The life stages of the Orange Tip butterfly

Centre for nature and green living

Category: Spotlight on...

April 2016: Spotlight on.. Orange Tip butterfly

The attractive and unmistakable male Orange Tip butterfly (Anthocaris cardamines) is one of the first to emerge in the spring from its pupa (chrysalis). Within the pupa it has been metamorphosing from a caterpillar into a butterfly since June or July the previous year. Females emerge a week or so later, ensuring that there are […]

Posted 18 April 2016 | Categories: Spotlight on... | Tags: butterfly, Cuckoo Plant flower, Garlic Mustard, Orange Tip Butterfly

March 2016: Spotlight on…Acers

Members of this large and widespread group of trees can be identified by buds and leaves in opposite pairs, and clusters of small flowers opening with or just before leaves which are normally hand-shaped with three, five or seven lobes. The seeds are in winged pairs that often spin as they fall to the ground […]

Posted 20 March 2016 | Categories: Spotlight on..., Wildwatch

February 2016: Spotlight on.. Lungwort

Lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis) is a small, low-growing, rather hairy plant with clusters of small, tubular flowers in shades from blue to pink or white. The leaves range from almost heart-shaped to oval, and all but the lowest are blotched with white. Its official flowering period is from March to May but in a mild winter like […]

Posted 20 February 2016 | Categories: Spotlight on... | Tags: Lungwort

January 2016: Spotlight on.. Winter Tit Feeding Flocks

In the Spring and Summer, members of the Tit family – Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit and Coal Tit – pair up to breed at St Nicks. Some of them occupy the numerous nest boxes scattered around the reserve. But, in the Autumn and Winter months (October through to February) members of this bird […]

Posted 20 January 2016 | Categories: Spotlight on... | Tags: Chaffinch, Coal Tit, great tit, long-tailed tit, Tit feeding flocks Blue Tit, Treecreeper

December 2015: Spotlight on … Goldcrest

Goldcrest (Regulus regulus) is one of Europe’s smallest birds, equalled only in size by Firecrest. Weighing in at just 6 – 6.5 grams, the weight of a 10p coin, this tiny bird makes some astonishing journeys. Every winter, many thousands make the journey across the North Sea from Scandinavia to spend the winter in the […]

Posted 21 December 2015 | Categories: Spotlight on... | Tags: goldcrest

November 2015: Spotlight on … Ash trees

Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) is a native tree, but it’s one on its own. It belongs to the Oleaceae, along with the Olive and Lilac, and its only native relation is a form of wild Privet. Two or three Mediterranean and American forms have been introduced as ornamental trees, but you’re unlikely to find them outside […]

Posted 19 November 2015 | Categories: Spotlight on... | Tags: ash, ash tree, tree

October 2015: Spotlight on … Grey Wagtails

The Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) is an occasional visitor to St Nicks, seen more often in the Autumn and Winter months (but see below). This attractive grey and yellow bird is nearly always found near running water, so all the St Nicks sightings have been along the Tang Hall and Osbaldwick Becks. Typically it is […]

Posted 28 October 2015 | Categories: Spotlight on... | Tags: Grey Wagtail

September 2015: Spotlight on.. Bindweed

If you’re a gardener, the name sums it up: an irredeemable weed that’s more than a bit of a bind if you’ve taken over a plot where it’s well established. The thin but strong, flexible stems twine round any vertical support, potentially strangling other plants, and the deep roots produce rhizomes that enable the plant […]

Posted 21 September 2015 | Categories: Spotlight on... | Tags: Bindweed, Field Bindweed, Hedge Bindweed, Large Bindweed

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

April 2015: Spotlight on … Dunnocks

The Dunnock (Prunella modularis) is a common bird at St Nicks. It’s also known as “Hedge Sparrow”, “Hedge Warbler” and “Hedge Accentor”. The latter is the most accurate of names, because the Dunnock is neither a “sparrow” or a “warbler”, but is a member of the Accentor family of birds. But most people call them “Dunnocks”! […]

Posted 20 April 2015 | Categories: Spotlight on..., Wildwatch | Tags: Dunnock