St Nicks

Centre for nature and green living

Category: Spotlight on...

February 2014: Spotlight on… Bullfinch

                  Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula So good that the ornithologists named it twice! Bullfinch is possibly the most iconic St Nicks bird. Seen throughout the year, this colourful finch is easily identified by call, in flight and perched. Their call is a quiet, but distinctive single note: listen […]

Posted 14 February 2014 | Categories: Spotlight on..., Wildwatch | Tags: Bullfinch

January 2014: Spotlight on… Gorse

Gorse Ulex europaeus With its dense branches of fearsome spines, Gorse is an unlikely relation of domestic peas and beans. Look more closely at its flowers, and you’ll see a clear similarity to Sweet Peas. On a warm day, the scent is just as good, with notes of vanilla and coconut. The seeds are the […]

Posted 16 January 2014 | Categories: Spotlight on..., Wildwatch | Tags: furze, gorse, ulex

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

November 2013: Spotlight on… Alder

  Alder Alnus glutinosa Alder is a native tree in the same family as Birch and Hazel. Although it will grow in dry conditions, it prefers damp places, where given enough room it can grow up to 25 metres high with a broad, roughly conical crown. Planted along rivers, its roots help to keep the […]

Posted 20 November 2013 | Categories: Spotlight on... | Tags: Alder, alnus glutinosa, grey alder

October 2013: Spotlight on… Winter Thrushes

Winter Thrushes During October, the UK will see the start of a mass invasion from overseas, as hundreds of thousands of birds move in from Scandinavia and other parts of Continental Europe to escape from the harsher winters. These include common garden birds, such as Robin and Chaffinch, but our focus this month is on […]

Posted 15 October 2013 | Categories: Spotlight on... | Tags: berries, blackbird, fieldfare, Mistle Thrush, redwing, Song Thrush, winter thrushes

Spotlight on….Hoverflies

  If you have a garden or backyard with a few plants you will almost certainly see, between March and October, small yellow stripy flies hovering over your flowers. Most of these will be hoverflies, called ‘flower flies’ in the USA because of their attraction to wild and garden flowers. Their stripy appearance makes them […]

Posted 11 September 2013 | Categories: Spotlight on... | Tags: episyrphus balteatus, eristalis pertinax, helophilus pendulus, Hoverfly, myathropa florea, sericomyia silentis, sphaerophora scripta, syrpus ribesii, volucella pellucens

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

May 2013: Spotlight on Cowslip

  Cowslip Primula veris Cowslips are easy to see and almost impossible to confuse with anything else. Stems of scented yellow flowers rise from rosettes of simple, elongated leaves. Each petal has a deep orange spot at the base, which occasionally produces a variant form with yellow markings on orange petals. The flowers provide a […]

Posted 7 May 2013 | Categories: Spotlight on... | Tags: cowslip