Yes, this is how to address a harvest mouse in Latin, should you wish to. Our new Young Nature Watch page has lots of lovely links to information about these delightful creatures, including a charming 18thC poem. Along with, of course, info on how to join this Young Nature Watch field trip on 17 October.
Poor weasels. Just because they're small and quick, why is being a human weasel someone not very nice. Same as being a sly fox, I guess.
The Guardian online has a little item in its Specieswatch series that tries to restore the reputation of 'the UK's tiny hunter', here, along with a pretty pic.
Hedgehog numbers in the UK are estimated to have dropped by 95% since the 1950s. Hedgehog expert Hugh is fighting to save the nation’s best loved animal. His petition for ‘hedgehog highways’ to be installed in all new housing developments has over 800,000 signatures - and thanks to this public pressure major developers are now starting to include them.
But Hugh wants the Government to make it law to help hedgehogs across the country survive. Will you sign his petition to keep the pressure up? Go to the petition to add your voice
If you've not yet signed up for Izzy's blog, I can only warmly recommend it. Her most recent post about ringing birds on Martin Down has some absolutely magical photos. All the birds look completely happy! a tribute to the expertise of the ringers.
Do go to mynatureandphotographyblog.wordpress.com/ and enjoy a regular boost to morale.
The Vapourer moth's and the Knotgrass moth's caterpillars are quite similar. The moths are pretty small but seen here actually quite handsome. All grist to the learning mill.
I've realised that August into September are really good months for wild flowers. I always expect the Spring to be best but am usually disappointed - except this year's orchids were really gorgeous.
Debbie Carter's been out walking on Battlesbury Hill - on the edge of the Plain, near Warminster. You'll need to get close to appreciate this amount of detail, but it never ceases to amaze me how exquisitely constructed flowers are, often to suit a particular kind of bee.
Horseshoe vetch is an essential plant for the Chalkhill and Adonis Blue butterflies as their caterpillars feed solely on it; it is also used by the Dingy Skipper.
Dick Budden's patch down by the Nadder provides a wealth of interest - flowers, butterflies, caterpillars - and now, a visiting bat. It was 'grounded', but left to its own devices it flew off, unlike a swift with similarly long wings which wouldn't be able to do so. We reported earlier on the healthy bat population along our Nadder River - this site is further downstream but it would seem also has a good number.
This is a Common Pipistrelle - though not so common on the ground. If you should find one in your house, probably on a wall or curtain, don't panic - leave it be till the evening and then just turn all the lights off and open the window, and it'll be gone.
That video I posted commenting, 'I've never seen anything like it,' was just the start. Here's a lovely one quite possibly including mine, of house martins having a final guzzle of the insects at Portland Bill before they set off across the seas, mountains, deserts and forests.
We were very pleased to be able to hold this Talk.
Alex is a Tisbury resident and an environmental scientist by training who well understands the complex environmental challenges that face our rivers. He joined the Trust after a spell in the North West as an ecological consultant, carrying out impact assessments for a wide range of infrastructure and restoration projects. Before that he worked for the Environment Agency monitoring fisheries and the environment in the Thames region.
Andrew Graham writes that, 'Autumn is a good time to keep a lookout for some of the approximately 15,000 species of fungus which can be found in the British Isles. They vary tremendously in colour, size, shape, and form and can be fascinating things to look at. A small number make good eating, but most are unpleasant or at best tasteless. A few are deadly poisonous, so never eat fungus unless you are absolutely certain of your identification and always wash your hands after handling any of which you are unsure.
'Species are associated with different habitats and species so looking for fungus in a variety of locations is a way to find a good variety. Warm damp weather seems to encourage their growth. Those to be found on the ground are often short-lived and start to decay quite quickly or start to get eaten by invertebrates. Bracket fungus, that grow in plates out of the stems of trees, may last for years, each season throwing out a new plate. When trying to identify fungus, note the colour and the cap’s underside. Whether this is made up of gills, pores or spikes can help to identify the family, while location and colour will help identify the species. Despite the variety, all mushrooms and toadstools are fruiting bodies, designed in different ways to shed spores.
'These spores germinate to create threads, called hyphae, which grow to form a network called a mycelium. This network of threads grows to permeate the soil or tree on which the toadstool grows. The hyphae absorb nutrients from the substrate in which they live and in so doing contribute to decomposition. Many fungi form a symbiotic relationship with the roots of trees and shrubs. However, others are parasitic and can be very destructive by taking nutrients from their hosts, eventually causing their death. Some mycelia can be very small while others can spread through large areas of soil and be very long-lived. One is thought to be more than 2,400 years old and covers more than 3.4 square miles, surely making it one of the largest living organisms on the planet.’
Two books about funghi that you may enjoy and find helpful, are Mushrooms and other Funghi of Great Britain and Europe by Roger Phillips, and the recently published Entangled Life: How fungi make our worlds, change our minds and shape our futures, by Merlin Sheldrake.
The pages now display photos of live moths taken by Andrew Graham. This one, the Puss Moth, looks very soft and cuddly.