The Wildlife Wheel is getting old. The weathered and cracked wood is supporting a whole landscape of lichens that are colouring in the carvings.

Dogs and the wetland scrapes

When we planted up the wetland scrapes in Lambrok Meadow, a reader asked why we try to persuade people to keep their dogs out of the scrapes and how dogs can damage biodiversity.

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These are densely packed crustose lichens, on the bark of a young birch tree in Sheepfield Copse. Groups of lichen species are often consistently associated together, forming recognisable communities. It is probable this is a community, containing several species of Arthonia, that grows on smooth barked trees.

Next time you walk through the copse, pause for a closer look at the trunks of the birch trees there.

Bluetit factoid

Most birds can’t create pigments, other than melanin, on their own. This bluetit, high in the park’s canopy, can’t produce the pigment, carotene, that makes his tummy yellow; it comes from pigments in the green caterpillars he eats. The more caterpillars he eats and the brighter his tummy, the more likely he is to attract a mate.

Header picture by DKG; others CC0 from pixabay

Honey bee

If both have survived the winter, there are two feral honey bee colonies in the reserve. Feral bees are an important backwater in the Apis mellifera gene pool, busy adapting to the changing environment rather than to the needs of the beekeeping industry.

In March, our honey bees will be clearing out their nest cavities and working to replenish their depleted honey stocks. Here is a video about the way in which individual bees fit into a workforce of tens of thousands.

Wood anemone

There are wood anemones (Anemone nemorosa) in the copse between Sheep Field and Sleepers, and under oak 5552 in the corner by the central path..

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Tonight’s full moon will be the last of the winter season, the last full moon before the spring equinox. It is called the Worm Moon because it marks the beginning of spring, when the soil warms enough for growth to begin and the earthworms come back to the surface.

Searching for moon in our picture gallery…

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