Archive for April, 2019


Manchester’s urban green spaces and parks provide homes to a vast array of wildlife, and The Friends of Fletcher Moss Park and Gardens are inviting everyone to lend a hand at their BioBlitz event on Saturday 18 May – an exciting race against the clock to discover, identify and record as many species of bird, insect, mammal and plant life as possible.

The BioBlitz will have a particular focus on the insects that fly, buzz, wriggle and crawl in the habitats around the park and within the nearby Mersey Valley, and there will be experts on hand from a number of organisations including Manchester Museum and the RSPB to help identify what is found. The data recorded will be shared with Greater Manchester Local Records Centre and the National Biodiversity Network and will be used to measure the impact of future conservation work, undertaken in partnership with Manchester City Council, at the site. 

At the start of the event there will be a rare opportunity to observe nocturnal insect species up close, and throughout the day there will be guided walks suitable for all ages that will showcase the range of species that can be found at Fletcher Moss Park. More information about the times of the walks can be found by visiting rspb.org.uk/events and searching for events in Greater Manchester.

Families can drop in to take part in fun activities, including pond dipping, minibeast hunting and worm charming – these activities count towards the RSPB’s Wild Challenge, a digital rewards scheme to encourage families to get closer to nature all year round by completing fun activities that will help wildlife in their own back garden and the great outdoors. For more information about the Wild Challenge, visit rspb.org.uk/wildchallenge

Venue: Fletcher Moss Park and Gardens. Use the Millgate Lane entrance, M20 2SW. Activities will be signposted upon entering the park.

Contact: For more information, email Mersey.Valley@rspb.org.uk

 For further information and to arrange an interview, please contact:

Jenny Hackland, Mersey Valley Project Officer on 07540 121 309 or email jenny.hackland@rspb.org.uk


Annabel Rushton, RSPB Regional Communications Manager, on 01524 581026 or 07793 902 590 or email annabel.rushton@rspb.org.uk

Follow us on Twitter: @RSPBManchester

Like us on Facebook: RSPB North West England

 Editor’s notes

1.     Manchester City Council and the RSPB are developing an exciting new vision to connect people with nature in the Mersey Valley. The two organisations are working closely with local people and groups, such as the Friends of Fletcher Moss and Parsonage Gardens, Didsbury, to explore ways of encouraging people to do something positive for wildlife, reconnect with nature and help look after the Mersey Valley by getting actively involved.

2.     The RSPB is the UK’s largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We play a leading role in BirdLife International, a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations.

 3.     The RSPB’s Wild Challenge is free, it’s open to everyone and there are things to do at any time of the year. Get closer to nature all year round by completing fun activities that will help wildlife close to home and further afield, and collect rewards too! Visit rspb.org.uk/wildchallenge

 4.     The Friends of Fletcher Moss meet on a regular basis and organise practical volunteering session in partnership with Manchester City Council to improve the park. The group welcomes new members, if you would like to get involved or to find out more, contact Alan Hill at awhill@globalnet.co.uk

5.     If you’d like to change how you hear from us, it’s easy to do. Just call us on 01524 581026 (Monday to Friday, 9am–5pm), email annabel.rushton@rspb.org.uk or write to Communications Manager, RSPB, 7.3.1 Cameron House, White Cross Estate, South Road, Lancaster, LA14XF.

 The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity in England and Wales 207076, in Scotland SC037654.

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The Manchester Museum’s huge insect collections are used in many different ways, for instance, for research projects by staff and students of the University of Manchester. The project briefly described below is being carried out now by Lydia Koutrouditsou, a Greek Erasmus student under the supervision of Robert Nudds from FMBH.


Lydia Koutrouditsou is selecting a specimen of Swallowtail for taking a photo; the Manchester Museum.

Robert and Lydia take photographs of the museum specimens of swallowtail butterflies (both dorsal and ventral) in order to analyse and calculate their wing shapes using a technique called geometric morphometrics. The researchers are interested in two British butterfly species: Swallowtail, Papilio machaon (incl. the subspecies britannicus), and Scarce Swallowtail, Iphiclides podalirius podalirius. Both species are known to be sexually dimorphic in terms of overall size, with females being the larger. What Robert and Lydia want to investigate is whether the butterflies also differ in the shape of their wings and their tails. If it is found they are different, the study will then go on to look at the aerodynamic consequences of these shape changes.


Robert Nudds is taking a photo of a Swallowtail butterfly; the Manchester Museum.

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