Ten Meadow Wildlife Wonders – Shrews


Common shrew (c) Carl Wright

Common Shrew (c) Carl wright
 
 

Wildlife wonders from magical meadows

Attention-grabbing insects steal the show in summer – bright blue butterflies, burnished burnet moths and rattling grasshoppers – but how many of us look for other surprising stars of the sunshine? The Wildlife Trusts offer 10 top meadow and grassland species to look out for. The Wildlife Trusts’ Meadow Wildlife Weekend: 14/15 June 2014 is a great opportunity for discovery  Summer is by far the best time of year for exploring your local meadow – whether it’s an upland hay meadow, a river valley water-meadow, a patch of waste ground on the edge of town or a priceless chalk grassland nature reserve.  Now wildflowers are blooming, butterflies are on the wing, grasshoppers are singing and birds are raising their young.

Sensational species to look out for include:

  1. Shrews

Common shrew (c) Carl Wright

Common Shrew (c) Carl wright

The feistiest of the UK’s mammals, shrews are secretive and difficult to see.  However, like bush-crickets they are easily heard by young ears as they bicker over territory in the long grass.  Three shrew species are found in the mainland UK, two of which – common and pygmy – can be abundant in meadows.  These tiny insectivores do everything fast: they rarely live longer than a year, but may have two or three litters of half-a-dozen young, which themselves are independent when just a month old.  Though their fizzy squeaks are readily heard, almost the only way to see shrews is to take part in a live-trapping event run by a licensed small mammal trapper.

Meadows and grassland are – who would have thought it? – dominated by grasses.  Yet, somehow we ignore the grass; preferring to look at the pretty flowers or the brightly-coloured butterflies which live with them.  This summer why not look at the grass too.  It’s no surprise that in grassland there are many species; indeed wherever you are in the UK there are species which define your local grassland type.  So get out and look for the slender foxtails of timothy grass, the bristly heads of cock’s-foot, the shiny green leaves of ryegrass and many local rarities.   Since these habitats were largely shaped by centuries of grazing, conservation organisations continue the same management today. As meadows are more open than woods they generally favour sun-loving species of flower and invertebrate. Because of the way they are managed they are also great places to look for our tough native breeds of domestic sheep, cattle and horses.       The Wildlife Trusts’ Meadow Wildlife Weekend (14/15 June 2014)

For more information, see here   Wildlife Weekends For more about The Wildlife Trusts’ Wildlife Weekends, see http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/weekends  
WildWalks
WildWalks is an online recording tool, established by The Wildlife Trusts in partnership with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).  It allows users to log wildlife sightings and map records of plants and animals across landscape-scale conservation schemes, known as Living Landscapes, whilst out enjoying a walk.  Routes can be created or selected from existing recommendations.  There are currently more than 300 sites from which to choose.  By involving members of the local community in undertaking repeated walks, we will develop a better understanding of how existing wildlife and how this is changing, in response to our landscape-scale conservation work.
How to get involved
Step 1: Register with WildWalks at www.wild-walks.org.uk
Step 2: Plan your WildWalk – follow our easy-to-use guide
Step 3: Take note of the plants and animals you see during your WildWalk
Step 4: Upload your sightings to www.wild-walks.org
Step 5: Plan a new walk, or repeat your walk, and create new wildlife recordings More information is available at http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildwalks  
The Wildlife Trusts (TWT)  wildlifetrusts.org
There are 47 individual Wildlife Trusts covering the whole of the UK.  All are working for an environment rich in wildlife for everyone.  We have more than 800,000 members including 150,000 members of our junior branch Wildlife Watch.  Their vision is to create A Living Landscape and secure Living Seas.  Wildlife Trusts manage around 2,300 nature reserves and every year we advise thousands of landowners and organisations on how to manage their land for wildlife. They also run marine conservation projects around the UK, collecting vital data on the state of our seas and celebrating our amazing marine wildlife.  Every year we work with thousands of schools and our nature reserves and visitor centres receive millions of visitors.  Each Wildlife Trust is working within its local communities to inspire people about the future of their area: their own Living Landscapes and Living Seas.
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Posted on June 12th 2014 under Leading For Nature, News & Press. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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