Tag Archives: Featured

July in pictures

Nature has continued to enjoy the English summer – even if July’s weather has been a bit mixed at times.

The early hot weather has meant that a lot of species have been in abundance this year.

The ruddy darter in our main picture was out in all its spectacular glory at Swaddywell and proved a great image for Brian Lawrence to capture.

Each month we select photographs taken by our Facebook members and posted on our site. They might not be technically perfect – but they sum up the events of that month. Here are some other images from July.

After the lockdown caused by Coronavirus our work parties started to get back to some normality – although restricted in numbers and doing work with socially distancing precautions in place.

Work party, Etton Maxey, July 2020
Photo: Keren Thomson

Across all of our reserves there was plenty of nature to capture. This scene at Swaddywell was photographed by Ian Wilson.

Swaddywell, July 2020
Photo: Ian Wilson

Here are just some of the photos taken by our members and supporters.

Chalkhill blue, Barnack Hills and Holes Photo: Steve Lonsdale
Common Century at Etton Maxey
Photo: Martin Parsons
Elephant Hawk Moth, Torpel
Photo: Malcolm Hillier
Green Veined white, Castor Hanglands
Photo: Ian Wilson
Peacock, Castor Hanglands
Photo: Matthew Webb
Poplar Grey moth, Etton Maxey
Photo: Bob Titman

 

 

 

Nature gets helping hand

Etton Maxey, July 2020 Photo: Brian Lawrence

Work has started on flailing the meadows at a number of Langdyke’s reserves to ensure we maintain a wide spectrum of outcomes for nature.

Although to some the work looks heavy-handed, the maintenance is crucial if we are to maintain the areas for future seasons.

Tractors have been out and about in recent days on many of our meadow areas.  Although they are grazed for many months by the Langdyke sheep they still need some extra heavy attention from time to time.

In a post on Facebook, responding to minor criticism of the timing of the flailing and its impact on Skylark nests, ecological consultant and botanist Sarah Lambert said: “The grass cutting looks damaging at first sight but if you continually cut grass late in the year it becomes dominated by rank species and you lose many of the smaller wildflowers including orchids.

“Many of the road verges round Peterborough have lost a lot of their botanical interest because they are regularly cut in September, even though the cuttings are removed.

“Cutting part of a site early helps to maintain botanical diversity, while leaving areas of untouched grassland for invertebrates and nesting birds. Interestingly, some of the best sites I know for skylark are hay meadows normally cut in June. Skylarks nest on the ground, in vegetation which is 20–50 cm high. This vegetation must be open enough to give the birds easy access to the ground. As long as no cutting takes place between early April and end of May, skylark populations shouldn’t be impacted (RSPB) and in future years the sward should be more suitable for nesting.”

Trustee Brian Lawrence has been out and about at the Etton Maxey reserve to capture photographic evidence of the result of the actions.

Etton Maxey, July 2020 Photo: Brian Lawrence
This area has been ploughed by David Cowcill to encourage wild flowers at, Etton Maxey, July 2020 Photo: Brian Lawrence
Plenty of visitors to Etton Maxey. July 2020 Photo: Brian Lawrence

 

 

Project to help wellbeing

 

 

 

 

 

Langdyke members are being urged to  consider taking part in a citizen science project that supports the fact that engagement in nature is good for your wellbeing.

Trustee David Alvey is urging you to bring the project to the attention of others. with the aim of discovering the importance of nature-based activities on our wellbeing.

There is more about the  project – called Nature up close and personal: a wellbeing experiment – here  www.ceh.ac.uk/natureupclose

https://www.ceh.ac.uk/news-and-media/news/new-experiment-tests-link-between-nature-and-wellbeing

During this period of lockdown, many of us have learned (or re-discovered)  the importance of engaging with  nature to our happiness and  wellbeing.

But how do different types of nature activities affect us? To help answer this question, join in with hundreds across Britain to take part in the research project.

You’ll learn about some simple nature-based activities, get to experience nature up close and personal, and answer a few questions about your experiences. So, whether you’re a nature nerd or nature usually passes you by – this one’s for you!

Together we can discover how our wellbeing is affected by noticing and connecting with nature. Take part today: www.ceh.ac.uk/natureupclose#CloseToNature.

All the activities are suitable for adults or for families to do together, but the organisers are asking only adults to take part in the wellbeing survey.

The project is open for the next 6 weeks, so anyone can join in at any time. People taking part will be asked to do a simple nature-based activity five times over the week they take part, and let organisers know how it impacted them.

Please pass on the link to anyone you know who would be interested in participating and let David know if you do join in at david.alvey@langdyke.org.uk.

Note the deadline is 25th August

Our wellbeing page is here

 

How to … attract insects

In the latest of our How to … series of articles – in which we look at ways of making your gardens more attractive to nature – Langdyke volunteer Malcolm Holley explains how to build simple structures out of rubbish to attract insects to your wildlife garden …

 

There are many ways to make homes for bugs like woodlice, centipedes, millipedes, spiders and so on.

You can go for a really deluxe version and create a complex bug hotel.  But there a simpler ways of building one as well.

Idea 1: Just use some old wood

A pile of old wood will rot away and provide an ideal home for all sorts of bugs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Use old timber which has not been treated with chemicals and/or old logs  and tree stumps.
  • Find a place in the shade but where it can get wet.
  • Stack the wood in a pile so that it will not topple over.

To inspect, carefully remove logs to identify the bugs, then replace the wood carefully.

Idea 2: Use old bricks

A stack  of bricks could attract lots of bugs and spiders which prey on these.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get some old bricks, preferably those with recesses or holes through them.  If they have broken edges, so much the better as these create passage ways in the pile.

  • Stack them face down in a pile on a flat piece of ground.
  • Stack each layer in a different direction so they bind safely together and will not topple over.

Some bees, like mason bees and leaf cutting bees, do not live in colonies but make individual nests for their eggs.  They  prefer  old masonry and walls or holes in wood.

Idea 3: Make a simple bee house

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Cut a 6 inch tube from and old piece of drain pipe,
  • Pass a strong piece of twine or string through the tube and tie it into a loop to hang  up the bee house.
  • Cut old garden canes into 6 inch lengths and pack them into the tube. Hammer in pieces of split cane to wedge the canes in tightly.
  • Hang your bee house in a sunny place on a wall or shed. 

You can tell when the bees are using your bee house as they seal the holes with leaves to protect the eggs and young bees.

Idea 4: Use an old log

Another way to attract these bees is as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Take an old log or post about a foot long.
  • Drill lots of holes of different sizes into it.
  • Hang it up on a wall or shed and watch.

Idea 5: Bigger could be best

More complex bug hotels can be made from 4 pallets to attract a whole range of bugs and maybe reptiles. The hotel can be made in layers with different types of materials in each layer to attract different creatures as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Select a flat piece of ground. Place a brick in each corner where the bottom pallet will go.  Make sure the pallet will sit on the bricks without rocking.

  • Remove the pallet and place old bricks, broken tiles and plant pots in the area between the bricks.  This will be the “Basement” and will attract all types of bugs that like damp places and maybe reptiles like frogs or newts.
  • Place the pallet on the corner bricks with the top of the pallet facing down like a floor to make the “first floor”.  Fill this with old and rotten wood and branches, the more decayed the better. This will attract wood lice, beetles , spiders.
  • Place the second pallet face down on top of the first.  Fill this with old garden canes and other sticks and branches. The canes might attract leaf cutting bees and the sticks could attract all sorts of beetles.
  • Place the third pallet on top of the second floor and fill this with all sorts of plant and leaf litter.  This will attract earwigs, centipedes, millipedes and beetles.
  • Place the last pallet on top of the third floor and fill this with fir cones and dry sticks.  It is meant to be a place where insects can spend the winter.
  • Get some old garden compost/fertiliser bags and tack these on top to make a roof.

As an option, you can place clods of earth on top to anchor the plastic and provide another habitat for insects and beetles.

Whichever method you use your bug hotel will be ready for your first guests.

 The bug hotel in our main picture is in the garden of Caroline Cade in the Dogsthorpe area of Peterborough. 

Annual review published

Langdyke has 72 bird boxes positioned across its reserves;  there are eight types of orchid growing during a year at Swaddywell Pit and the Trust has planted 79 heritage fruit trees which are  growing in the community orchard at Etton.

Just a handful of fascinating facts included in the 2019 Langdyke Countryside Trust annual review, sent out recently to members.

In other areas of the report:

  • Chair Richard Astle looks at the many threats to nature in the area
  • There’s a round-up of happenings in our natural world during 2019; and
  • We take a special look at Operation Turtle Dove

Becoming a member of the Trust means you automatically receive a copy of the review each year along with a monthly newsletter of events and happenings and special access to Langdyke events. There are details of how to join on the website here.

You can read a copy of the review – which we are making widely available this year – by clicking here.