Thursday, 31 August 2017

Post 470 - Happily Reclining Hairy Rove Beetle

Hairy Rove Beetle (Creophius maxillosus)
Hey everyone, Post 470 and a little look at a new species, for me, that I saw whilst I was away on holiday. Our family always tends to go to North Norfolk in the summer and we have a lovely relaxing time visiting the beaches, RSPB Titchwell, Hickling Broad, Sheringham Park and lots of places like that.

On one of our walks I just happened to spot an unusual shaped and sized insect on a plant when I was walking on a path down to the beach near Weybourne. I had a closer look and realised it was a Beetle but didn't know what sort. So I took a few photos so I could look it up when I got home as I hadn't taken all of my nature books with me.

So I got home and downloaded all of my photos and rediscovered these and started to look it up. I found out it was a Hairy Rove Beetle so I was able to do a bit of research on it, this is what I found out.
  • They are a Beetle that it widespread in the UK but not that common.
  • It's quite a big beetle at 15 - 22mm long. 
  • The size, sturdy build and light grey hairs on the dark body are the main identifying characteristics of this beetle.
Posing nicely
  • It seems they like a variety of habitats but mostly wooded habitats, so finding this one hanging around in the sand dunes was maybe unusual.
  • That said in hot weather, and it was a lovely day, they are supposed to like decaying vegetation.
  • Other places you may find them include compost heaps, decaying fungus, dung, and carrion (dead animals).
  • This is because they are predators and they feed on all sorts of larvae and adults of other insects. 
  • They are attracted to the smell of decay and I guess that means to them they will find an easy meal of maggots in whatever is rotting.
  • They are a fast moving beetle and tend to run away or take to the wing if disturbed so again it was probably unusual to find this one happily resting on a plant and reasonably happy to have its photo taken.
But eventually headed to cover
  • Also when threatened it may curl itself up or raise its tail in a similar way to a Scorpion. As another deterrent for predators they secrete a number of substances that are irritating.
  • Their life-cycle is quite short, the egg stage is 4 days, larvae 14 days and pupae stage 16 days, though I couldn't find out how long adults live. 
  • You should be able to see the adult beetles from spring right through to October/November.
Well, that's another fascinating beetle and one I'll keep an eye out for on my walks, though from what I've read it might be a while before I see another one.

Hope you enjoyed,


Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Post 469 - Talking to Tomorrows Natural Leaders

Hey everyone, today's post is 469 and last month I attended a great event down in Doncaster, it was held at a great Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve called Potterick Carr which I've been to a few times now, but it was great to go there again. This time though I had a special reason to go down, a Youth Summit on nature!

It was held down at the Education Centre there and started at about 10 o'clock meaning we had to get up quite early and have an early drive down there, but it was still great fun and I'd been really looking forward to it.

Why, well, there's a bit of a funny story connected to this. The lottery are funding a brilliant and massive project called Our Bright Future - £33m has been given to 31 projects across the UK and they are being co-ordinated by the Wildlife Trusts. The project that Yorkshire Wildlife Trusts are running as part of this is called Tomorrows Natural Leaders - it's a project "which will train 96 Leaders, upskilling and empowering them to inspire young people and community members to take action on local environmental projects and campaigns across Yorkshire."

Well I'd read about the project sometime last year and it sounded interesting so I asked Dad to find out a bit more about it and if it was something I could do. Well he made the call and found out I was three years too early in applying as I you have to be 16 to take part. Oh well I thought I'll have to wait, and didn't think much more about it.

Then a couple of months ago Dad got an unexpected email about the Youth Summit. As part of the summit I was asked to do a talk about how to engage young people. I was obviously thrilled and took up the opportunity immediately, and for a couple of weeks before I'd been rehearsing! Eventually though, the day came around, and there were loads of really great and supportive people there. I found it absolutely great talking to all these people and looking at what everybody was there to present. There were a couple of talks before me which were really interesting covering the Our Bright Futures Programme and the Tomorrows Natural Leaders project. These were all give by young people and it was great to hear their experiences.

Then it was my turn to talk. I was introduced as the youngest applicant to the Tomorrows Natural Leaders project which made me and the crowd laugh when they said I was a bit too young though!  I got up to start my talk and found I wasn't' as nervous as I was when I did my previous talk at the Wild Watch project, despite there being more people at Potterick. I had a great time talking about young people and how to engage them in nature, especially as it's one of my favourite things to talk about and discuss.
The talk after me was another of the Tomorrows Natural Leaders, John Cave, he made us all laugh too as John said I had made him feel old for the first time in his life, 'Thanks for that!' he said :-)

Afterwards there was a lot of different things that went on, lunch was great as we got to walk around and talk to everyone there more than we did in the morning. Everyone was really nice and congratulated me on my talk and said it was inspiring. I got some nice invitations to visit other projects too.
After about an hour of lunch we went into our two groups where we went either for a tour around Potterick, or we did some discussions. They were both good (when is a walk around Potterick not good?) and a lot of good things came out of the talks which were all on topics of nature and engagement.
You can read the Our Bright Future blog summary of the day on their website here.

So I want to say a big thank you to Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and to Joe and Paul for inviting me along. Hope you have another great event like this next year.

Hope you enjoyed,