Make a Mess!
Make piles of sticks and logs. Leave them to rot down for bugs to live in.
Try leaving a band of grass uncut along hedges and walls. This helps to form "wildlife corridors" which provide protection and safety.
Build a mini pond
Click on the link below to see a step by step guide to building a mini pond. It's fun and simple: a great holiday project for the kids...and adults!
Don't cut down your ivy flowers ...yet!
Why the gardeners' foe is the bees' best friend
Ivy, often maligned as a garden pest, is vital to honey bees and other pollinators seeking food in autumn, research carried out in 2013 at the University of Sussex revealed.
The researchers surveyed ivy flowers from rural and urban locations in September and October to count the honey bees and other insects foraging for nectar and pollen. They also identified the pollen brought back to hives by honey bee workers to determine the proportion from ivy and then surveyed ivy to determine how widespread it is. In addition, the researchers measured the sugar concentration in nectar collected from ivy flowers by honey bee workers, and determined what proportion of honey bee foragers on ivy were collecting nectar versus pollen.
The main findings were:
The researchers said “In September and October ivy is the main game in town if you want nectar or pollen. On a sunny day you will be amazed at how many insects there are on it. Our research shows that ivy is hugely important to honey bees and other flower-visiting insects, such as late-season butterflies and hover flies, in the autumn. In fact, if ivy did not exist we would probably try to invent it. Ivy should perhaps be considered a “keystone species” for flower-visiting insects in the autumn and therefore has a very important role in the ecosystem.”
Here are some further ivy facts:
Many people are unaware that ivy even has flowers, as the flowers are not colourful, and regard it as a parasite of trees and try to kill it. However, it is not a parasite.
Ivy flower nectar is accessible for insects with both long tongues (bees, butterflies) and short tongues (flies, wasps, some bees).
Tell us what you see!
Wildlife recording has never been easier: the ORKS App
Cornwall Wildlife Trust has just launched a mobile app to make recording all wildlife so much quicker and easier. This new ORKS App allows you to record wildlife sightings while out and about, even if you don’t have wifi or a mobile data signal. It prompts you for the essential information needed, uses your phone's GPS to note the location, allows you to add photos using your phone’s camera, and then upload to the ORKS website when you are ready. It also guides you through set up when you install it. The ORKS App is available for free download on iPhone and Android.
Other ways to send in information about what you have seen.
If apps are not your thing, then you have two other alternatives:
1. Print out an ORKS form by clicking on the link below. Fill in the details and send it off in the post.
2. Go to www.orks.org.uk and submit your records. You can do this without having an account by going to ‘add records’ in the menu bar. If you set up an account then you still add records but it gives you more options including exploring your records, and downloading information
Go down on the beach.
Each month the National Trust do a beach clean. Soak in fantastic views and fresh air whilst helping to keep these beautiful beachs clean. Why not go down and help out. All you need to bring is your enthusiasm as gloves, bags and litterpickers are provided.
First Monday of the month - Porthcurnick 10 to 11 am or Pendower 2 to 3 pm
First Saturday of the month - Hemmick 10 to 11 am
Why not plant a wildflower meadow or a small area of your garden with wildflowers. With the decline of many insects in this country, any help we can provide will help them. Some of you may not be keen to plant what most people categorise as weeds but weeds are only plants in the wrong place. Have a look at some of the companies that are selling wildflower seeds and you will find that a lot of the plants are very pretty.
Room for another!
With the modern way of building and garden fashions, many of the nooks and crevices that our wildlife used have gone.
To help these creatures, why not make a home for nature. Bird boxes, bat boxes, hedgehog homes and insect houses are all fairly easy to make and plans of how to make them can be found on the internet.
You don’t have to stick to traditional, be creative. Hedgehog homes could be a large upturned flowerpot or an old washing up bowl with a door cut in the side. Insect houses or hotels can be made out of literally anything, for example, an old 1 litre bottle with the large end cut off and then stuffed fall of twigs or bamboo, hanging from a bush.
What ever you make, it will make you feel proud when you see wildlife move in.
At this time of the year, life can be tough for wildlife. With the weather worsening and the shorter days, it makes it harder to find the food they need.
Give them a helping hand!
Put out sunflower seeds, fat balls, fruit and mealworms, for the birds. Small mammals will take any seeds that fall beneath the feeder. If you still have hedgehogs out and about in your garden, put out minced meat, dog/cat food or chopped boiled egg. For squirrels, put out nuts, sunflower seeds or chopped carrot. Badgers like fruit, peanuts, dried dog food or mealworms. Make sure that bird baths or ponds are not frozen and if you don’t have a pond, put out a bowl of fresh water.
While helping the wildlife, you can enjoy the wonderful sight of having them in your garden.