June was mostly warm and quite settled until the 12th, although often cooler near the east coast, with variable amounts of cloud and some scattered thundery showers at times, these mainly in the north. There was an unsettled westerly spell from the 13th to 20th, and it was notably windy on the 14th, but rainfall amounts were small in southern areas. High pressure brought dry and very sunny and increasingly hot weather by day from the 21st onwards, while it was relatively cool by night.(Met Office, 2018)
After Hours at the Park
There was a super turn out to this ‘After Hours at the Park’ event. Lots to see and hear. Pipistrelle and Noctule bats flying overhead in the open green spaces amongst the trees, Tawny Owls calling in the distance, at one point had a Lesser Stag Beetle fly directly towards me and landed on my clipboard. Toads were seen making their way towards the ponds, Perch swimming in the little streams, as well as newts and tadpoles. The night was full of animals to see and hear we could have carried on for longer.
Hedgehog and Allotments
Ali North the Suffolk Wildlife Trusts, Ipswich Hedgehog Officer, presented attendees of this event with some interesting information about hedgehogs. The presentation covered areas like hibernation, habits, identification techniques, etc. Covering the areas that most allotment holders would need to look out for when tending to their plots. A lot of allotments have areas that are used for communal composting and log piles, both of these are ideal places for hedgehogs to make a hibernaculum in the winter and breeding nests in the spring/summer. Around the edges, you may find areas of long, uncut grasses for which hedgehogs make use of these for day nests, mostly the males as they don’t tend for the young during spring/summer.
After the presentation, we went around parts of the allotment looking for signs of hedgehogs using the footprint tunnels Ali had placed down the evening before. Unfortunately, we had no luck in finding hedgehog tracks. This method though is usually carried out over a 1KM² and monitored over 10 consecutive nights.
To find out more about what the hedgehogs of Ipswich are up to and the how the project is going head over to Ipswich Hedgehogs.
Ipswich Wildlife Watch
Natural History in the Park
The Wildlife Watch had a wonderful time in the park today getting involved in sweep netting. The children used large nets, sweeping through the long meadow grass in a figure of 8 motion to catch as many invertebrates as possible. Bring them back to ‘base camp’ to transfer what they had caught to insect boxes for closer analysis and identification.
Ipswich Young Wardens
Stag Beetle Stacks
This didn’t go to plan. We started out by taking the wardens down to the orchard where we were to install some sections of tree trunk into a trench hopefully to attract stag beetles. It started off well with them clearing the area of debris. Once they started digging, however, that’s when things began to go downhill. As with most wildlife events you cannot always foresee what you are going to discover. To our surprise not soon after beginning the digging of the trench we discovered a wasp’s nest. As we didn’t know if anyone on the event was allergic to bee or wasp stings we decided to end the task there and move to safer spot allowing the wasp’s to calm down. Ultimately eventful but not what was planned. In the end, to give them something to do, we decided to continue with the results from the mornings sweep netting discovering the diversity of wildlife in the meadow.
Wet Your Whistle with Wildlife
Wet your Whistle with Wildlife was a new event put together by Lucy Shephard (Ipswich Education Officer) and Ali North (Ipswich Hedgehog Officer). Together they showed a group of 18 – 35-year-olds the wonders of the natural world after dark. Some of the wildlife seen included Stag Bettles flying overhead, Bats swooping amongst the trees catching the low flying midges and moths, a fox that was wonderfully captured by the infrared camera that Ali had brought along for everyone to try out, and finally some very vocal Tawny Owls and their recently fledged chicks.
Another night safari, similar to the After Hours at the Park event, only this one was held at a different location. Bats were seen and heard using bat detectors over the ponds catching moths, a Stag Beetle and lots of moths spotted. We used a moth trap to round the night off for everyone. A lot of the guests left at around 22:00 but a few of us volunteers stayed well into the night, with myself not getting home until 01:00.
Fathers Day Picnic
The Father’s Day Picnic event started off slow but peaked around 11:00. We didn’t know how the day was going to pan out with the World Cup football happening on the same day. Luckily though we had a wonderful turn out. We had activities such as Den building, whitling and sweep netting for people of all ages to get involved in. I was in charge of the Den building and helped Kirsty, the intern, build this Den that we spent some time in chatting and listening to birdsong before it got busy. Everyone who attended enjoyed themselves with it being a wonderful day spent outside enjoying nature.
I even met a couple of old school friends, one being a fellow peer in my class the other being my old chemistry teacher.
Bilbiography Met Office. (2018). June 2018. [online] Available at: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/summaries/2018/june [Accessed 15 Jul. 2018].