Posts Tagged ‘springwatch’

Unusual sites for interesting species?

June 17, 2014

There are some days you just need fresh air and space to breathe, yesterday was one such day.  So, in the spirit of the Nick Baker’s ‘lunch hour’ sessions* I decided to try a visit to Hatfield Moors for a change ….

Heading out of the car park with its ‘raised bed rally restricting bollards’ I followed the well trodden path through the ‘heathland’ area (ex mineral workings reverting to birch scrub) thinking that I might check on the unusual Salix and Pyrola finds made in 2009 (see Volume 8 of the Forum’s Papers).  There was absolutely no chance of relocating either species as the birch had become so dense.

One of the most interesting records from the brief visit was that of Lariniodes sclopetarius in the Ladies!  A sizeable female had taken up residence, clearly a very literate spider to observe the gender code as well as noticing the fact that the convenience next door had been / was disabled ….

140616 Hatfield Moors hrk 227

There was certainly plenty of bumblebee activity and they appearred to outnumber honeybees feeding on the plentiful bramble flowers.  Bombus hypnorum was also present but in low numbers compared to the other species.

Sadly I wasn’t quick enough to get a shot of either the Brown Silver-line or the male Cuckoo as they flew tantilisingly close, nor the Speckled Wood butterflies.  There were still a fair few spikes of Common Spotted Orchid around, but many past their best so not particularly photogenic.

* With apologies to those readers who didn’t watch the recent endeavours by the BBC to engage, educate and encourage the public to get out more …. Springwatch!

Today’s ‘wildlife’ find was that of an early evening stroll and the discovery of a Pebble Prominent larvae munching a poplar leaf along a substantive hedgerow.  Even as an early instar (c. 9-10mm) the brown dorsal stripe was evident and particularly so through a hand lens.  Which proves that closer inspection generally reaps reward.

Campaign corner:

Readers of environmental blogs such as that of Dr Mark Avery will have sensed disquiet about the performance of the ‘guardians of the natural environment’, a recent posts asks “What’s up at Natural England?”  It might be that there has been a good response to the Government consultation on the General Licence and that Ministers are pressurising the recently ‘ish’ appointed Chair of NE?  There were some well considered responses and we await the Government’s evaluation and report on the ‘consultation’.

 

 

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The State of Nature

May 27, 2013

With the window of opportunity that a Bank Holiday Monday provided how many of you were out there benefiting from the experience of interacting with our declining wildlife?  How many of you later in the evening tuned into Springwatch to learn what many of us have been recording?  At least Chris Packham recommended viewers download and read The State of Nature Report and for that he is to be applauded.  I’d be curious to learn how many ‘hits’ the RSPB website got subsequent to his ‘plug’.

It makes pretty depressing reading, one of the report’s headlines reads …. We have quantitative assessments of the population or distribution trends of 3,148 species.  Of these, 60% of species have declined over the last 50 years and 31% have declined strongly.

One might wonder what the Government response to this will be, denial or a public relations exercise rolling out case studies of funded ‘biodiversity building’?

What the report and programmes like Springwatch should encourage us all to do is to get out there and record the biodiversity then the evidence is there for those who write such ‘natural history obituaries’.  It might also encourage those who pproclaim themselves as guardians or champions to try a bit harder and actually safeguard and protect declining habitats and species.

There is certainly some stunning invertebrates about at the moment for those with patience to capture on camera.

The hoverfly Dasysyrphus albostriatus (another stunning shot captured here at Crowle by Phil Lee) is a woodland edge species and widespread throughout much of the UK.  With around 276 species known to Britain, they make a good group to study.  There is a Hoverfly Recording Scheme and more details can be found here.

Dasysyrphus albostriatus 2 Crowle Moor 12.5.13

This superb image of the wasp beetle Clytra arietius was taken by Steve Hiner on Thorne Moors recently.   A long-horn beetle whose larvae feed on the wood of deciduous trees which have an association with fungi.  The adults feed on pollen and females supplement their protein intake by taking smaller insects as well.

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One of the earliest butterflies to emerge in spring is the stunning sulphur Brimstone, another of Steve Hiner’s Thorne images.  I suppose the four peacock butterflies sunning themselves on 4 January don’t really count as they would have been tempted out of hibernation.

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So, get out there before it’s too late.  Get out there and make a difference.  Despite the depressing reading to be had, the interaction with the natural world always re-invigorates determination to challenge and change when opportunities present themselves.


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Hatfield Moors Birding Blog

Bird and other wildlife information service for Hatfield Moors, South Yorkshire, UK © HMBSG 17/11/2010

Mark Avery

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

a new nature blog

I write about politics, nature + the environment. Some posts are serious, some not. These are my views, I don't do any promotional stuff and these views are not being expressed for anyone who employs me.

UK and Ireland Natural History Bloggers

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