April is the month nature really wakes up after winter: bird migration is in full swing, trees and wild flowers are bursting forth, and insect numbers grow by the day. There is so much to see!

Read our guide ‘What to look out for in April’ by following this link.


Sun 7th April              Wilwell Farm Cutting in Spring

Join Gordon the Warden to look at the first signs of spring, including the early flowers of the season. Meet 10 am at the Wilwell car park on the B680 between Ruddington and Wilford , on the left just before the ring road bridge (look out for reserve sign).  Postcode for approx. location is NG2 7UT. what3words = home  news  fuzzy.

For more information, please contact gordon.dyne@gmail.com

Sun 21st April                       Bunny Wood Open Day

See the Bluebells in bloom and learn about the woodland’s history. There’s a guided walk at 11am, plus children’s activities.  10.30 am – 3.30 pm  Car park is on the left of the A60 climbing up out of Bunny village towards Costock.  what3words = deflect corrode helped .

For more information, please contact  Christopher.terrell-nield@ntu.ac.uk or ring 0115 9374906.

Sun 21st April                        Bingham Linear Park

Wildlife walk looking for butterflies, birds, flowers and insects with Jenny Craig.  Meet 10 am at the Tithby Bridge entrance on Tithby Road, Bingham.

For more information, please contact jenny@ifcraig.com .

Sat 27th April             Dawn Chorus at Sharphill Wood

Join John Elwell to see, and hear, a range of spring birds; please bring binoculars. Meet 6 am

Please contact John Elwell on 07794 052672 for details and to reserve a place.

Sat 13th April              Rushcliffe Wildlife WATCH GROUP

11:00 am – 1:00 pm.  Meet at Rushcliffe Country Park Visitor Centre.

For young people between 8 and 12 years old who are interested in wildlife-related activities.  Meets monthly, on every second Saturday. Charge £3 per session.


The South Notts Local Group Annual General Meeting will take place on Thursday 25th April, starting at 7.00 pm. The meeting will be on line, via Zoom, and will be followed by a free talk at 7.30 pm. Fuller details will be available shortly.


Our local nature reserves rely on volunteers to help maintain them, and organise regular work parties.  Planned parties for April are as follows:

Sat 6th             Wilwell Farm Cutting

Sat 13th           Wilford Claypit                        Meadow Park

Sat 27th           Springdale Wood

Sun 28th          Sharphill Wood

Details of times, etc. can be found in the Diary section of our website here, so if you have some spare time and energy please feel free to join in – you will be very welcome!

Don’t forget, you can find out more about what’s happening with nature in Rushcliffe by following us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SouthNottsWildlifeGroup

If you would like to contact us, send an email to southnottswildlife@gmail.com


BEE MISCELLANY – (from South Notts Local Group Newsletter)

There are some 20,000 separate species of bees worldwide, all of which provide a greater or lesser pollination service on which we depend for food. In the UK, there are around 270 species, which may come as a surprise to some, for whom Honey and Bumblebees comprise ‘our’ bee population: in fact, there is one species of Honey Bee, 24 species of bumblebees and around 250 species of solitary bees, many of which, in spite of their name, live in colonies. There are mason bees, mud bees, plasterer bees, leafcutter bees, mining bees, scissor bees and more, including the wonderfully-named Pantaloon Bee.

Some bee species are more abundant and widespread than others, with Honey Bees and the more common bumblebees most numerous; the Shrill Carder bee and Giant Yellow bumblebee the rarest. Bees exhibit the most extraordinary behaviours, perhaps none more so than the Red-tailed Mason Bee Osmia bicolor, the female of which uses empty snail shells for nesting. Having found a suitable shell she will turn it to a position that prevents rain getting in (quite something, given their relative sizes) and lay up to five eggs in it, each in a separate brood chamber partitioned with chewed grass and soil, each chamber stocked with pollen and nectar. She then seals the shell nest with thisnpaste, and camouflages the nest, carrying in long pieces of grass and twig and pieces of dead leaf. She will repeat this five or six times. The eggs hatch and pupate in the shell, emerging in the following spring. You can find out more about this incredible insect, and watch a video of its amazing behaviour here at BuzzAboutBees.net  https://www.buzzaboutbees.net/red-tailled-mason-bee-osmia-bicolor.html.

Bumblebees were given the generic name Bombus in 1802, based on the Latin word for buzzing or humming. The name ‘bumblebee’ is itself a compound of ‘bumble’ and ‘bee’, where ‘bumble’means to hum or buzz. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) tells us the first use of ‘bumblebee’ was recorded in 1530, but that it was predated by the word ’humblebee’, which was first recorded in 1450, and which clearly remained in common use for centuries; even Charles Darwin in On the origin of species (1859), like many of his scientific contemporaries, called them ‘humblebees’. Writing in the Guardian in 2010, Richard Jones suggested that “Darwin would have called them humblebees because, as they fly, they hum.”

Writing on the Bumblebee Conservation Trust website, Katy Malone says: “So, when did we even start calling them bumblebees? It’s probably much more recent than you think. Up until around 1910 they were known as humblebees. By the 1950s we called them bumblebees, possibly thanks to a story by Beatrix Potter who wrote a story which included Babbity Bumble who caused trouble by making mossy nests in the back garden of Mrs Tittlemouse. Naughty Bumble!”

Incidentally, back in the 18th century a bumblebee was known as a ‘dumbledor’, thought to be the inspiration for J K Rowling’s Professor Dumbledore. (“dumble” probably imitating the sound of these insects, while “dor” meant “beetle”. Webster Dictionary 1913).

Bumblebees are much-researched insects, with the latest revelation being that they “can teach others to master complex tasks, and display a level of social learning traditionally thought exclusive to humans”.

An article on the BBC News website here describes the latest research from Queen Mary University London which saw Buff-tailed bumblebees Bombus terrestris learn to solve problems and pass their knowledge onto others. The article states ”It is the first time scientists have seen this behaviour in insects” and that “Researchers say this reveals evidence of a kind of bee ‘culture’”.

Queen Mary University London clearly has an affinity with bumblebees. In 2017, BBC News reported that “a species of bumblebee is proving that, despite having a brain the size of a poppy seed, they can also play football…” A link to the article is available here.


There are plenty of other insects that can quite easily be mistaken for bees: hoverflies, wasps, sawflies, and more. One particular example, described by the Natural History Museum as “a tiny, fluffy, flying narwhale” can be found flying now: the Bee-Fly. Although it resembles a bee, it is in fact a fly (it has only one pair of wings, unlike bees which have two). What it does have though, and what makes it look so distinctive, is a long lance-like appendage carried out permanently in front. To some this resembles a sting, but it is actually a proboscis which it uses to probe deeply into flowers for nectar, flowers that many other bees cannot reach.

Like the Mason Bee described earlier, a female Bee-Fly has its own idiosyncratic approach to egg-laying. She moves her abdomen to coat her eggs in sand and gravel before flying over a solitary bee’s nest where she hovers and flicks out the eggs, hoping they will land and hatch near or, ideally, in the nest. On hatching, Bee-Fly larvae parasitise the bee’s nest, eating both bee grubs and the pollen left for them; as part of this process, they go through a second metamorphosis, which is very rare in insects.

You can find out more about these fascinating creatures here .https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/bee-flies-cute-bee-mimic-with-a-dark-side.html

Chris Overton

Tree Planting exercise at East Bridgford

A farmer in East Bridgford who is interested in improving biodiversity: They are planning on planting a new 6 acre wood on the 6th and 7th January. 9am-3pm.  East Bridgford. Volunteers are needed to help with the and very welcome to drop in or go home at any point. Bring a spade if you have one. Refreshments available ….. tea, coffee, cake.

If you let us know if you can support this initiative please contact Springdale Farm, East Bridgford.  07592233575. Harvey Pickford. Gives us an idea of boots on the ground!

Grizzled Skipper Project 2023/2024 Work Party Programme

Sunday 19th November – Granby Disused Railway – hay raking/ maintenance of egg laying sites.

Tuesday 28th November – Saxondale Disused Railway Spur – hay raking/ scrub clearance.

Sunday 10th December – Grange Farm, Normanton on Soar – scrub clearance/ bare earth creation.


Sunday 14th January – GCRN, Lime Sidings to Barnstone Tunnel – maintenance of egg laying sites/ scrub clearance.

Tuesday 23rd January – Flawborough Triangle – scrub regrowth clearance & treatment/ bare earth creation.

Sunday 4th February – Newstead & Annesley Country Park – scrub clearance.

Tuesday 20th February – GCRN, Rushcliffe Halt & Cutting – maintenance of egg laying sites/ scrub clearance.

Sunday 3rd March – Flawborough Footpath – scrub clearance and scallop creation/ bare earth creation.

Tuesday 12th March – Grange Farm, Normanton on Soar – scrub clearance/ bare earth creation.

If you want more details contact Christopher.Jackson@nottscc.gov.uk Notts Biodiversity Action Group Officer

East Midlands Railway and Notts Wildlife Trust working together for local wildlife

Railway stations and wildlife are two things you would not normally link together, but East Midlands Parkway is different. In a rural location, the station and car park are surrounded by over 11ha of wildlife habitat, part of a fantastic wildlife corridor linking with the River Soar and surrounding countryside.

East Midlands Railway’s Parkway Station group and Notts Wildlife Trust are looking for volunteers to help protect and develop this unique location and its wildlife.  More details can be downloaded here.

If you are interested in helping, please contact Ben Driver at bdriver@nottswt.co.uk

DaNES Insect Show 2023

Join Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Entomology Society for their 2023 Insect Show – ‘A celebration of Insects’. It takes place on Saturday 11th November at the NTU Brackenhurst Campus, from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm. Free entry.

Click here for details

Rushcliffe Borough Council Free Tree Scheme

is open to all residents. So far this year some 700 trees have been allocated, but RBC still have some 300 that can be handed out. (Hazel, Crab Apple, Wild Cherry and Rowan). The final date for applications is 30th Sept and the trees will be despatched between Dec 2023 to Feb 2024. For more details go to https://www.rushcliffe.gov.uk/news-area/free-tree-scheme-returns-for-rushcliffe-residents/

Rushcliffe has been running this scheme now for some six years and circa 10,000 have been distributed in that time. Parish Councils can also apply for up to 10 trees (I think) under a different version of the scheme.

Rushcliffe Nature Conservation Volunteer Forum 2023

The Forum is scheduled for Sat 7th Oct at Upper Saxondale Community Hall 11.15 am to 4 pm  (lunch provided). The overall theme for the day will be Community Action for Wildlife, plus an update on the Rushcliffe Nature Conservation Strategy, followed by a visit to the Saxondale Nature Reserve and Orchard.
This is open to anyone engaged with wildlife and nature conservation in Rushcliffe  so please forward it onto other membefrs of your group.
Look forward to seeing you there.
Gordon Dyne –  Chair RNCSIG

2023 Celebrating Rushcliffe Awards

Nominations are now open for the 2023 Celebrating Rushcliffe Awards, which celebrates the Borough’s wonderful volunteers, businesses, clubs, organisations, environmentalists, sports clubs and athletes, and the best of its health and wellbeing and food and drink sectors. From our point of view the important category is

  • Environmental Group or Project of the Year – Acknowledging individuals, organisations or projects that have an impact in making Rushcliffe a ‘greener’ place. This could include promoting nature conservation, reducing waste, improving energy efficiency, water conservation or improving quality of life for the people of the Borough

You can make nominations via this link https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CRAs2023  

You can also make your nomination by phone by calling 0115 914 8555, Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm. Please note the deadline for nominations is 11pm on Sunday 15th October.


Wilwell Walk Rescheduled

NOTE this walk is recscheduled to Sat 12th Aug – Wilwell Farm Cutting in Late Summer – A stroll round the reserve to look at the sites natural history with Gordon the Warden. Meet 10 am at the Wilwell car park on the left, just before the ring road bridge on the B680 between Ruddington and Wilford (look out for reserve sign). Post Code for approx location NG2 7UT, Just Three Words = home, news, fuzzy Need more info contact gordon.dyne@gmail.com

Strange World of Fungi

Listened to an episode of “The Infinite Monkey Cage” (BBC Radio Four) about Fungi (listen to it on BBC Sounds). But the edited highlights are

The earliest fossils of fungi date to 1 bya, therefore Fungi seem to have been around before plants and animals had eveolved, Indeed Fungi are held to be closer to animals than plants and there are an estimated 3 to 6 million species on the planet (barely 10% have been documented). Fungi evolved in the icean and may have moved onto the land alongside plants, indeed may have made it possible for plants to exist on land. There are plants dated to 425 mya that show fungal connections. Fossil fungi have been found the size of a house.

The DNA of fungi is as diverse as that of a Flea and an Elephant and fungolgists have somewhat implausibly identified 23,000 different ways fungi might go about reproducing ! A distinguishing feature of Fungi is that they put themselves into their food, whereas plants and animals put food into themselves.

I have mentioned before how fungi can be active predators by setting traps and “hot pursuit, but to these we can add “harpooning” nematodes and poisoned baits. Alternatively there are parasitic fungi that take control of an insect hosts, in effect the zombie insect becoming part of the fungus.