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natur&ëmwelt English-speaking Section Newsletter 2013_11


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natur&ëmwelt English-speaking Section Newsletter 2013_11

  1. 1. Newsletter November 2013 English-speaking Section
  2. 2. How to help insects to survive the colder winter months 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 months? 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.
  3. 3. 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.
  4. 4. What is ‘Fit by Nature’? Stay fit: It is an alternative way to stay fit and to volunteer some of your time for nature. & Protect biodiversity: It is a work program to protect biodiversity in Luxembourg. Enjoy a day out in the field, together with other people, while doing some important work for the protection of wildlife in Luxembourg. What to wear: boots with a good grip, preferably waterproof, old clothes that you do not mind getting smoky from the fire, and, preferably clothes that are not polyester as hot ash may settle on your clothes. What to bring: gloves (if you have them), drinking water, hot drink, a change of clothes, particularly if the weather is wet Photo © . The complete calendar of Fit by Nature events can be found on the web page and in the pdf file “Download: dépliant” found here:
  5. 5. Fit by Nature... … for the Grey Partridge Saturday, 23 November 2013 from 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM Saturday, 8 February 2014 from 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM Photo © SICONA The area between the towns of Brouch and Bech is one of the last known places in Luxembourg where the Grey Partridge (Perdix perdix) breeds. The natur&ëmwelt English-speaking Section is organising a "Get Fit by Nature" to clear part of a site to open it up to create a wildflower meadow surrounded by a diverse hedge row, which will provide shelter and a barrier against agricultural fields. If you are a student working towards your Mérite Jeunesse, this event can be counted towards your Service hours. 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". For more information and to register:
  6. 6. Youth Event... ... 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 € per child. 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
  7. 7. Beekeeping From March onwards, a beekeeping demonstration 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 register here ekeeping-demonstrationcourse-tickets-8849251349 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; and • Experienced beekeepers who would be willing to be mentors. Please contact us:
  8. 8. 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 Scouts) 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
  9. 9. 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. (continued)
  10. 10. 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: -an-emwelt_Make-adonation-to-ourfoundation.78-1-0.html or via bank transfer to CCPL LU89 1111 0789 9941 0000 and mentioning “Wetlands".
  11. 11. 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 the treasurer. David Crowther, committee member, natur&ëmwelt English-speaking Section
  12. 12. Volunteering: 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:; 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:
  13. 13. 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: Single 12€ /year and a donation, if you wish Family 20€ /year and a donation, if you wish
  14. 14. 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 to nature. 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.
  15. 15. Further information The White Stork The arrival of a new breeding bird in Luxembourg By Patric Lorgé Spiders 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 Our Future Events You can find all our upcoming events here: .
  16. 16. Contacts: Coordinator for the section: Mr. François Benoy, f[dot]benoy[at]naturemwelt[dot]lu Tel. +352 29 04 04 15 route de Luxembourg, Kockelscheuer, L-1899, Luxembourg Committee: 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