Newsletter November 2013
How to help insects to survive the colder winter
The leaves on the trees are starting to change their colours, trees are laden with ripe fruits,
most summer bird visitors, such as blackcaps and redstarts, are starting to migrate south,
squirrels are busy hiding their winter food storage and temperatures at night are below 10°C.
The colder winter months are approaching. But what do insects do during the colder winter
People might think that most insects simply die and kind of magically reappear again next
spring. Some might know that certain insects hibernate in their larval stages, but most people
are not aware that their gardens are full of insects during the coldest period. Spiders will hide in
leaf litter or evergreen plants such as ivy. Some butterflies overwinter as adults in sheds, tree
holes or in your attic while some insects can survive in the snow. But these days, old or dead
trees with holes, or crevices are hard to find. Piles of leaf litter in gardens are considered as
untidy, while new, energy-efficient buildings no longer have room for insects as every little
opening is sealed.
As insects have decreased drastically in numbers in recent years, it has become more and more
important to help them survive the cold winter months. This will ensure that they can still
provide us with their free beneficial services (often referred to as ecosystem services), such as
pest control or pollination, the following spring.
One very popular method to do so is by building an insect hotel. This can mean anything from
wood logs piled up, an old bird box filled with straw or an old tin can filled with hollow twigs.
Even pinecones provide shelter. You can combine all these options and build one big insect hotel,
which can end up looking like a small piece of art. If you need some inspiration, natur&ëmwelt
has an insect hotel at Kockelscheuer that you can explore.
Here are some options you can use:
These are natural burrows made by solitary bees into exposed soil walls.
You can recreate such habitat by filling a box with mud. All kinds of insects
will hibernate in it or lay eggs in it in the spring.
Drill some holes into piled wood logs, which will be used by spiders, wasp
and solitary bees to protect themselves against the frost. With a bit of luck,
a wren might use them as a nesting site the following spring.
By piling old tiles and making sure to always leave some narrow gaps
between them you create ideal shelters for adult butterflies, which seek
shelter here and await the arrival of spring. You could even have
toads, an excellent helper when it comes to keeping fly numbers down,
seeking shelter here.
... Build Your Own Bird Feeder
Sunday, 15 December 2013 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM (CET)
Venue: Haus vun der Natur, Kockelscheuer
Want to build your own bird feeder? Want to see
typical garden birds up close? Then join the
natur&ëmwelt English-speaking Section on our winter
ringing session at the bird feeder to see for yourself
how many different kind of birds you could attract to
your own garden.
We need a minimum of 10 registered children / young
people to run the event. The cost for the event is 15 €
If you would like to make a donation, please make a bank
transfer to: CCPL LU89 1111 0789 9941 0000
mentioning "COL - Central ornithologique Luxembourg,
Barn Owl Project".
For more information and to register:
GNU Licence: Algont uit nl
From March onwards, a
course (at no cost) will take
place on a regular basis.
The objective is to learn
together as a group how best
to work with the honeybee.
If you are interested, please
We are also looking for
• Beekeeping equipment that is no longer being used that we could buy or
give to one of the persons who attended the 2013 demonstration course;
• Experienced beekeepers who would be willing to be mentors.
Please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
This was a “Day in Nature”
Organic farm visit: Kass-Haff in Rollingen
Extracted and adapted from a text written by: Zoe Upton and Marie Coveliers (Telstar
The farmer talked to us about his organic farm and what bio means. He explained
that on organic farms, they don’t use chemicals.
We asked him how old the farm was and he said it had been established sometime
between 1650 and 1700 so it is very old! It’s been in his family all that time.
Then we went to look at the guinea pigs and rabbits in their hutches and we petted
them. And we even got to see a calf that was born that morning! We saw it stand up
for the first time…
… and many more wonderful things:
pigs, goats, horses...
We had a wonderful time and learned a lot!
We hope that we will be able to go there again and we hope you will go there too!
The complete article can be found here:
If you would be interested to come to our next visit of an organic farm, please contact
This was a “Day in Nature”
Birds of the Ösling region
We began our excursion to Ösling wetland from the small village church of Troine. At
the church steps our guides Mikis and Marie told us about the local nature and birds
which we could see, if we were lucky, since the weather was quite drizzly. Then our
large group of bird enthusiasts started the walk towards the wetlands. First there
were several birds of prey like common Buzzards, Sparrow Hawk and a Red Kite
couple. Also a Grey Heron flew past us. Soon a weird looking dark shape appeared in
the sky. We managed to have a good look of it through our binoculars and confirmed
that it was a Black Stork. That really was the high point of our excursion as there are
currently only about 15 pairs nesting in the whole of Luxembourg.
As we continued the weather improved. Nature was beautiful, there were cows
mooing loudly and as the sun appeared so did the butterflies that appreciated all the
flowers growing in the meadow. Regularly somebody enthusiastically told us that he
has a bird like Wheatear in the binoculars, as also the birds became more active.
We hoped to make a round trip but a bull in the field which we needed to cross made
us change our plans and we headed back the same way. We noticed a small bird in
the distance that was trying to look like part of a tree.
With a good telescope we unmasked it to be a Spotted Flycatcher. A flock of
Lapwings flew past us and we saw several Whinchats balancing on the fences.
Our successful four hour birding trip finished at the church where we were greeted
by a Black Redstart and a Rooster (weathervane) on the church steeple.
Panu Pietikäinen, 13 years
If you would like to donate to
the project, please select
"Wetlands" listed under
"Project" on the web site:
or via bank transfer to CCPL
LU89 1111 0789 9941 0000
and mentioning “Wetlands".
This was a “Day in Nature”
The swallow roost
People like swallows, and swallows like, er, cows — but also people...
There were 35 people down at the Schlammwiss reed beds at Munsbach on
the evening of Wednesday, 21 August. And something like 15 000 swallows.
And a ...Hobby, so 14 999 of those swallows eventually got to bed. By the
time the last swallow had turned in, it was blue-black dark, and the orange
full moon was rising. Cue a bit of poetry...
It’s always great to be part of birds’ lives, and nowhere do you feel so much
a part of their lives as at a swallow roost. It’s just a bit melancholy to know
that the swallows are gone, and we are battening down the hatches to face
winter without them.
Many thanks to all those swallow-watchers who made generous donations
to the wetlands conservation fund. All the money has been handed over to
David Crowther, committee member, natur&ëmwelt English-speaking
Translations and Communication & marketing
Translations - Looking for further volunteers:
There are still more pages to translate to provide further information to our English-speaking
members. You do not need to be a professional translator to help us!
Tools can do a lot of the work: http://translate.google.com; http://www.linguee.com/
Communication and marketing
We are looking for 2 people to help us in our communication and marketing, such as
informing our mailing list of our events using online tools (e.g. mailchimp, eventbrite).
Do you know anyone who could help?
Would you like to contribute? Contact us: email@example.com
Membership – your support is crucial
Help to protect the luxembourgish wildlife:
Improve habitats for birds and other wildlife; protect plants; maintain hedges, etc.
Support events organised by the English section:
Excursions, seminaries, courses and conferences such as:
1) Guided birdwatching walks; 2) visits to LIFE projects (e.g. the fresh water mussel
rearing station); and 3) "Get Fit by Nature" (e.g. for the Grey Partridge)
We also offer:
- English online newsletters with news and English events,
- Regulus magazine: 4 issues per year with reports and information on the
protection of nature with articles in German and some in French
- A shop offering – nature related products in the House of Nature in Kockelscheuer
Options for membership:
12€ /year and a donation, if you wish
Family 20€ /year and a donation, if you wish
Putting your donations to good use
HfN collects money, and uses it to purchase and manage land in the interests of the natural
fauna and flora. It has agreements (conventions) with the government, under which it employs
people to do management and improvement work. The state also makes targeted contributions
to specific large-scale projects. In the main, though, the trust finances its work through
voluntary donations: from firms, associations, clubs, natur&ëmwelt sections like us, and
individuals. All contributions are acknowledged in the natur&ëmwelt membership magazine
‘Regulus’. If you pay tax to the Luxembourg state, you can cumulate and offset charitable
donations, e.g. to the conservation trust.
HfN sometimes receives land in bequest. Generally speaking, though, its negotiators buy up odd
parcels of land throughout the country, either privately or at auction. Some of this land may
already be a natural habitat; some just needs a bit of improvement to make it more interesting
to nature. Sometimes, though, the land is in the middle of farmed or forested countryside, so
it’s simply held in trust, as a hedge against any present or future plans which might be inimical
HfN has a few showpiece sites, some of which we’ll be visiting over the coming months and
years. It’s a surprisingly big landowner, but its owned land is scattered throughout the country.
This gives it the advantage of having a finger in most development pies.
The trust is well managed. You can be sure that whatever donations — land or money — you
make to it will be put to excellent use, for birds, for nature in general, and ultimately for us all,
present and future generations.
The White Stork
The arrival of a new breeding bird in Luxembourg
By Patric Lorgé
Useful little critters, by Marie Kayser
Grapes & Wasps
With the recent grape harvest, it is useful to recall the function of the European wasp on the grapes
If you have questions on wasps, please contact our nature consultation
Other English Articles
Some English content can also be found on www.naturemwelt.lu
Our Future Events
You can find all our upcoming events here:
Coordinator for the section:
Mr. François Benoy,
Tel. +352 29 04 04 15
route de Luxembourg, Kockelscheuer, L-1899,
Ms. Laura Gouvras, Ms. Sou Ellen Iatridi,
Ms. Beatrice Eiselt, Ms. Marie Kayser,
Ms. Mea Shepard, Ms. Marianne Thiry,
Mrs. Pam Tunney,
Mr. Mikis Bastian, Mr. Marc Thiel,
Mr. David Crowther, Mr. John Park