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  • Blog Post: Butterflies - Winging it?

    I’ve always felt that butterflies were show-offs, or maybe even a bit mad! When nearly all other flying insects try to keep a low profile, with a nice plain appearance and speedy movements, butterflies seem to waltz around doing the exact opposite. Like bits of brightly coloured paper caught...
  • Blog Post: Upcoming events - natural animation, insect afternoons, cycling adventures, and late nights....

    Hi everyone, I just wanted to remind you of some of the amazing events that we have coming up! Over the summer we have lots of events for adults and for families. Drop in to Rainham Marshes this summer holidays, to take part in some fabulous family activities! There's something every...
  • Blog Post: Lesser Emperor - what an inapproriate name - Amazing Emperor more like!

    A quick dash to the end of the ramp this afternoon resulted in a new species of dragonfly for me for the reserve after Clive 'Waspy' Watts showed me a tantalising image of a hanging hawker showing restricted blue on the upper abdomen. Thankfully it was still there and posed well after flying...
  • Blog Post: Small creatures, big news!

    Sometimes here at Frampton it is the bigger creatures that get all the limelight. Rare birds always cause a stir, and the recent parade of sandpipers has certainly brought birdwatchers to us. But sometimes we find something a bit unusual on the smaller scale of things. Last weekend, in the moth trap...
  • Blog Post: Why did the caterpillar cross the road?

    A caterpillar mystery has been solved! At the beginning of July, volunteer Neville discovered a mysterious caterpillar crossing the busway track. Unable to identify it, he contacted the Royal Entomological Society who identified the caterpillar as an emperor moth caterpillar, Saturnia pavonia. ...
  • Blog Post: The 30th July - A Day of Two Halves

    And so begins a tale of a long day in the field – quite literally. Saturday morning started gloomy and overcast as I set about getting things sorted for our first event of the day. A Redstart calling loudly as I drove onto site just after seven set me up nicely and by nine the Marshland Discovery...
  • Blog Post: Pantaloons, Mimics and Stripy Blood-letters

    I have been hearing about RSPB Minsmere and its popular Pantaloon Bees on various birding news feeds over the last week and wondered what they were. mmm... I thought... we have something similar with with big hairy pollen collecting legs that I call Hairy Legged Mining Bee... Turns out that they are...
  • Blog Post: Everyone can Give Nature A Home...

    Apologies to April and Joslyn Berry for taking a while to post this but a few weeks ago I bumped into this lovely mum and daughter and young Joslyn was enthusiastically telling me about the amazing (and very simple) things she had done in her garden to create a wonderful variety of homes for the amazing...
  • Blog Post: Butterflies by the bucket load

    What amazing weather we have had this weekend! And it isn't just me that has been appreciating the sunshine - Fen Drayton Lakes is bustling with butterflies! There are 56 different species in Britain and Ireland but there are 250,000 species around the world. They are found in nearly all terrestrial...
  • Blog Post: The big butterfly count 2016 is underway!

    It's a busy time for our friends at Butterfly Conservation. The big butterfly count has started! You can take part anytime between now and 7 August . All you have to do is count butterflies for 15 minutes (dry, sunny weather is best), then send in details of what you've seen via the survey...
  • Blog Post: A sunny morning amble

    With sunshine greeting me when I arrived at work at 0720, I once again headed out with my camera but unlike my Cordite only visit on Tuesday, I managed a full circuit. The Adventure Playground was occupied by a flock of Collared Doves but there was no sign of the Turtle Dove I saw on Tuesday evening...
  • Blog Post: Dance of the Flies

    And continuing the invert theme I now give you one of my favourite little flies - Poecilobothrus nobilitatus - with his pied wings and wing-waving dance off in the fly equivilent of a Black Grouse lek to attract the almost as dapper females... the woodland at Rainham is alive with them at the moment...
  • Blog Post: Time for a lie down

    I timed my walk around the Coast Trail perfectly this afternoon, dodging the showers and spotting some fantastic wildlife. Towards the end of my walk it all got a too much for me and I had to lie down. Well, actually there was a really good reason for lying down in the dunes - and it wasn't for a...
  • Blog Post: Aliens in Bedfordshire?

    Last week I thought I’d found evidence that aliens existed. Walking round the gardens at The Lodge, at lunchtime, I came to a large pond where a number of people were gathered. They were peering at something at the water’s edge; some were taking pictures. Elbowing my way to the front, I saw...
  • Blog Post: Mimics, Hangers On, Blood Letters and some quality Sliming...

    With a bit of warm sunshine the non avian life of RSPB Rainham Marshes has started to become more obvious and accessible and visitors have been having a great time snapping away at everything at crawls, flies, hops, walks and scuttles. Hoverflies have certainly increased with several new species for...
  • Blog Post: Searching for pine hoverflies

    All this week we’ve been celebrating National Insect Week 2016 and to round off the final day RSPB’s Will George gives an insight into surveying a rather rare insect. I've spent the last two weeks in the beautiful Highlands of Scotland on the trail of a rare and enigmatic creature...
  • Blog Post: Hornet or moth?

    A striking-looking creature has caused a stir on an RSPB nature reserve today. It looks like a huge hornet, but on closer inspection - note the furry antennae, small eyes and chunky body - it's actually a moth. A lunar hornet moth, to be precise. The magnificent moth was spotted at RSPB...
  • Blog Post: Insect World

    It is getting well into insect season here on the reserve and all we need now is for the rain to stop for long enoug for the sun to come out and warm our bones and those tough little invert exoskeletons... A few pockets of such warmth have occured since Wednesday (but defintely not today!!!!) and...
  • Blog Post: The birds and the bees (and butterflies and dragonflies)

    As Springwatch draws to a close for another year, the wildlife can once again return to centre stage at Minsmere, and many species are already vying to steal the limelight. Bitterns in particular have been very popular, with one male continuing to parade around in front of Bittern Hide, even booming...
  • Blog Post: Celebrating National Insect Week

    RSPB Scotland is supporting National Insect Week from 20-26 June - a celebration of some of the smaller creatures in our natural world that is organised by the Royal Entomological Society. If you haven't heard of it before, National Insect Week encourages people of all ages to learn more about insects...
  • Blog Post: Monday's magic moment: nature's tiny jewels

    Now's the time to head down to a river, stream or pond near you and watch out for tiny, delicate jewels. Spring is the time when many of our damselflies and dragonflies can be seen. How do you tell the difference between the two? Well, dragonflies are larger than damselflies, and rest with their...
  • Blog Post: Bumper Baby Boom

    Evening all ... firstly apologies for the lack of blog posts from me of late - so much to do and not enough hours in the day... So what has been going on on the wildlife front? Well, spring is on the wane and despite the recent drop in temperature and a cool northerly wind, the marsh is moving...
  • Blog Post: Insects emerge

    The sudden and welcome increase in temperatures has seen the emergence of a good variety of insects over the last few days - as well as the annual emergence of human lower legs as the shorts get their first seasonal airings. At least six species of dragonflies and damselflies have been seen so far...
  • Blog Post: Recent Sightings Strumpshaw Fen 6 May 2016

    Well, that’s a bit more like it! Spring has arrived at last; a week of warm weather and sunny spells. Warblers were particularly evident this week, finally getting a decent amount of weather to advertise their presence through singing. All migrant warblers are in and being seen regularly; lesser...
  • Blog Post: Comings and Goings

    Come on Spring! Pull your finger out! Today it almost happened... the air was warmer, the sun came out unexpectedly and there was no breeze or hardly any clouds. The hoped for sprinkle of migrants never happened and we are still awaiting our first Wheatear, Sand Martin and Little Ringed Plover but some...