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Dr Phil Smith: Wildlife notes June 2021

Wasp Beetle Clytus arietis

Following one of the wettest Mays on record, June turned out to be one of the driest, with sparse rainfall on only four days. Fortunately, the damp weather in May and a legacy of the wet winter meant that the impact of the drought on duneland plants was less than it might have been. Nevertheless, the vegetation of road verges and other dry habitats was soon burnt to a crisp.

A conversation with Amanda Barber: Nature, Wildlife Recording & the City Nature Challenge

Kingfisher Sankey Valley Canal Amanda Barber

Last month the results of this year's City Nature Challenge were released. Our very own local naturalist and keen wildlife photographer, Amanda Barber, came 1st in the UK and 4th in the WORLD for the number of wildlife observations made over the 4 days. Amanda is still fairly new to biological recording and a self-confessed 'generalist'. We thought it would be a good idea to catch-up with Amanda after the event to share her story!

Dr Phil Smith: Wildlife notes May 2021

Narcissus Bulbfly Merodon equestris pair Hawksworth Drive

May 2021 was one of the wettest on record. Some parts of the country had more than twice their normal rainfall. Most insects like it warm, so May’s cool conditions should have meant fewer of them. This was not at all the case. Spring species are well-adapted to the cold and if it’s cool they spend more time basking in the sun to warm up, making them easier to find.

Dr Phil Smith: Wildlife notes April 2021

Wheatear Ainsdale LNR

According to the Met. Office, April was: “An incredibly notable month in terms of statistics.” It provided the lowest average minimum mean temperatures for the country since 1922 and was one of the sunniest and driest Aprils on record. Here, not a drop of rain fell for 30 days between 28th March and 27th April. As reported last year, these spring droughts are known to be linked to climate change but the general public is not being told this.

City’s bright lights attract migrant birds

Redwing, Liz Cutting

Results from a new study reveal that artificial light sources associated with urban areas can disrupt the natural movement patterns of birds migrating at night across the UK. Using a combination of passive acoustic monitoring devices and the latest computing approaches, researchers Simon Gillings and Chris Scott were able to determine that calling rates of migrating Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and Redwings were significantly higher over brightly lit urban areas, most likely a consequence of the birds being attracted by the artificial lighting.

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