St Nicks

Centre for nature and green living

Category: Spotlight on...

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

October 2014: Spotlight on… Long-tailed Tits

After the Robin, the Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus) is probably Britain’s favourite bird! Charismatically cute (!) this small bird is a frequent visitor to gardens – and to St Nicks! We possibly have between 3 – 5 breeding pairs on the reserve. Nest building starts in March, usually fairly low down in thick shrubs or brambles. […]

Posted 14 October 2014 | Categories: Spotlight on..., Wildwatch | Tags: Bum-barrel, long-tailed tit

September 2014: Spotlight on … Garden Spiders

The Garden Spider Araneus diadematus is probably the best-known member of the spider family, weaving a beautiful circular web and best seen in late summer and autumn. By no means the only abundant urban spider (it has also been found on remote seacliffs from Shetland to Cornwall) it is in our gardens and hedgerows that […]

Posted 19 September 2014 | Categories: Spotlight on..., Wildwatch | Tags: Garden Spider

August 2014: Spotlight on… Oak Galls

In simple terms, a plant gall is the plant’s response to something that another organism does to it. The overall effect is a little bit like what your body does when a nettle stings it, but gall production is more complicated and still isn’t fully understood. There are hundreds of kinds of galls in Britain, […]

Posted 15 August 2014 | Categories: Spotlight on..., Wildwatch | Tags: currant gall, knopper gall, Marble Gall, oak galls, spangle gall

July 2014: Spotlight on… Shieldbugs

Shieldbugs are popular and readily identifiable insects found on the reserve at St Nicks, and can be seen in most months of the year. Unlike beetles, shieldbugs tend not to scuttle away when observed but will pose for photographs. They superficially resemble beetles but are actually part of the bug tribe. All insects are sometimes […]

Posted 15 July 2014 | Categories: Spotlight on..., Wildwatch | Tags: Shieldbugs

June 2014: Spotlight on.. Buttercups

Buttercups Ranunculus sp. Hold one underneath somebody’s chin, and if it reflects a little patch of yellow on to their skin, it means they like butter. Has it ever failed to work? Once upon a time everybody could recognise a buttercup, and presumably everybody liked butter. There would have been a lot less of it […]

Posted 17 June 2014 | Categories: Spotlight on..., Wildwatch | Tags: Buttercup, Creeping Buttercup, Meadow Buttercup

May 2014: Spotlight on.. Blackcap

Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla This small bird (wingspan 20 cm – 8 inches) is a spring and summer visitor to St Nicks. It’s not the easiest bird to see (or photograph!) because it often sings in deep cover, in the centre of a bush or small tree. It is best seen in early spring, before there […]

Posted 20 May 2014 | Categories: Spotlight on... | Tags: blackcap

March 2014: Spotlight on.. Brimstone Butterfly

              Brimstone Butterfly Gonepteryx rhamni This lovely butterfly, sometimes the earliest of the year to be seen, brings a splash of yellow to match our spring daffodils, and while Yorkshire is at the northern edge of the Brimstone’s British range it still puts up a good show in most […]

Posted 16 March 2014 | Categories: Spotlight on..., Wildwatch | Tags: Brimstone butterfly, buckthorn