Welcome to Prestwood Nature

Three butterflies to look for in July

By Val Marshall

Comma

Readily distinguished by its bright colouration and scalloped wing edges

        


  Large White

Has broad black tips to wings, female has 2 black spots - gardeners regard its caterpillars as a pest on Brassicas



Meadow Brown

Commonest and most widespread throughout most habitats, medium size may have muted colouring,





Bumblebees to look out for in July

by John Catton

It’s high summer and in the bumblebee colony life is evolving.  Having established her nest in spring the queen has remained there laying only worker eggs (unfertilized females).

But for the past 4/5 weeks the Early, Red-tailed and Tree bumblebee queens have ceased laying worker eggs and switched to laying drone (male) eggs and fertilized female eggs (for next year’s queens). Right now the Buff-tailed bumblebee, Garden bumblebee and Common carder bee queens are doing the same.

So, both workers and drones from each species will now be seen flying. They look similar. The big differences are that the drone is bigger, has a more rounded abdomen and does not have a pollen basket. Their purpose in life is not in helping a colony survive, but the continuation  of the species.

Once they have left the colony the drones will not return, so you may find drones sheltering and sleeping overnight under leaves on plants.

Prestwood Nature Blog

Prestwood Nature has cancelled all work parties, talks and walks until the end of August. We will review the situation during the summer and decide whether the events later in the year can ahead.  Please keep looking at this web site for more information.

While we have to stay at home or just take walks close to our houses,  we have set up a blog where our members can share pictures and observations on the natural world around them.  

Send your ideas to webmaster@prestwoodnature.org or comment on the posts already made.

Click anywhere in this box to view the blog

Plants to look out for in July

By Karen van Oostrum


 Bedstraws

The Bedstraws are a family of plants that get their name from the fact that they have pliable stems and make fragrant hay when dried – so historically, several species were used to stuff mattresses. Cleavers / Goosegrass / Stickyweed (Galium aparine) is probably the best known species of this family, so if you want to get to know the bedstraws, you can start by using this plant as your guide. Notice that it has several whorls (a whorl is a bit like a skirt where the panels haven’t been sewn together) of 6-8 leaf-like structures (they’re not all strictly leaves) around the stem. This is the defining feature of this plant family – all species have whorls of 4 or more ‘leaves’ arranged along the stem.

All Bedstraws sprawl to a greater or lesser extent, due to their weak stems. Their flowers are very small, usually white or yellow. Woodruff (Galium odoratum), smaller than Cleavers, is a common sight locally, carpeting the floor of our chalk woodlands. It was in flower in May, and June, and is now starting to develop its small globular green fruits – if you see it in the woods, notice how the fruits are similar to those of Cleavers.  

Hedge Bedstraw (Galium mollugo) - photo below

Hedge Bedstraw grows to 1.2m, as does Cleavers, but it is more bushy in appearance. It also has white flowers, but they are more conspicuous than those of Cleavers, growing in far larger, more showy clusters. There are a similar number of ‘leaves’ to each whorl, but they are noticeably shorter and stouter than those of Cleavers. It is a common plant, found in grassland, hedgerows, verges, and scrub.

Ladies Bedstraw (Galium verum)

In flower now until the end of August, this is one of the yellow–flowered Bedstraws. It can grow to 1.0m. Less common in our area than Hedge Bedstraw, this species particularly favours dry grassland and can be found in meadows and on hedge banks.              Click here for more …

Red-tailed bumblebee

Common carder bee

Buff-tailed bumblebee

We are the Local Environment Group for the area around Prestwood in Buckinghamshire, including Great Missenden,
The Hampdens, The Kingshills, North Dean and Speen

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Prestwood Nature The Local Environment Group for the Prestwood Area