Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum

Update from the RSPB at Westonbirt

Posted: August 22, 2012 at 10:13 am Author: Amy Martin

Well the last month or so has been a busy one for the RSPB at Westonbirt! We’ve held a whole host of hands-on family events, which I hope many of you joined us on. For those who didn’t, here’s a summary…

Bug hunting

Back at the end of July we were joined by Chris Tracey from Butterfly Conservation, who helped on our guided butterfly walks. Together we took enthusiastic families into the downs between Holly Bush Gate and Silk Wood. Despite being a poor year for butterflies, we were lucky enough to see, amongst others, Ringlets, Gatekeepers and Marbled Whites. Also on display at the Bird Viewing Area was a selection of moths caught the previous night – including the Poplar Hawk Moth – a beautiful and fascinating creature!

At the start of August we held table-top pond dipping. August is a fantastic time of the year for pond life, and this gave us the opportunity to see baby newts close up, along with water boatmen, pond skaters and dragonfly larvae!

Minibeast-lovers were also given a chance to do their own bug safari earlier this month. Equipped with bug pots, magnifiers and identification guides, children (and obliging parents) delved into the undergrowth to discover centipedes, millipedes, beetles and more.

More recently, last weekend, visitors planted their own wildflower seeds – a mixture of native wildflowers including bluebells, poppies, cornflowers and more – in biodegradable pots, to take home for attracting bees and butterflies into their gardens.

Having completed RSPB’s summer family events, this week I returned to the bird viewing area, which is busier than ever! Anyone who hasn’t paid it a visit recently really ought to. You can expect to see favourites including nuthatches, coal tits and marsh tits, and Westonbirt’s family of great spotted woodpeckers are still very much around; today I saw Mum, Dad and the two young! It really is a treat to see such elusive birds only a couple of feet away!

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