• The importance of keeping bird feeders clean.

    With our bird food mounting up to encourage birds for the Big Garden Birdwatch and the cold wet weather, it’s easy to forget about the importance of bird feeder cleaning.

      Greenfinches: Richard Packwood (rspb-images.com)

    It’s the least enjoyable part of bird feeding but unfortunately, neglected food, wet conditions and bird droppings are the perfect environment for mould, mildew and bacteria to quickly develop.…

    • 16 Jan 2021
  • Get ready for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2021

    2021 is the 42nd annual Big Garden Birdwatch.

    It started in 1979 as an idea for activity for children to do in winter. The RSPB expected a few hundred participants but when the idea featured on Blue Peter, more than 34,000 children submitted results! Now of course, it’s not just for children, it’s for everyone including the most experienced ornithologists.

    In recent years, over half a million people have been…

    • 10 Jan 2021
  • New Year, old Christmas tree!

    Thoughts will soon be turning (if they haven’t already!) to disposal of this year’s old Christmas Tree… and there are many ways that it can be put to good use, especially for your garden and it’s wildlife.

       Goldcrest: Steve Round (rspb-images.com)

    Shake off and collect up the pine needles to use as a mulch for acid loving plants, they will appreciate the needle nutrients as they decompose. Branc…

    • 1 Jan 2021
  • Holly for Christmas, and wildlife!

    One of our favourite festive, decorative plants is also a favourite with wildlife in the garden.

     Blue-tit on Holly: Richard Bowler (rspb-images.com)

    Holly is beneficial to bees, caterpillars, moths as well as providing a great nesting environment for garden birds. It’s red berries are food for a variety of birds including blackbirds, mistle thrushes fieldfares as well as garden mice. The dried leaf litter on the ground…

    • 25 Dec 2020
  • Winter solstice and UK Owls.

    With Monday 21st December being the winter solstice and the shortest day, my thoughts have turned to our nocturnal wildlife and in particular our beautiful UK Owls.   Tawny Owl: Richard Brooks (rspb-images.com)

    The UK’s top 3 species in terms of numbers are the Tawny Owl estimated at 50,000 breeding pairs, the Little Owl: 5-6,000 pairs and the Barn Owl: approximately 4,000 pairs.

    Interestingly, the colour of an owl’s eyes…

    • 20 Dec 2020
  • Fresh clean water for birds through winter.

    Although many garden bird watching fans provide bird food through the winter, fresh, clean water is just as vital for bird’s survival through the cold.

     House Sparrow:: Ray Kennedy (rspb-images.com)

    Birds need to keep their feathers in good condition through preening, splashing and bathing in water so that the tiny contour feathers, close to the body can be fluffed up to create a layer of warm air. That’s why some birds…

    • 10 Dec 2020
  • Robins and Cards.

    The robin is one of the first icons that comes to mind when we think of the natural world and Christmas; and why is this?

       European Robin Erithacus rubecula, perched in hawthorn berries. Ray Kennedy (rspb-images.com)

    The popular theory is that postmen of Victorian Britain in the early 1900’s wore red and were soon nicknamed robins. The robin’s breast is of course orange but the bird was named “robin redbreast” years before…

    • 4 Dec 2020
  • National Tree Week Sat 28th - 6th December 2020.

    Starting this Saturday 28th Nov is the Uk's National Tree Week; a celebration and appreciation of British Trees and a drive to get planting through the winter season.

      English Oak: Oliver Smart (rspb-images.com)

    It began in 1975 as an incentive to replant British trees after the devastation of Dutch Elm Disease.

    Trees give us so much joy; to sit beneath, to sit on, to study, admire... their size, lifecycle, age and beauty…

    • 26 Nov 2020
  • Spring Bulbs... it's not too late!

    It’s not too late to plant spring bulbs in November.  

      RobinRay Kennedy (rspb-images.com)

    Although many shops may have sold out of their stock having had them on sale since perhaps August, there are many varieties available online. November is still a good month to get them into the ground, especially as the temperature at the moment remains mild for the time of year.

    Flowering spring bulbs are a welcome source of early…

    • 18 Nov 2020
  • All about Ivy.

    Most established gardens have Ivy growing somewhere, and depending on how much of it you have, where it is and it’s habit will depend on whether you view it as friend or foe. To some it’s an invasive nuisance and to others, it’s one of the best evergreen plants in the garden.

    From a wildlife point of view, Ivy is important as an invaluable source of food and shelter for a large number of insects, pollinators…

    • 11 Nov 2020
  • Bonfire Night 5th November.

    If you're a fan of fireworks on bonfire night, of course there won't be any big gatherings and spectacular displays this year so you may be thinking of having a little celebration at home.

      David Broadbent (rspb-images.com)

    Although we could all do with a lift and a bit of fun at the moment, do spare a thought for not only frightening pets, but also your garden wildlife. Mammals may flee the loud noises and run…

    • 4 Nov 2020
  • Sunday 1st November- last open day at the Wildlife Garden + Bats!

    More rain!! We don't need it but that's nature for us ... and it's a bit of a shame as it's a rather wet weekend for our last weekend open at the garden today 31st October and tomorrow 1st November.

      Robin: Nigel Blake (rspb-images.com)

    Our volunteers have been working hard through it all and we will still be there, the birds will be there and our flowering autumnal plants and colourful trees will still be there…

    • 31 Oct 2020
  • Shrubs for Garden Wildlife.

    Shrubs are plants that produce several woody stems above the ground at the centre of the plant and often grow to become medium / large quite structured shapes of up to 3 metres tall. Unlike annuals and perennials in the border that virtually disappear in winter, they provide size and structure in a garden even through the winter months with their woody skeletal shapes or evergreen leaves.

       Blue-tit sitting in Hawthorn. Oliver…

    • 23 Oct 2020
  • Flowering October.

    With all this rain, we may not have spent so much time out in our gardens recently but nature is still forging ahead and plants are still flowering!

              Photo's from the Flatford Wildlife Garden: Shirley Sampson.

    The Bishop of Llandaff dahlia is lighting up the borders at Flatford, not just with its vibrant colour but also with bees still searching for nectar which is in short supply at the moment.

    Most solitary bees…

    • 16 Oct 2020
  • Hibernation contemplation.

    October is the time when many of our garden wildlife species start preparing for hibernation including hedgehogsamphibiansbees, bats and butterflies.

      Hedgehog: Kevin Sawford (rspb-images.com)

    There are many things we gardeners can do to help our garden wildlife survive the winter. We can offer the right kind of supplementary food and keep feeding stations clean and well stocked!  Even when there's plenty of rain, clean drinking…

    • 10 Oct 2020
  • The Garden re-opens tomorrow! - 1st October 2020.

    Our Flatford Wildlife Garden is re-opening tomorrow: Thursday 1st October after months of closure! 

      Autumn leaves at Flatford Wildlife Garden: Nancy Brown

    The weather looks mixed on Thursday 1st Oct with sunshine and showers forecast in Flatford throughout the day. Please bring appropriate clothing and brollies with you as visitors will unfortunately not be permitted in the barn at present due to government guidelines. It will…

    • 30 Sep 2020
  • Flatford Wildlife Garden to re-open on 1st October.

    We are excited to be sharing the news that the Flatford Wildlife Garden will be re-opening again on Thursday 1st October.    Entrance to Flatford Wildlife Garden. Nancy Brown.

    The garden will be open every day from 10.30am-4pm right through October up to and including Sunday 1st November.

    Parking is available at the Flatford National Trust car park at a charge of £5 per car per day and entry to our wildlife garden just a…

    • 23 Sep 2020
  • Wildlife Gardening through September.

    Even when we are enjoying warm sunny days through September as we are now, we all feel that chill in the air first thing in the morning and as evening falls.

      Red Admiral butterfly on Pear. Kevin Sawford (rspb-images.com)

    In the garden, our thoughts can quickly turn to cutting back and tidying up in preparation for winter but try to hold back a little. There are so many insects still buzzing about in September searching for…

    • 18 Sep 2020
  • Grass Snakes and Slow worms.

    Have you seen a grass snake or a slow worm in your compost heap? Fear not, they are both completely harmless and both attracted to the warmth generated in the compost heap for their young. Grass Snakes are the UK’s only egg laying snake, they may lay a clutch of 10 – 40 white eggs: 2.5/3cm long.

    Slow worms which are legless lizards, are ovoviviparous meaning that they incubate their eggs internally. The eggs hatch…

    • 11 Sep 2020
  • Bacon and Books!

    September 5th is International Bacon Day and September 6th is National Read a Book Day; two very different things to ponder on/ appreciate this weekend but both can be associated with birds.

    I can’t remember the last time I saw any bacon rind hanging up in a garden for birds or think of any bird feeding friends mentioning it; my Grandma use to put it out for birds but is it a good idea? Raw fat is an excellent energy rich food…

    • 4 Sep 2020
  • Goldfinches.

    The goldfinch has to be one of our most celebrated garden birds with its cheerful, chirrupy song and bright colours. Even the most experienced and knowledgeable garden birdwatcher cannot help but feel a rush of joy when these birds are spotted in the garden.

      Goldfinches and Siskin: Richard Packwood (rspb-images.com)

    It can be difficult to tell the difference between the males and females as they both feature the goldfinch…

    • 26 Aug 2020
  • RSPB sites gradually re-opening.

    It’s frustrating for everyone, including the RSPB themselves that many of the RSPB reserves remain closed, or partly closed through the summer when that’s the time people want to visit the most!

    The organisation is still working out ways get sites open again to visitors in some capacity in a way that everyone can remain as safe as possible.

    You can find out which reserves you can visit and when on this link…

    • 20 Aug 2020
  • Ornamental Grasses.

    The subject of grasses being beneficial to wildlife can often focus on the “meadow” concept and the idea of giving your mower a rest to let the grass grow long and encouraging wild flowers to grow.

      Harvestman Spider: Jodie Randall (rspb-images.com)

    Although this is undoubtedly one of the most beneficial ways to encourage wildlife in the garden, it’s worth acknowledging that ornamental grasses that can be bought…

    • 14 Aug 2020
  • Taking care of garden plants and wildlife in hot weather.

    Phew! While we are wilting in this hot weather, so too are many of our garden plants and wildlife visitors. It’s a time to postpone some of our planned gardening activities and prioritise offering essential hydration to those in need in the garden.

      Greenfinch bathing: Mark Hamblin (rspb-images.com)

    It can be quite an eye opener as you look around your own garden through a heatwave to see which plants seem unaffected…

    • 8 Aug 2020
  • Drone flies and Hornet mimic hoverflies.

    A couple of days ago, I had my first encounter with a Hornet mimic hoverfly; as the name states, it's a hoverfly, mimicking a hornet.   

            Hornet Mimic Hoverfly: Nancy Brown

    It’s a fly that looks like a big bee… but not quite. At first, we thought it was some sort of hornet, but it didn’t look big enough, or quite like hornets that we’d seen before. After some online research, we discovered that it was a…

    • 2 Aug 2020