urban wildlife

Manchester Festival of Nature 2021: Pollinator Portraits competition

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Manchester Festival of Nature (MFoN), Sunday 27th June 2021

It’s been a strange time for festivals and events. Following 2019’s scorchingly hot event at Heaton Park, 2020’s Festival of Nature went entirely online with some great digital webinars and workshops, oh, and me with my first attempt at live-streaming some plant pressing. Best leave it to the professionals!

This year we again have some wonderful online content for everyone to enjoy, and we started early this year with twitter takeovers throughout the month of June.

https://twitter.com/i/events/1391444989322874883

On the day of the Festival, you can get to all the new content on our ‘main stage’ twitter account @MancNature. Also, if you are lucky enough to be taking a Sunday stroll through Heaton Park today, you might spot the Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s gazebo and chat to them about wildlife in the park.

This year, the Museum has supported the Manchester Nature Consortium Youth Panel to deliver their art competition for the Festival. Taking inspiration from the bee and insect themes of the Festival, the young people launched a Pollinator Portrait competition earlier this year. They must have faced a tough choice voting for the winners as the quality of entries was really good. The Youth Panel loved the Museum’s Beauty and the Beasts digital exhibition, so we decided to create an online exhibition to display all the works.

Head on over to our online gallery to see for yourself……..

Good wildlife spotting everyone!

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With everyone staying close to home, this year the wildlife spotting for the City Nature Challenge has been really urban. If you have more images taken over the weekend, you can still upload them now into iNaturalist and your sighting will be added into the count. Otherwise, it’s time to try and identify all those finds! Let’s see how many we can push to be research grade records.

I suspect we’ve had far more pavement weeds this year than we did last year. Certainly, last year the top three organisms recorded where blackbirds, harlequin ladybirds and wood pigeons. So far this year, our top three are cuckooflowers, Herb Robert and dandelions. Of course, although the weekend of wildlife spotting is over, we’ve now got time to make sure as many records as possible are properly identified, so that list could change.

Happily, although everyone was limited to gardens and short walks, the weather was much kinder than last year allowing us to really enjoy our local wildlife. There have been plenty of bee and butterfly garden visitors and the occasional bird to watch as well as all the plants. If you have enjoyed a weekend of wildlife recording, check out Greater Manchester’s Local Record’s Centre so that you can continue putting nature on the map. There’s also advice from the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside on how to improve your garden for wildlife. Click here to apply for a free downloadable booklet from the My Wild City Manchetser project.

The City Nature Challenge weekend has been popular across the country with over 4,000 people taking part and just under 60,000 observations made. If know of a city or region that would want to take part next year, then get in touch with the organisers. The City Nature Challenge was invented and is managed by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and California Academy of Sciences: https://citynaturechallenge.org/