St Nicks

Centre for nature and green living

Tag: spotlight

June 2015: Spotlight on … Ladybirds

Ladybirds are probably Britain’s best-loved insects. They are believed to be named after ‘Our Lady’ – the Virgin Mary – whose seven joys and seven sorrows are said to be depicted in our commonest native ladybird, the seven-spot. The 7-spot was also the most numerous at St Nicks until the arrival of the Harlequin. Ladybirds […]

Posted 22 June 2015 | Categories: Spotlight on..., Wildwatch | Tags: ladybirds, spotlight

March 2015: Spotlight on… Coltsfoot

Coltsfoot Tussilago farfara One of the earliest wild flowers of spring, Coltsfoot is very easy to identify. It’s a member of the Asteraceae or Composite family, and the bright yellow flowers look a bit like miniature Dandelions, to which they are related. Each flower grows on its own separate stem, but unlike Dandelions the stems […]

Posted 24 March 2015 | Categories: Spotlight on..., Wildwatch | Tags: coltsfoot, spotlight

January 2015: Spotlight on… Wrens

The Wren – which has the intriguing scientific name of Troglodytes troglodytes – is a common bird at St Nicks, although it is heard more often than it is seen. The Wren is Britain’s third smallest breeding bird, after Goldcrest and Firecrest (sharing 1st= place). For such a small bird, just 9 – 10 cm […]

Posted 16 January 2015 | Categories: Spotlight on..., Wildwatch | Tags: feeding, nesting, spotlight, wren

December 2014: Spotlight on… Ivy

Its distinctive lobed leaves make Ivy (Hedera helix) one of the most recognisable plants at St Nicks, but there isn’t actually very much of it on the reserve – yet. We’re starting to find young plants here and there, but to see mature specimens you need to take an often muddy little side track from […]

Posted 16 December 2014 | Categories: Spotlight on..., Wildwatch | Tags: ivy, spotlight

November 2014: Spotlight on… Magpies

The Magpie (Pica pica), a member of the crow family, will be a familiar bird to almost everyone who wanders around St Nicks. Noisy, large and strikingly marked with a long tail, they are easy birds to see and identify. There are probably 3 – 5 pairs of Magpies breeding at St Nicks, although no formal […]

Posted 21 November 2014 | Categories: Spotlight on..., Wildwatch | Tags: magpie, nest, predation, spotlight

December 2013: Spotlight on… Robin

                  (European) Robin Erithacus rubecula Perhaps the UK’s favourite bird, the Robin is familiar to most people, with its reddish throat and breast, and confiding manner. Its song is perhaps less familiar than its appearance. You can hear the song by clicking here. It might sound a […]

Posted 21 December 2013 | Categories: Spotlight on... | Tags: breeding, robin, song, spotlight, territory

Spotlight on…. Wild Teasel

  Wild Teasel Dipsacus fullonum Teasels can be found all year, the full-grown plants often standing tall above the surrounding vegetation.  They are biennials, and start off  in their first spring as neat, almost flat rosettes of leaves. The tall flowering stems grow in the second year.  Late July to August is the time to […]

Posted 14 August 2013 | Categories: Spotlight on... | Tags: spotlight, teasel, wild teasel

July 2013: Spotlight on… Speckled Wood butterfly

  Speckled Wood Butterfly Pararge aegeria This attractive butterfly is the northern form of a species belonging to the large family of Browns or Satyridae. It’s by far the easiest of the family to recognise. The brown upper wings have an unmistakeable slightly chequered pattern of creamy-yellow spots; the underside of the forewing is similar […]

Posted 1 July 2013 | Categories: Spotlight on... | Tags: butterfly, july 2013, Speckled Wood butterfly, spotlight

June 2013: Spotlight on… Common Whitethroat

                      Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis Whitethroats are members of the Warbler family, visiting Britain only in the summer to nest and breed. They are a tiny bird, smaller than a House Sparrow, but they have a very distictive, scratchy, warbling song. You can hear the […]

Posted 5 June 2013 | Categories: Spotlight on... | Tags: common whitethroat, spotlight, Whitethroat

April 2013: Spotlight on… Chiffchaff

  Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita Chiffchaffs are a “summer visitor”, coming only to Britain in the Spring to breed and departing in the early Autumn – although a few tough it out and stay the winter here. They are a small bird – about the size of a Blue Tit – and, in appearance, they are […]

Posted 5 April 2013 | Categories: Spotlight on... | Tags: Chiffchaff, spotlight