Coming to Fruition

Covered in pinkish white flowers, bramble patches are full of promise – blackberries are on their way. It’s one of the first shrubs monitored by Nature’s Calendar* to fruit, and towards the end of July and throughout summer, we’ll be enjoying blackberry crumble! While you’re checking to see if the fruit is ripe, you’ll be able to spot a whole host of insects enjoying the nectar; but a bramble patch is home, food, and protection for a much wider rangeRead more

Butterfly, bird and budburst bonanza

Fluttering butterflies, feeding on flowers conjure up images of warm spring and long summer days, and at this time of year four of the butterflies monitored by *Nature’s Calendar, will start to appear. Seeing them creates a sense of optimism, which is heart-warming when you think about the different ways they’ve made it through the winter. The orange-brown comma and the lemony-yellow brimstone hibernated in sheltered spaces where their underwing patterns camouflaged them perfectly. For the comma that’s in treeRead more

Frogspawn February

Frogspawn is another signal that winter is drawing to an end. But, is it early and what will happen when, or if, there is a cold snap? The characteristic semolina like jelly of frogspawn is laid in shaded, shallow ponds, surrounded by plants. With the recent heavy rain, the two main streams on the reserve are creating pools which are good for frogspawn and as part of winter management works reserve managers have been leaving dead and fallen trees overRead more

Dozing Dormice (Part 2)

In our earlier Dozing Dormouse blog (Part 1) we explored the usual routes to monitoring dormice either through licensed surveying or through signs of presence – from long empty summer nests – to discarded dormouse dinners of gnawed nuts.  National Nature Reserves (NNRs) were set up to both protect habitats, species and geology and to be outdoor laboratories.  Science and research continue to be a core objective as part of today’s NNR conservation strategy and therefore dormice have been the focusRead more

Dormice Dozing (Part 1)

Whilst the trees in the woods appear to be standing still, waiting for spring to arrive, buried within the leaf litter one of our most iconic native mammals has also put its life on hold, until spring arrives. The size of a thumb, our native hazel dormouse, Muscardinus avellanarius, is a mostly arboreal woodland species that hibernates at ground level in a nest made from local materials during the winter months. Photoperiod – the ratio of light to dark inRead more

New Year: A Reflection On Changes

It’s a new year, with new plans and resolutions, the time of year where we think about changes we can make to ensure this year is the best one yet. Holly and ivy, evergreen plants, are symbols of new life, said by some to offer protection from entities that may wish us harm going into this new year.  In their natural woodland home, they play other more complex roles. You may have noticed, that they too have been impacted byRead more