• Guest post: Spring bees

    Our resident bee expert, Rosie Earwaker, is looking forward to warmer weather and the wildlife it brings...

    A reason to smile

    On the milder days at this time of year, any excuse and I’ll be outside searching for bees. A sign that spring is on its way, heralded by these little creatures, will not fail to put a smile on my face. After the long winter months, I’m not even fussy about it; any insect will do, from the flittering…

    • 27 Feb 2017
  • Put the wild into your pancake day

    It’s that time of year again. Tuesday 28 March will be the once-a-year day on which families up and down the UK can be found frying, flipping and frying again as they work their ways through a pile of eggs, syrups and lemons. My household is no exception. 

    Pancake day, also known as Shrove Tuesday, is the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, and was traditionally the feast before the fast - using up all…

    • 24 Feb 2017
  • The wood life

    There are many beautiful sounds birds make in the morning. I’m sure most of you reading this will be familiar with the dawn chorus, one of the top wildlife phenomena of the year, kicking off as early as when the days start lengthening after Christmas. But the sound-scape I’ve been enjoying recently as I get out of my car in the morning is a little more subtle.

    Bleary eyed, I emerge to drumming. Two great…

    • 23 Feb 2017
  • Who doesn't love an owl?

    Feeling envious of Jack’s encounter with the little owls that I’ve yet to see in the quarry opposite The Lodge, I thought I’d keep the owl theme going with a blog of my own – and make me feel a bit better about missing the little owls in the process…

    I’m not having a lot of luck with great grey shrikes this winter. I’ve “dipped” two now in recent weeks, but the good thing about spending…

    • 20 Feb 2017
  • Little owl lookout

    As far as job benefits go, having unfettered access to a nature reserve must rank pretty highly. It’s certainly something I’d put a high value on, as I’ve found it helps a lot with stress or with helping me gather my thoughts. I walk almost every lunchtime; sometimes just meandering around the reserve for some fresh air and a screen break. But sometimes there’s an objective to the walk.

    News comes…

    • 16 Feb 2017
  • Is it spring yet?

    Snowdrops appear in January, leaf break is underway by mid month and the dawn chorus starts in earnest soon after Christmas with great tits, blackbirds, mistle thrushes and song thrushes tuning up and improving by the day.

    Bewick’s swans start to migrate back to Siberia in February and pink-footed geese (below) head to Iceland, queen bumblebees emerge and frogs pop up their heads in ponds.

    It might be the middle…

    • 13 Feb 2017
  • 3 Free Ways to a Wild Family February

    I’ll admit it. This isn’t my favourite time of year. I envy any species that hibernates… If I had my way, I’d prefer to curl up sometime in early January with my tail over my nose, and snooze right through until about April. 

    The excitement of the festive season has evaporated, along with our entire household recreation budget. It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s dark (and often icy or stormy, too). The…

    • 11 Feb 2017
  • My sights are set on butterflies

    I started at the RSPB a couple of years ago with just a bit of birding knowledge and some other wildlife basics. Since then I’ve learnt loads about all nature through my work. It’s the number one bit of experience I’ll take away from my time here, as even basic knowledge of the natural world is declining rapidly as young people become further disconnected from nature.

    Each year I set a target for myself…

    • 9 Feb 2017
  • A fat ball first

    As a relative Big Garden Birdwatch veteran of 20+ years, I didn’t expect to see something I’ve never seen before on my one hour watch.

    That is exactly what happened though. Overall my numbers were down on last year – the flock of house sparrows that numbered around 35 individuals in 2016 only numbered seven this year; there was a handful of blackbirds, just one starling, twos of blue and great tits, seven…

    • 6 Feb 2017
  • Family time x 3 for the Big Garden Birdwatch

    Well, turns out that the perfect respite from a hectic family weekend is to spend an hour sitting still and gazing out of the window. We enjoyed the Birdwatch so much that we did it three times! 

    We did an hour on Saturday morning, then another one that afternoon because my teenage stepdaughter popped round and was disappointed to have missed out. 

    Then we did a third hour-long session on Monday, when things were quieter…

    • 3 Feb 2017
  • Big Garden Birdwatch - No garden? No problem

    I don’t have a garden. But what I do have is a graveyard. My Big Graveyard Birdwatch didn’t kick-off until half one, after spending a lazy morning fending off the cold in bed with a cuppa. I feel lucky living where I do, as I hear or see birds every morning without fail. Whether in the paddock opposite my front door or just by my shed, there’s always a chirp, so I was pretty confident that I could tick off some top birds…

    • 3 Feb 2017