.
Click here for more information.: Help hazel dormice – People’s Trust for Endangered Species
The UK Government spent almost £20m less on tree planting in the financial year 2017-18 than it did in 2014-15, according to an analysis of official figures by Friends of the Earth (FotE).
Click here for more information.: UK Government’s spending on trees ‘has plummeted by £20m since 2015’
Long-running survey finds 1976 heatwave boom has been followed by dropping numbers
Click here for more information.: Moth populations in steady decline in Britain, study finds | Environment | The Guardian
Beavers are to be released at two National Trust sites despite opposition from farmers to their reintroduction.
Click here for more information.: Beavers to be reintroduced on two National Trust sites, despite farmers’ opposition
Officials are allowing thousands of wild duck eggs to be destroyed, killing the unhatched ducklings, in part because it is claimed the birds pose a threat to cyclists.
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Thousands of duck eggs destroyed because birds ‘posed threat to cyclists’ | The Independent
In a fascinating comparison of weight gained by Red Knot and Ruddy Turnstone during spring migration in Delaware Bay, on America’s east-coast flyway, Anna Tucker and colleagues show that Knot are far more vulnerable to annual variations in their main food supply than more flexible Turnstones, which target the same food if it is available. Given that changing weather patterns, associated with a warming climate, are expected to make resource availability harder to predict, the authors suggest that populations of migrant shorebirds (waders) that rely on a specific resource being available at the right time are likely to be more vulnerable – as has become apparent for Delaware Bay Knot.
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Red Knot pay the price for being fussy eaters! | wadertales
Lion populations across Africa have declined by 43% over the past 21 years, due range of factors, including conflict with cattle farmers, loss of prey and habitat, and at times, unsustainable trophy hunting, according to the wild cat conservation charity Panthera. They are now facing a new threat – poaching for body parts.
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Lions face new poaching threat for body parts – Discover Wildlife
The latest Wild Bird Populations in the UK, 1970-2018 report has been published by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), analysing the populations of British birds. Skylarks and song thrushes show short-term increases, but some birds such as turtle doves are in steep decline.
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Skylarks fly high, while turtle doves tumble – Discover Wildlife
Russian navy discovers yet-to-be-named islands previously hidden under glaciers
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Melting glaciers reveal five new islands in the Arctic | Environment | The Guardian
Forecast suggests rainforest could stop producing enough rain to sustain itself by 2021
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Amazon rainforest ‘close to irreversible tipping point’ | Environment | The Guardian
Horns made with horse hair that look real under microscope could help lower price of illegal horns
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Scientists plan to flood black market with fake rhino horn to reduce poaching | Environment | The Guardian
White-faced Darter is a specialist of lowland peatbogs, and spends most of its life as aquatic larvae living in deep bog pools. Unfortunately, lowland peatbogs in England have experienced decades of decline as a result of human activity, including drainage to create farmland, as well as the planting of commercial forests. As peatbogs disappeared, so did the White-faced Darter, until only a handful of their original sites remained, and the species became one of the UK’s rarest dragonflies. White-faced Darter were absent from Cheshire for over a decade, until Cheshire Wildlife Trust developed an ambitious project to help bring the species back.
Click here for more information.: White-faced Darter Reintroduction Project, Delamere Forest – British Dragonfly Society
Click here to read the rest of the article.: RSPB review of game bird shooting: an update – Martin Harper’s blog – Our work – The RSPB Community
What many of us do get in gardens, however, is duckweed – those floating plants that individually look like a tiny water-lily leaves but en masse can quickly carpet the surface of a pond.
Click here for more information.: A different kind of duck: all about duckweed – Gardening for wildlife – Homes for Wildlife – The RSPB Community
He is the most beloved figure in Britain, and, at 93, a global superstar. His films long shied away from discussing humanity’s impact on the planet. Now they are sounding the alarm – but is it too late?
Click here to read the rest of the article.: The real David Attenborough | Television & radio | The Guardian
The RSPB have published a guide to help identify wildfowl.
Click here for more information.: Types of Ducks, Geese and Swans in the UK – The RSPB
Antique dealers fail in high court bid to overturn world-leading blanket ban on trading
Click here to read the rest of the article.: ‘Fantastic day for elephants’: court rejects ivory ban challenge | Environment | The Guardian
We asked Dr Laura Foster, head of clean seas at the Marine Conservation Society, and Thomas Stanton, a PhD researcher at the University of Nottingham, questions about microplastics and what society can do to combat the problems they cause.
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Everything you need to know about microplastics – Discover Wildlife
There’s a growing body of evidence that shows access to high-quality green spaces and an environment rich in biodiversity brings benefits for human health and well-being. But what if you live in an estate where there is a lot of housing? Or an urban area dominated by road infrastructure? It might be difficult to even see a green space, let alone spend time in one. Everyone should have an opportunity to support wildlife in their local area and get the same benefits associated with urban green space.
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Biodiversity boost for housing association sites | Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Click here to view the Bedfordshire Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire Wildlife Trust newsletter.
They are marching, flying and hopping in their droves because of climate change, say scientists.
For 50 years, researchers have thought that moths evolved ears to detect the ultrasonic calls of attacking bats—but a new study shows that ears came first.
Click here to read the rest of the article.: A Textbook Evolutionary Story Is Wrong – The Atlantic
The young pangolin had been illegally caught by poachers and kept in constant darkness.
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Rescued pangolin released back into the wild – Discover Wildlife
Silver ants travel 108 times their body length per second and have stride rate 10 times that of Usain Bolt
Click here for more information.: Fastest ants in world found in northern Sahara, researchers say | Science | The Guardian
Study finds that spending time in nature increases children’s wellbeing, motivation, and confidence.
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Spending time in nature nurtures children – Discover Wildlife
Many insects moving north in response to climate change find they have nowhere to go in Britain’s intensively managed landscapes, according to new research.
Click here to read the rest of the article.: No place like home
Once persecuted to extinction, white-tailed eagles are making a comeback in Scotland, following several reintroduction projects dating back over 40 years. And recently, some young white-tailed eagles have also been released in the south of England.
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Two white-tailed eagles vanish in suspicious circumstances – Investigations – Our work – The RSPB Community
Bee nutrition and parasites are getting quite some attention these days. Which I’m very happy about, as I prefer to see bee health in a broader context than only the absence of diseases. I discussed this already in some posts like recently the one on honey bee welfare or the One Health Concept and the risks from managed bees for non-managed pollinators. However, I didn’t go in-depth with the role nutrition plays in bee health.
Click here to read the rest of the article.: About bee nutrition and parasites – diversity for healthy bees – BeeSafe
Click here to view the November 2019 newsletter.
The wader’s solitary presence is a remnant sign of once abundant bird life
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Country diary: a lone curlew’s song is met with silence | Environment | The Guardian
There are two distinct races of brent geese. Dark-bellied brent geese breed in northern Russia and spend the winter in southern and eastern England. Pale-bellied Brent geese breed mostly in Canada and Greenland and spend the winter mostly in Ireland.
Click here for more information.: Brent Geese’s Migration Route- The RSPB
Chimpanzees, bonobos, and orangutans are able to understand what others see and believe
Click here for more information.: ‘Theory of mind’ demonstrated in great apes – Discover Wildlife
How do birds manage to fly so closely together without colliding, and what are the benefits of doing so?
Click here for more information.: Why Birds Fly Together | How Birds Fly – The RSPB
One of the whale populations taken to the edge of extinction by commercial hunting in the early 20th Century has essentially recovered its numbers.
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Southwest Atlantic humpback whales on recovery path – BBC News
The discovery of a female Florida panther lying with a broken leg on a verge outside the town of Naples, south of Tampa, triggered a widespread rescue dash.
Conservationists, who had previously fitted a tracking collar to the animal, were aware she had recently given birth. The kittens would not survive long on their own, they realised, and so an urgent search for them was launched.
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Images offer glimpse into life of endangered Florida panther | Environment | The Guardian
Red deer, fallow deer and sika deer are most exciting to watch in the autumn, when the rut begins. But not all deer are the same, so what should you look out for?
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Understanding the deer rut and the best places to see it – Discover Wildlife
One of the greatest conservation tools to emerge in recent years has been satellite-tagging technology. Whether following the journeys of migrating cuckoos or shedding light on the dangers facing UK birds of prey, these tiny pieces of technology are becoming increasingly valuable in the conservationist’s mission to save nature.
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Challenging misinformation about satellite tags – Scottish Nature Notes – Our work – The RSPB Community
Your bonfire pile looks like a 5* hotel to a hedgehog so please be careful, urges wildlife charity.
Click here for more information.: Look out for hedgehogs this Bonfire Night – Discover Wildlife
Museums found to have a bias towards males in bird and mammal natural history collections.
Click here for more information.: Sex bias shown in natural history museum specimens – Discover Wildlife
Plantlife produce a number of interesting guides to wildflowers.
Remembering Lions is the fourth instalment in the charity book series by the Remembering Wildlife team, and features images donated by more than 70 of the world’s top wildlife photographers.
Click here for more information.: Remembering Lions – Discover Wildlife
Butterfly Conservation Upper thames Branch Species Champion’s report on Silver-spotted Skipper summarising changes in distribution and first sightings is now available.
Click here to view the report.
Click here to download the article.: Reports and publications
Click on the play button to watch the video (15 minutes)
Nepal’s wild tigers increased to 235 in 2018 from only 121 in 2008 due to the conservation efforts of dedicated local people, the Nepali government and Zoological Society of London (ZSL).
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Conservation efforts increase tiger numbers in Nepal – Discover Wildlife
Over the last couple of years, I have been involved with the volunteer monitoring of the Chequered Skipper release in Rockingham Forest, firstly with the adult butterflies brought in from Belgium , and then with the butterflies that had emerged from those first adults.
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Chequered Skipper Caterpillar Find! – Back From The Brink
An appreciation of how some species are becoming more common despite unprecedented anthropogenic pressures could offer key insights for mitigating the global biodiversity crisis. Research to date has largely focused on declining species, while species that are becoming more common have received relatively little attention. Macro-moths in Great Britain are well-studied and species-rich, making them an ideal group for addressing this knowledge gap. Here, we examine changes in 51 successful species between 1968 and 2016 using 4.5 million occurrence records and a systematic monitoring dataset. We employ 3D graphical analysis to visualise long-term multidimensional trends in prevalence (abundance and range) and use vector autoregression models to test whether past values of local abundance are useful for predicting changes in the extent of occurrence. The responses of Anthropocene winners are heterogeneous, suggesting multiple drivers are responsible. Changes in range and local abundance frequently occur intermittently through time, demonstrating the value of long-term, continuous monitoring. There is significant diversity among the winners themselves, which include widespread generalists, habitat specialists, and recent colonists. We offer brief discussion of possible causal factors and the wider ecosystem implications of these trends.
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Bucking the trend: the diversity of Anthropocene ‘winners’ among British moths
More than a million volunteers are needed to tackle the spread of invasive non-native species in the UK, MPs say.
Click here for more information.: Invasive species: MPs call for a million people’s help – BBC News
Expert Steven Amstrup says ‘the longer the sea ice is gone from the productive zone the tougher it is on the bears’
Click here to read the rest of the article.: ‘We know they aren’t feeding’: fears for polar bears over shrinking Arctic ice | World news | The Guardian
Welcome to our complete guide to protecting British hedgehogs.
If you’d like to see more of these special animals in your garden or you have a question about how to look after one, this article is for you.
Climatic change may be behind expanded range of very rare native mammal of British Isles
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Greater horseshoe bats living in Kent after absence of 115 years | Environment | The Guardian
A partnership of 70 wildlife organisations, research institutes and government agencies has produced the third State of Nature report, the clearest picture to date of the status of UK plant and animal species. The 2019 report, which follows similar assessments in 2013 and 2016, has revealed average declines in distribution and abundance of five per cent and 13 per cent, respectively, since 1970. Dr Jack Hatfield of the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, one of the co-authors of State of Nature 2019, says volunteer recorders are essential to this comprehensive analysis of the health of our natural world…
The abundance of species in Scotland is falling at a faster rate than the UK as a whole, according to a detailed study.
Click here for more information.: Wildlife decline ‘faster in Scotland than across the UK’ – BBC News
Understanding our garden wildlife is becoming increasingly important. Gardenwatch, the UK’s biggest-ever garden audit, was launched on BBC Springwatch in May 2019, and asked people for information on garden features and wildlife across the country. The responses have given us fascinating new information on how people help wildlife in their gardens, and where there is still more that can be done. For example, relatively few people reported leaving leaf litter piles, long grass or rock piles in their gardens, and only a small proportion of people provided homes for wildlife such as bat boxes or Hedgehog houses. The maps show interesting variation across the UK, including the fact that climbers, including autumn-flowering Ivy, are less common in gardens in northern areas.
Click here for more information.: Gardenwatch results – first findings | BTO – British Trust for Ornithology
Have you ever seen a colour-ringed Sanderling and perhaps wondered why it spends the non-breeding* season on a British or Irish beach rather than on one in Portugal, Ghana or even further south? Why fly from Greenland to Namibia, a distance of over 20,000 km, when spending the winter months in the UK or Ireland requires a flight of as little as 3,700 km? Perhaps the chance of survival is greater in other countries or perhaps birds that travel further have a larger lifetime breeding output? A paper by Jeroen Reneerkens and colleagues provides some of the answers.
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Travel advice for Sanderling? | wadertales
Moths and other wildlife are being affected by climate change. Species have always evolved to adapt to changing conditions and will continue to do so. The problem with man-made climate change is that it is happening so quickly that our wildlife may not be able to evolve and adapt fast enough.
Click here to read the rest of the article.: Moths and climate change
Butterflies and moths are vital indicators of the health of Europe’s biodiversity and a new project is helping to get a clear picture of butterfly data across the continent.
Click here for more information.: Butterfly data can inform Europe’s environmental policy
Governmental agri-environment schemes (AES) aim to improve pollinator abundance and diversity on farmland by sowing wildflower seed mixes. These often contain high proportions of Fabaceae, particularly Trifolium (clovers), which are attractive to some bumblebee species, but not to most of the ~ 240 solitary bee species in the UK. Here we identify wildflowers that are attractive to a greater range of wild bee species.
Click here to read the rest of the article.: The best wildflowers for wild bees | SpringerLink
Aerial images enable researchers to determine the body mass of whales.
Click here for more information.: Drones used to weigh whales – Discover Wildlife
Each year, nature photographers and enthusiasts alike are brought out of their hides to awe at the amazing winners of Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. 2019’s winning images have just been announced, and are a testament to the long-standing competition.
Many of us enjoy watching hoverflies as they dart around our gardens amongst the bees and wasps. Sometimes, it is hard to tell the difference as many hoverfly species mimic honeybees and bumblebees (there’s even a hoverfly that mimics a hornet!).
Click here for more information.: Fly of the month – bog hoverfly – Discover Wildlife