I have found it difficult to produce the update for you this month, you will see why from the piece that Joan has written below.
I hope you are all keeping well and I have included a suggestion for a little wildlife watching that you can do in your own garden.
It is with great sadness that we have to report the death of Mike Waterman, very suddenly, on Sunday 16th May.
He has been our friend for over 40 years and a great supporter of the Society. He led our Fungus Foray every year, also for many other clubs and societies as well as contributing the Fungus records for the area and the year for our annual report.
He was on the Committee for a few years and even bought the cheeses for the Christmas Party for some time.
It leaves such a gap and Susan is finding it hard to come to terms at this sad time. We will try to give her support where possible.
Joan and Bernard.
It has been heartening and interesting hearing from some of you about things you have seen. Many of you have been noticing the variety of wildlife which can be found in your own gardens, as well as the wider countryside.
In our garden I like to measure the quality of various flowers by the number of visiting insects. Some species can look spectacular but never attract pollinating insects; they may need a special pollinator which does not occur in this country which might even be a Hummingbird.
Other garden plants are bred so that their pollen and nectar is not accessible anymore. The RHS has a list of many insect friendly plants that you can grow. https://www.rhs.org.uk/science/pdf/conservation-and-biodiversity/wildlife/plants-for-pollinators-garden-plants.pdf
At the moment the best flowers in our garden are the Geranium phaeum, a patch in the back garden can have a dozen bumblebees feeding at the same time.
You could take part in a simple survey of pollinating insects, it is the UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme, from the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.
Their “Flower-Insect Timed Count” https://ukpoms.org.uk/fit-counts just requires you to watch a certain patch of flowers, for 10 minutes, and note the types of insects that visit it. You don’t have to know the species, just whether a bee, wasp, beetle etc., very simple.
It is a good excuse to just relax and enjoy the hard work which went into making your garden wildlife friendly.
It may not be too long before we can feel confident to restart activities where members can get together. At the moment and for some time, it is not viable to hold meetings indoors but we are thinking of having a couple of open-garden events during the summer. This will be similar to previous years but details will depend on any restrictions necessary on the chosen days.