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
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
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.
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.
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__=68.arcvuaep4l49x4rz
In the “Pride of Rushcliffe” category Gordon Dyne has been nominated for his contribution to nature conservation volunteering in the Borough.