Pollinating early blossom

Insect hotel in apple tree

Insect hotel in apple tree

Our wildlife gardening articles highlight how important it is to provide places to hibernate over winter for the many types of insects beneficial to our gardens. And many of you are no doubt using ‘insect hotels’ of one sort or another for this purpose. If you have fruit trees or bushes, especially ones that produce blossom early in the spring, then you might like to try putting small insect hotels in your trees – as shown in this picture – so that pollinators will be ready and waiting as soon as the weather warms up and the blossom buds open!

Big Butterfly Count 2016

Common blue butterfly (© Jenny Craig)

It’s summer so it’s time to get out into gardens, parks and countryside to look for butterflies and count them for this year’s Big Butterfly Count! These annual surveys are run by Butterfly Conservation and map the distribution of butterflies and moths in the UK to inform us about changes in the environment. Doing a count at one location only takes 15 minutes, then you can add your results online and see them appear on the map! The survey began on 15 July and runs until 7 August (counts can be submitted online up till the end of August). This year’s survey is important to indicate how butterflies have been affected by a run of cooler and wetter than average weather. See Big Butterfly Count website for more info, butterfly id chart, results map and free smartphone app…

Keep our bees buzzing!

Bee feeding and pollinating

Bee feeding and pollinating

Butterfly feeding and collecting pollen

Butterfly feeding and collecting pollen

Insect pollinators are vital for fruit crops – from apples to blackberries – commercial and in the wild – and for our garden and wild flowers to set seed. Some fifteen hundred species of insects act as pollinators in the British Isles, including various bees, wasps, hoverflies, butterflies, moths and beetles. Most have suffered serious declines in numbers since the second world war; for instance, it is estimated that at least twenty of our native bee species have become extinct during this period! These declines are likely to be linked to changes in our landscape and patterns of land use since the 1940s. In early November 2014 the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs launched its National Pollinator Strategy “to protect pollinating insects which support our food production and the diversity of our environment” – planned actions to reverse the decline of the last 70 years. If you have a garden or allotment you can help:

  • Simply grow more flowers! Native species are best and plants which flower early and late in the season are particularly helpful to insects emerging from or preparing for hibernation.
  • Leave at least one patch of your garden to grow wild. This might look a bit scruffy to you, but it will provide habitat for your pollinating insects to breed, lay eggs and raise their young.
  • Cut your lawn less often and let the grass grow longer to allow nectar-rich plants such as clover to flower and feed pollinators.
  • Miner bee leaving nest burrow

    Miner bee leaving nest burrow

    Avoid disturbing places where pollinating insects may be nesting or hibernating. Most apart from honey bees live in the wild and hibernate or nest in holes in trees, walls, rotting wood or by burrowing into loose soil – careless garden tidying in winter can destroy next spring’s pollinators!

  • Avoid using pesticides. Check your garden regularly so you can spot problems while they can be controlled by physical methods – hoeing; removing infected plants or parts of plants. If you have to use a pesticide keep quantity used and area covered to a minimum.

See the Bees’ Needs website for more on this topic.



July is a mixed month. As we come into high summer birds are quieter and less obvious, as they raise their broods, but there is always the chance of seeing the first migrants flying through as they leave for their winter grounds. July marks the start of the end of the wildflower season, but there is still plenty to see and, importantly,   plenty for insects to feed on. A wide range of hoverflies, dragonflies, damselflies and various bugs and beetles should be present, and all of the summer butterflies should be on the wing, including ‘His Imperial Majesty’, the Purple Emperor.

To find out more of what nature may have to offer in the coming month, read our guide for July.

Why not make the most of the – hopefully – good weather, and visit local wildlife sites around Rushcliffe? Click here for some useful links to nature reserves in Rushcliffe, both NWT and Friends of sites, and some other sites outside of Rushcliffe.

 Get closer to nature through our organised events

Sat 2nd Jul – Moth Morning at Wilwell Cutting Nature Reserve

View in detail the contents of last night’s moth trap with Paul Dulwich. Meeting 7 am.  NUMBERS ARE LIMITED to allow people to get a good view of the night’s haul. Contact Gordon Dyne (gordon.dyne@gmail.com) to reserve a slot.

Bioblitz 2022 at Rushcliffe Country Park Saturday 2nd July evening

Bats walk and moth trapping

Bioblitz 2022 at Rushcliffe Country Park Sunday 3rd July 10am to 5pm

Do you own survey or accompany in walks and talks various experts in birds, plants, insects etc.

For more detailed information.  Click here

Wednesday 13th July      Evening walk round Dewberry Hill Nature Reserve at Radcliffe on Trent

Meet 6.30 pm at the entrance on Cropwell Road (going out of Radcliffe), parking on the left about 150m beyond the traffic lights up the hill. For more information contact Gordon Dyne (gordon.dyne@gmail.com)

Sunday 17th July     Bingham Linear Park  Nature Walk

Walk to see what is about – insects, birds, flowers. Wear clothing suitable for the weather and stout shoes/boots as the path is rough. The path can also get quite overgrown. Bring a drink if hot and a hat. Meet at top of steps by Tithby Road Bridge, Bingham 1000 to 1300.

Sunday 17th July   Gotham Open Gardens

1030 to 1230 Gotham Nature Reserve (SSSI)   –   Family activities

1300 to 1800 Gardens open

For more information click here

Sunday 24th July Wildflower Walk at Cotgrave Country Park

Walk in the park and explore our wonderful wildflowers!

10am to 12 noon. Meet at Hollygate Lane Car Park at 10 am. No dogs please! 15 participants (Children aged 10 plus welcome if accompanied by an adult). Adults £2 Children Free.

Booking at www.Ticketsource.co.uk/the-friends-of-cotgrave-country-park.


After this year’s AGM, Northern Nature Recovery Manager Janice Bradley gave an excellent talk on Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s exciting new Beaver Project at the Idle Valley Nature Reserve.

The talk was recorded, and is now available to view via Eventbrite. Viewing the talk costs £3 (incl. booking fee), and all funds raised will be donated to the Beaver Project. The talk will be available on YouTube until the end of September. For more information, including a link to Evenbrite, click here.

Work Parties

Our local nature reserves rely on volunteers to help maintain them, and organise regular work parties.  July’s dates are listed 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


Margaret’s Meadow

Erin McDaid unveils the commemorative plaque

Erin McDaid unveils the commemorative plaque

On the morning of Saturday 10th May 2014, over twenty of Margaret Price’s friends met at  Wilwell Cutting Nature Reserve to commemorate her lifelong commitment to Nottinghamshire’s wildlife and to mark the naming of Margaret’s Meadow in her honour. As Margaret was a founder-member of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust it seemed fitting that this commemoration also formed part of the NWT’s 50th Anniversary celebrations. Full report and pictures…


Spring newsletter available

Our latest local group newsletter, for spring 2014, is now available to read online or download as-printed. Features include: an appreciation of the life of Dennis Heffernan; a well-illustrated review of Bingham’s butterflies; this year’s spring fair; the future of our newsletter.

Skylarks planning application

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust have submitted a Planning Application for proposed work at Skylarks Nature Reserve, which is to integrate the newly-acquired land with the original reserve and to make habitat improvements. The planning application number is 14/00706/FUL and the plans are on Rushcliffe Borough Council’s planning website at www.document1.co.uk/blueprint/ Please take a look at them and feel free to comment if you wish – hopefully in support!

We have recieved notification that the application has been passed by the council, so another milestone for the project has been passed and the winter months should see some major engineering works at Blotts Pit as some parts of the site are re landscaped to create wet meadows, ponds and reedbeds.

Successful AGM

We held our local group Annual General Meeting and Talk in West Bridgford on Thursday 24th April. The newly-elected South Notts committee is: Gordon Dyne (Chair), Valerie Holt (Vice Chair), Jackie Glenn (Secretary), Neil Pinder (Treasurer), Margie Richards, Geoff Fyles, Neil Glenn, Judith Booth, Graham Leigh-Browne and Cally Martin. The following documents presented to the meeting are available:

Rushcliffe Wildlife Watch

This group organises wildlife-related activities for young people (age 8–13), meeting on the second Saturday of each month (except when this clashes with holiday weekends!) at The Environment Centre, Rushcliffe Country Park. Next meeting: 10th May, then 4th June and 12th July. Wildlife Watch is the junior branch of The Wildlife Trusts and the UK’s leading environmental action club for kids, see wildlifewatch.org.uk for more…