Welcome to the naturalist's shack - a place to store a few pictures and links on local and global habitats from a personal perspective.
I've been thinking a lot about microscopes for naturalists lately.
Especially when first exploring wildlife in close up, a good low to medium power stereomicroscope is hard to beat. Useful magnifications are about x7 - x40 (or greater). Most stereo microscopes offer more than one magnification, either in set steps, or as a zoom. From a naturalist's point of view, this type of microscope is useful for examining insects and other mini-beasts, looking at fine details of plants (including mosses) and examining bone and other remains, for instance in owl pellets.
Seen dancing around and above the upper leaves of a young oak. Wooded part of Blacka Moor in the Peak District..
I think it's Green Longhorn Adela reaumurella, but I haven't confirmed it yet.
Platt's Wood is a community woodland project in Hayfield It is a mixture of wet woodland and grassland on a moderately sloping hillside, previously managed for grazing and now being planted up as a community woodland. You can view the project's Facebook page here.
Moors for the Future have a new Community Science Project, looking for signs of mammals in the uplands, the Tails of the Uplands Survey. (Follow the link for details of how to get involved and training courses available.)
Sphagna seen on Moors for the Future training day
Along with a team of field surveyors from the MoorLIFE 2020 project, I attended a training day to identify species of Sphagnum (Bog-moss) in the field. Field surveyors will then be able to locate and map these species. This information will then be used to verify classification from remote sensors using new techniques such as multi-spectral sensors placed on UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles).
Species of Sphagnum are very important as the main species responsible for peat creation, which locks up large stores of carbon. Particularly in the Peak District, many of these mosses were badly damaged by atmospheric pollution following the industrial revolution.
The Wildflower Key
The wild flower guide that I use most often is 'The Wildflower Key' by Francis Rose. Although it is possible to just look at the (excellent) illustrations to identify the wild flowers you find, you'll get more out of it if you use the keys to help you make the correct identification.
Keys can seem intimidating if you haven't used them before, but once you get over the initial learning curve, you quickly realise how useful they are. A key will actually make you look at the the way the flower is put together, and teach you to notice features you might otherwise overlook such as the arrangement of the leaves on the stem.
As it was a beautifully sunny day on Sunday 23 April, a walk out with the camera seemed like a good idea, so I decided on a stroll along the Peak Forest Canal, starting at New Mills.
There were a few butterflies to be seen, Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines), Comma (Polygonia c-album) and Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria).