Thursday 24 November 2016

Helping Hands at Cleaver Heath

On Tuesday Cheshire Wildlife Volunteer Coordinator Kevin Feehey brought a group of volunteers to Cleaver Heath. They were a great help in removing bracken litter from an area which we hope eventually to restore as heathland. They were from the Chester office of Ramboll (UK) which is a large engineering consultant organisation.

The weather was a bit grey but they enjoyed the day out. The team were part of the company's ecological section. The UK company are the lead engineers on the Queensferry Crossing (new Forth Bridge) and the new one across the Mersey near Widnes!

Alan Irving

Monday 14 November 2016

Volunteer Award for Steve Yandell

Steve receiving his award. Photo: Hilary Ash

Steve Yandell was presented with the Eric Thurston Award at New Ferry Butterfly Park this Sunday. The award is presented by Cheshire Wildlife Trust to the most inspirational and outstanding volunteers.

Steve has volunteered on average 3 times a month at New Ferry Butterfly Park and Thornton Wood for the last 10 years. An experienced, can-do person who is always ready to work hard himself, he also willingly shares his knowledge with novices and encourages participation. We are very fortunate to have a volunteer of his calibre.

Cutting the celebration cake. Photo: Hilary Ash

Tuesday 8 November 2016

Become a Citizen Scientist

Can you spare some time between 13th and 17th November to look for signs of lugworm reproduction on the beach. The Marine Conservation Society want to find out when the lugworm, Arenicola marina, breeds in the UK.

As the worms spend most of their lives buried in the sand the males release sperm which collect as ‘puddles’ on the surface of the sand. The incoming tide washes this into the burrows of the females to fertilise their eggs.

Two people spending 10 minutes on this survey can provide vital information to help scientists work out what environmental factors may trigger spawning.

For full details of how to conduct the survey and where to send your results see:

Saturday 5 November 2016

Extreme Weather Impacts Butterfly Numbers

Small Tortoiseshell butterflies
We  have recently highlighted the falls in butterfly numbers recorded both nationally and at New Ferry Butterfly Park.

A recently published study in the Journal of Animal Ecology analysed data which had been collected from 1800 sites over 37 years for the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme. Climate change affects ecosystems but short term spells of bad weather also have a damaging impact on butterfly populations. It appears that heavy rainfall during the cocoon stage is damaging but even worse problems are caused by higher than normal temperatures during ‘over-wintering’. If butterflies or caterpillars emerge too early they may then be killed by temperatures turning colder again.