The whole thing

 “It is that range of biodiversity that we must care for – the whole thing – rather than just one or two stars.”   David Attenborough

Our park doesn’t have snow leopards or white rhinos. Our rarities are small and fragile: water voles, pondweeds, dragonflies zipping past so suddenly they make you jump, a visiting marsh tit, a linnet singing in the trees, little bottom-feeding fish. Then there are the hundreds of flowering plants, thousands of invertebrates and probably tens of thousands of species of fungi hidden away where we can’t see them.

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Wednesday work party

by Ian Bushell

The weather was again kind to the working party: dry but not too hot.  Another good turn out, just missing Sarah and Alan who are on holiday. 

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Crane Flies

There are hundreds of species of crane fly in this country and almost all of them go by the name of daddy long legs. The differences between species can be microscopically small but we think this specimen photographed in the reserve is either a common European crane fly (Tipula paludosa) or a marsh crane fly, (T. oleracea).

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One for sorrow, two for joy…

There are several families of magpies in the reserve. This year’s crop are, as yet, short-tailed, loud- mouthed and clumsy, hanging out in gangs and still learning to fly properly. But, despite their dramatic black and white beauty, their reputation is poor.

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Eurasian collared dove

Collared doves (Streptopelia decaocto) bred in Britain for the first time in 1955, in Norfolk. Within 20 years they had colonised every county in the British Isles, and had even reached Shetland and the Outer Hebrides.

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It’s garden-tidy-up time.

Keep a look out for hibernating amphibians as you tidy up your garden ready for winter. Frogs, toads and newts will find sheltered places to hibernate in hedge bottoms, compost heaps, under stones and in log piles and are best not disturbed. Take particular care if you are planning to clear out a pond: frogs and newts will sometimes overwinter in the mud at the bottom.

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Christopher’s bench

There is a new bench by the pond, dedicated to the memory of Christopher Kinsey, the son of Rich and Rosie Kinsey. The bench of seasoned English oak was designed, made and carved by Christopher’s brother, Steve; he and Rich installed it themselves last week.

Our condolences go to the Kinsey family with our thanks for this beautiful new seat and its simple message in these troubled times: Hope.

Oak lutestring

During last week’s moth trapping in Village Green, Ian and Hugo identified an oak lutestring (Cymatophorima diluta), a UK Biodiversity Action Plan Priority Species, classified as scarce and local. This is the thirteenth BAP priority species of Lepidoptera identified in the reserve: the hard work we put into our woodland habitat is paying off!

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More about acorns…

…and squirrels.

Here is a video, taken from BBC Earth’s Spy In The Wild series, about squirrels caching acorns.

The header picture was taken in the park by DKG

Cats

Usually we would welcome predators into the reserve; they are a sign of a healthy ecosystem. We have resident stoats and weasels, foxes and badgers and are happy to know that our ecosystem can support them. Domestic cats, like this one photographed early in the morning in the woods in Village Green, are a very different proposition.

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A common field grasshopper (Chorthippus brunneus) photographed by Ian Bushell in the park this week. This is a species that thrives among fined-leaved grasses, a sure sign that our policy of reducing the fertility and thus widening the biodiversity of our fields is working.

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