Feed the Butterflies – Planning for the spring

Butterflies are not just beautiful, they are important for our future: without them and fellow pollinators like bees, hoverflies and other insects, there will be no food. That was one of the key messages Max and Christine Maughan shared in our November Wildlife Talk, ‘Gardening for Butterflies’.

The total area of gardens in the UK is greater than all nature reserves combined, so gardens that offer sources of pollen and nectar are a vital resource, and the increasing number of front gardens being paved for parking mean we should actively plant the rest to encourage butterflies and other insects.

Supported by many of Christine’s images, we learned about the many butterfly species we can attract to our gardens through the year: overwintering Red Admirals and Brimstones early in the year; Holly Blues and Orange Tips in the spring; the ‘Whites’ (Large, Small and Green-veined); the Skippers (Large, Small and Essex); the summer ‘Browns’ (Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper and Ringlet), and the beautiful Small Coppers and Common Blues. Each year in their Derby garden and allotment, Max and Christine record up to 18 different species.

But what to plant and grow? Scent, colour and open flowers are key, and Max and Christine described some of the many garden cultivars and wildflowers we can all grow, to give a flowering season from late winter to late autumn that, with a little effort, will attract butterflies and many other insects into our gardens.

Thanks to Max and Christine for a thoroughly entertaining and informative talk.

Join us on Thursday 2nd December for ‘On safari in South Africa’ with Barbara Myer

For full details of the talks programme, and how to join us, please go to www.southnottswildlife.org.uk/content/?page_id=234

Remote mower helps manage species-rich grassland in Rushcliffe Borough.

This piece was taken from the Notts Biodiversity Action Group web site.

Over the last 3 years, Rushcliffe Borough Council has been working with the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust to manage areas of species-rich grassland that are difficult to access and as a result, tend to get overlooked. All these areas are within the borough of Rushcliffe and include steep slopes, which are unsuitable for volunteer groups or areas that are remote and inaccessible for machinery. To overcome this, a remote-controlled mower and brush cutter have been used on sites including the embankments of Bingham Linear Park, sections of The Hook Nature Reserve and Greythorne Dyke open space. To date, 14 sites across the borough of Rushcliffe have benefited from this work.

To ensure species-rich grassland maintains its biodiversity interest, it is important to remove some of the annual growth to prevent the site becoming too enriched. This also prevents scrub encroaching and creates open areas within the grassland to allow a diverse flora to be maintained. The work with the remote mower enables the maintenance of these diverse and increasingly rare sites which tend to support rare and unusual wildlife; one example is that of the Grizzled Skipper butterfly, a Nottinghamshire LBAP species that favours open habitat. The removal of scrub and the creation of scrapes and glades in sites such as Bingham Linear Park, has provided suitable habitat for the butterfly to thrive. Bill Bacon from Friends of Bingham Linear Park stated he was “particularly pleased at the amount of additional work that the remote mower allows the group to do on the site

Think of the Hedgehogs

A local member recently found a Hedgehog trapped in a rat trap. at the back of a fence in Gamston. A legal trap, but obviously not the target. I understand people need to deal with rats, but if you don’t set the the trap properly, it will catch other species.

He felt this is the kind of thing that should be brought to a wider audience as its an issue of education/ training, but not quite sure who or how would be best to do that.

Rushcliffe No Mow Areas Survey Results

Readers of our posts will recall the appeal for people to respond to Rushcliffes survey on their No Mow trial on selected parts of grassland on RBC land. Of the 398 responses to the survey, only 3.5% negative, but 66% totally in favour.

RBC plan to continue next year at the six sites, hopefully extending the scheme a bit on those sites, but also to additional locations. Basically the designated areas will be managed by an annual cut & remove, with no use of herbicides. RBC is also reviewing it`s herbicide usage policy more generally.

But it would also be worth talking to your parish councils and ask if they could look at doing something similar on land they own. Perhaps a corner of a playing field left to grow over the summer or part of a village green, indeed any greenspace. It is not going to change the world, BUT it is a small contribution providing a little more good wildlife habitat for grasses, flowers and insects. So always worth doing.

Rushcliffe Community Awards

Every year Rushcliffe Borough Council runs a Community Awards to recognize people and groups who make a significant contribution to the local area. This year in the environment category Wild Things Kenworth have been nominated for their work to make Keyworth more hedgehog friendly.

If you live in Keyworth and want to make your garden more hedgehog friendly, check out their Facebook page and in particular how they are working to provide inter garden links to provide freedom of movement. https://business.facebook.com/wildthingskeyworth/?__xts__[0]=68.arcvuaep4l49x4rz

In the “Pride of Rushcliffe” category Gordon Dyne has been nominated for his contribution to nature conservation volunteering in the Borough.

Grizzeled Skipper Project

On Sunday 21st November there will be a Grizzled Skipper volunteer work party at East Leake Cutting on the Great Central Railway. The work party will be seeking to maintain an existing network of open areas along the railway cutting to benefit the butterfly and other invertebrates. If time allows we will also be looking to create a new scalloped clearing within the cutting to compliment previous work undertaken by yourselves.
If you’d like to join them to help with this work then please feel free to contact christopher.jackson@nottscc.gov.uk

Bat Hotel at Bunny Wood

British Gypsum are keen to support local wildlife. That’s why they are working in collaboration with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust to create a purpose-built ‘bat hotel.’
Our new hotel is located in Bunny Old Wood in Nottingham, close to our East Leake site, and will assist in bringing more bats to the area.
The hotel can’t wait to welcome its new guests, but first, it needs a name! The winning name will feature on a plaque next to the hotel, which visitors can see when they stop by!
To suggest a name, just fill out our online form: https://bg.social/1B. Or, share your proposed name by tagging us or by using the hashtag #BatHotelName
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Grizzeled Skipper Work Parties are back

After last winter, without any volunteer work parties, I am very pleased to tell you all that we are back up and running and hoping to get the counties grizzled skipper sites back into tip top condition in time for the 2022 flight season.

Below are the dates that have been arranged and the sites on which we will be undertaking the work.

Sunday 31st October 2021 – GCRN, Lime Sidings to Barnstone Tunnel – hay raking & removal

Wednesday 17th November 2021 – Grange Farm, Normanton on Soar – scrub clearance

Sunday 21st November 2021 –  GCRN, East Leake Station Cutting – scrub clearance and egg laying site maintenance

Wednesday 1st December 2021 – Granby Disused Railway – scrub clearance and egg laying site maintenance

Sunday 12th December 2021 – GCRN, Lime Sidings to Barnstone Tunnel – scrub clearance and egg laying site maintenance

Sunday 23rd January 2022 – Flawborough Triangle – scrub clearance

Wednesday 2nd February 2022 – Saxondale Disused Railway Spur – scrub clearance

Sunday 13th February 2022 – Flawborough Footpath – scrub clearance

Wednesday 23rd February 2022 – Staunton Quarry – scrub clearance

Wednesday 2nd March 2022 – Newstead Old Coal Stocking Yard – scrub clearance.

(all work parties will start at 10am and will finish between 3pm and 3.30pm)

You will notice that the first work party will soon be upon.  On Sunday 31st October (next Sunday) we will be heading across to the Great Central Railway at East Leake and working on the cutting just to the north of Barnstone Tunnel. The grassland in the cutting was cut recently and the main aim of the work party will be to clear the arisings and also to maintain the ballast piles that we have created in the cutting and that have proved to be ideal sites for egg laying for this butterfly species.  If you are able to join us next weekend than please let me know and I will send you meeting instructions early next week.  christopher.jackson@nottscc.gov.uk

Chris Jackson – Nottinghamshire Biodiversity Action Group

We All Need Access to Greenspace

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trusts and the Wildlife Trusts movement as a whole  are calling for people’s access to nature to be set in law!! 🧑‍⚖️
We want:
🙂A planning system that improves up people’s access to nature
🦔The Planning Bill to make sure that there is more space for nature
🌍Planning reforms that deliver the Government’s target to halt species decline by 2030

Bat Boxes at Cotgrave Country Park

Cotgrave CP Friends Group were successful in receiving funding from Rushcliffe B.C. to purchase Bat Boxes to put up in the Country Park to provide nesting and hibernation sites for the bats we know fly through the park. These have been made by Notts Bat Group volunteers, a great local charity who have run Bat Walks for us this year.
NBG will be helping our volunteers to put up about 30 boxes in the woodland in the park this Sunday 10 October starting from 1000am. If you want to hold a ladder , lift a box, or are just curious then why not pop down and see us?
All the boxes will be numbered and then can be surveyed by NBG trained recorders over the coming years.
Our Friends Group will also be putting up our Gazebo on the “Fun Day Field” alongside Ginger and Blue Coffee. Come and talk to us and why not become a member of our group to help us do more great things to preserve and improve the Park.