As you can imagine, we had to transform our events into something appropriate to the new government regulations. However, this didn't mean we cancelled them!
Our Autumn leaves and fungi walk, was transformed it into a self-guided walk. The plan was to take lots of pictures of fungi and share them with us afterwards!
For photos of winning entries go to our Facebook page.
As always, contact Ines at email@example.com if you need help.
Micromys minutus is such a gorgeous name for these enchanting creatures - and very happily, it turns out they are alive and well and living on our Chairman Peter Shallcross's Wallmead Farm.
Their nests are about the size of a tennis ball, and built into the stems of tough grasses and other flowers, usually about a foot up from the ground and often below brambly hedges or in reeds near round ponds. If you want to have a go at looking for nests yourself, there's a great website, Rushcliffe Wildlife, which has a lot of really useful information.
Such as, if you want to go hunting, don't choose a bright, sunny day because you won't be able to see into the depths of brambles or grass. So our day was just perfect - cloudy but dry and not a breath of wind. After briefing by Peter Thomson (an advisor to the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, who will be giving the talk at our indoor meeting on 19 November), we set off in our group up onto the hilltop where the lapwing nest site is and the pond. We spent a very happy two hours bent double, poring over tussocks of likely-looking grass and occasionally giving a triumphant cry at sighting one of these incredibly difficult-to-spot nests - difficult even if they had been 'planted'.
I'd love to see a female building - they hold the grass in their paws and tear it into narrow strips with their teeth, weaving from the inside out, pulling in new stems. A new nest is usually built for each litter, so the greener the nest, the more recent the breeding.
We tried to record where we'd found the nests, and although many had been 'planted' the teams together found several 'natural' ones. So we felt really good to have contributed in a small way to knowledge of wildlife in our area.
To encourage us to best efforts, there were winners ie each team's finds were logged. Announcing the results, the organisers said, 'We were almost going to declare a tie as several groups had found a very similar number of nests (19!) but after some difficult deliberation we eventually declared as winner the team lead by Peter Thompson, as it was the one who found more green harvest mice nests (and without his help!).
'The winning team was composed by Vanessa Harriss, Izzy Arundell and Henry, and Beck Barber and Martha. The runner ups were Elizabeth Forbes' group with Kaitlin, Ebony, John and Rufus, and Izzy; and mine (Ines's) with Sadie Flower + family. Congratulations, well done all of you!'
This was such fun, I'm sure we'll be keen to answer any other call for help.
Here's a message from Ines (from which I note almost unbelievingly, that it's scientific name is micromys minutus!! Sounds very un-scientific, although of course that's how names are established.
To makes things easier for those who are joining (and for those who aren't too), some info (you need to click once on the URL, and then again when the link comes up):
- and a delightful poem in this one, by an 18thC enthusiast
Recorded in Wilts this year (page 4):
This nature photography workshop was led by Abby Eaton, who provided the lovely bird photographs that have brightened the website pages. She was joined by Craig Morris, a wildlife and bird photographer who'd helped her get to grips with her own photography and was an RSPB guide at their reserve near Sandy in Bedfordshire. They invited people 'to learn some great camera basics with your mobile and try a DSLR while trying to snap something fly past at 90mph. We'll even tell you what it was.'
Izzy Fry, who is co-organiser for YNW with Ines and whose great blog brightens my own life, was among the small group who walked round Fonthill Lake, where there's plenty of opportunity to practise photography skills. She said, 'We learned how to use a camera and tried out different lenses. We walked through fields looking for bugs and butterflies, woodland for birds and leaves and round the lake watching grey wagtails and dragonflies. My favourite subjects were the ladybirds, leaves, brimstone butterflies, grey wagtails, blackberries and dragonflies! We tried our different lenses, including large zooms and wide angled and we were given advice and support on using the camera manual settings.'
'It was a really enjoyable morning and I learnt so much with the expert advice from Abby and Craig. It was a fab day out and we'll certainly be planning more.'
Abby and Craig challenged the group to take a photo of a 'clip-on' robin in the most unusual way (??!!). The winner was Izzy, the runner up Shauna. We can't show individual photos of them, but we can show the prizes! (I shall ask if we can also have the winning photos.)
But what was it flying past at 90mph?
Page header design by Izzy Fry.
You can view and download the full programme of this year's activities here.
Young TNHS is for under-21s and membership is free. To join and to register for events, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
21 and over Membership is £10 p.a. for adults or £2 per event for guests. To join, email email@example.com.