What's going on Our blog Nature news - 14th September Header photo - Credit to Martin Green We’re getting into a much quieter time for nature, with the migrant birds on their way out and lots of flowers and insect species going off our radar very soon. But there is a lot which is going on behind the scenes all year round. Underneath our feet, mycorrhizal fungi and trees have their very own ‘wood wide web’ – a network of interconnecting roots that pass sugars, nutrients and ‘information’ back and forth – the video below explains it way better than I can, but basically it’s utterly genius and is happening all year round (sadly we can’t take pretty photos of it though, as we can’t see it…) Moths of September There are still moths about as the nights draw in – this month you might see the brightly coloured canary shouldered thorn and it’s orange/yellow colouring, blending into the autumn leaves. Confusingly, there are several, similar looking species – the dusky thorn, august thorn and September thorn – all of which you’ll see in woodlands, parks and gardens. Canary shouldered thorn - Credit to Martin Rogers The clue is in the name with common marbled carpet moths – they are very common but, despite being varied in colour, they generally camouflage very well so you will struggle to see them a lot of the time. Many have a rusty coloured band round their middle - they’ll pop up in gardens and most rural areas and their larvae love willow, birch and bramble. Silver y moths are named after the metallic y-marking on their forewings. They’re the most common, immigrant moth in the UK and you’ll see them pretty much everywhere, from the coast to your garden, from late spring all the way through to the end of October. Their numbers are normally peaking around now, so look out for them around heathers, lavender and buddleias. Marbled carpet and silver y moths- Credit to Martin Rogers Possibly one of the best camouflaged moths we have is the angle shades moth. It looks very much like a dead leaf, so it’s well protected from predators at this time of year, as we go into autumn. If you have a keen eye, you can see them in most habitats and they normally peak in late summer/early autumn, when migrant moths join them from Europe. The centre barred sallow is mainly seen in woodlands and around hedgerows, throughout august and September. Their caterpillars feed on ash – very handy in an era when so many of the trees are dying and not serving their previous purpose anyway. Angle shades and centre barred sallow moths - Credit to Martin Rogers News from our sites We’ve started clearing willow from the reedbeds in the Wetlands - partly so that birds of prey don't have handy perches to hunt down our wetland birds and also so that the area doesn't dry out and become woodland. Obviously woodland is a great habitat in itself but we manage our reedbeds specifically to keep them free of woody species (others may include willow and alder in their reedbed mix, depending on their aims for their site - in the Millennium Country Park we keep both habitats separate). Our reedbeds have attracted bearded tits, marsh harries and bitterns (see header photo) in the past and that's our ultimate goal - if you hear a bittern's boom in future, it may well be because we cut down the willow this autumn! We’re putting a new culvert in over at Wiles Wood, in Gateway Woods in the next few weeks, which will help access for pedestrians and horse riders (and the occasional tractor in hay season) and soon we’ll also be clearing out the sand martin wall and finding out how many holes were nested in this year. Sadly we haven’t been able to keep the same kind of eye on it this year as we normally do due to lockdown but last year we had about 20 holes in use so it’ll be interesting to see how numbers have changed with the Park having been so much busier for the past 6 months. We’ll keep you posted! Sign up for the latest news Make sure you sign up to our newsletter to hear about what we're spotting on our sites and get some hand picked inspiration for things to do during lockdown, and keep letting us know what you've seen (click here to show us) either on our sites on your daily walk, or in your gardens!