Insect identification courses

Hampshire Cultural Trust are holding additional insect identification courses at Chilcomb House, Chilcomb Lane, Winchester, SO23 8RD.  These are:

  • Ladybirds Workshop – Saturday 16 July 2016  10.00am – 4.00pm
  • Shieldbugs and Leatherbugs Workshop – Saturday 17 September 10.00am – 4.00pm

To book a place email Christine Taylor or phone 01962 826726, cost £25 per person, booking essential as numbers limited.

Message from Mike Clarke RSPB CEO

Dear Colleagues,

This [Friday] morning, we awoke to news that the UK has voted to leave the European Union.

I know that many of you will feel strongly about the result, however I wanted to explain how the RSPB is planning to respond.

The RSPB has always believed that, because nature transcends national boundaries, it needs cross-border co-operation to protect it and a common set of international standards that enable it to thrive.

That is why, now the UK has decided to leave the EU, the RSPB believes the UK must continue to act internationally, and look to forge comprehensive international agreements for nature conservation and the environment.

We must not lose the current, hard won, level of legal protection enjoyed by nature. Preferably we should be looking to improve the implementation of existing legal protection and, where necessary, to increase it.

Whilst the quality of the debate during the campaign varied, the environment did feature. We are proud to have played our part in ensuring it was not overlooked or sidelined.

A big thank you to every member of staff and volunteer who helped to bring this about.

Millions of people in the UK love nature

It is clear that there are millions of people in the UK who love nature. We all want to see clean air and water for future generations, as well as an attractive countryside rich in wildlife.

It will now be down to the governments in Westminster, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff to deliver it.

We will continue to be a voice for nature, raising the importance of environmental issues that impact on people, wildlife and the economy. We will provide a constructive challenge to all the UK’s governments where necessary, and give credit where it is due; just as we always have done.    And, of course, we shall work internationally – as we have for over 100 years – and will continue to act across Europe with our Birdlife International partners to tackle the challenges facing nature.

The RSPB will play an active role in this new debate as it unfolds over the next months and years.

Rest assured, we shall continue to do whatever nature needs.

Best wishes,

Mike

Next field trips

Our next field trip is an evening walk on Tuesday, 5 July 2016 around Keyhaven Marshes.  Starting from the Gun Inn car park (SZ 306 915) at 6.30pm we’ll have a stroll along the sea-wall and back along the “Ancient Highway” and plan to finish before 9.00 pm.  There are parking charges in the Gun Inn car park but parking along the sea-wall, if there is space, is free for three hours.  Our walks are suitable for all levels of birdwatching experience, including beginners.  The field trips are open to all, but a small voluntary donation from those who are not members of the RSPB New Forest Local Group would be appreciated.

Following that, there is an extra walk that was not in the original published programme, which is a walk from Moonhills car park (SU 409 025) on Saturday 9 July 2016, when we will be concentrating more on butterflies than birds.  The start time will be 10.00 am and we expect to be back at the car park by 1.00 pm.

Giving Nature a Home

The RSPB is calling on people to get involved in Giving Nature a Home this summer by doing at least one thing for wildlife in their garden or outdoor space after new data revealed further declines in sightings of some of our most familiar and favourite garden species.

Results from the Big Garden Birdwatch wildlife survey showed only 25 per cent of people in Hampshire see hedgehogs in their gardens at least once a month. This is also the national average and 13 percent fewer than in 2014.

The numbers of people who have never seen a hedgehog in their garden continued to grow to 25 per cent, up 11 per cent since 2014.

This pattern of decline in sightings is apparent across both rural and suburban gardens, yet in urban gardens the number of people who have reported seeing a hedgehog on a monthly basis has increased by 12 percent in the last two years (26 percent overall). Hedgehog populations remain in a long-term decline with the latest figures suggesting that the UK population has dipped to under one million.

Gardens cover an estimated ten million acres, the equivalent area the size of five million football pitches, in the UK. Each green space can make a difference, from a window box full of pollen rich plants for bumblebees to a small pond hosting a whole range of different species.

The RSPB is calling on people to help save nature this summer by getting involved in Giving Nature a Home, and doing at least one action for wildlife in their garden or outdoor space.

Daniel Hayhow, RSPB Conservation Scientist, said: “With the right care and attention your garden could become a home to all kinds of different species, and you could have a front row seats to some amazing wildlife shows. The UK is home to some fascinating garden wildlife from bugs to butterflies, hedgehogs to house sparrows – our outdoor spaces provide these species with the vital homes they need to survive.

“It’s interesting to see a rise in the number of people recording sightings of some of our struggling garden wildlife – and although this isn’t suggesting population changes – it could mean that people are becoming much more aware of the species that can find a home in their back garden.”

For the first time Hampshire participants were asked to keep an eye out for foxes and stoats visiting their garden. The results revealed that foxes were the second most popular visitor, with 43 per cent of people spotting one in their garden at least once a month this year, 2 per cent higher than the national average.

Grey squirrels remained the most common garden visitor for the third year running, with 76 per cent of UK participants spotting one scurrying across their garden at least once a month. In Hampshire, this increased to 77 per cent.

Sara Humphrey, Communications Officer, said: “Hampshire residents are lucky to have some amazing green spaces around them. Your garden can provide an invaluable resource to animals travelling between these spaces or looking to set up new territories. Something as small as creating gaps in fences to allow hedgehogs to roam can have huge benefits to the population in your area.

Daniel Hayhow added: “By providing shelter and a safe place to make a home, gardens provide an invaluable resource and are a key element in helping to save nature, perhaps even playing a pivotal role in reversing some declines.”

To help people create their own wildlife friendly garden, the RSPB launched a new online tool this week that will build their own personalised plan for nature. The plan will be unique to the individual and will not only target their favourite species, but the wildlife that is struggling in that particular part of the country.

You can create your own personal plan and give nature a home near you at www.rspb.org.uk/plan

Our next programmed walk

The next walk on the RSPB New Forest Local Group programme will be at Burley on Saturday 18 June 2016, led by Barry who has a new route for us this year – hopefully not dodging golf balls!  Meet at the same place as 2015, the car park opposite the cricket ground (SU 214 029).  The walk will start at 10.00 am and last about 3 hours.

Walks Programme 2016/17

The Walks Programme meeting will now take place at the Pilgrim Inn, Marchwood on Wednesday 15 June 2016 at 7.00 pm.  Any members who would like to participate are welcome or if you have particular walks you would like included in or deleted from the programme, please contact me via the Contact Us form before Wednesday.