• July brings us meadows and wasps

    Tomorrow, Saturday 2nd July, is National Meadows Day, organised by Plantlife. Meadows are such an important part of our countryside, which need our help now more than ever! Meadows are a very special habitat, vital for a great variety of insects and small rodents along with birds such as flycatchers, larks, thrushes, finches and birds of prey. But did you know that meadows are also great for carbon storage, with research…

    • 1 Jul 2022
  • Making a home for amphibians in our gardens

    Our wonderful pond at Flatford Wildlife Garden is home to many invertebrates, plants and amphibians, including newts. There are three species of UK newt - the smooth (or common) newt, the palmate newt and the great crested newt. Reaching lengths of 17cm, the great crested newt is our largest species, with females growing larger than the males. The UK population of great crested newts is under threat and is of international…

    • 21 Jun 2022
  • Summer is here and so are the dragonflies!

    This is the time of year to spend some time by the pond at RSPB Flatford Wildlife Garden, or down by the nearby River Stour, looking out for newly emerging dragonflies and damselflies. Dragonflies were some of the first winged insects to evolve, around 300 million years ago. Back then, the higher oxygen levels enabled them to grow to huge sizes, with wingspans of up to 75cm! Modern day dragonflies belong to the order O…

    • 7 Jun 2022
  • Happy World Bee Day!

    On this rather soggy World Bee Day, we celebrate these hard-working creatures, which sadly face enormous threats both globally and locally. Worldwide, there are around 20000 species of bee, and their pollinating powers not only help maintain global biodiversity, but also sustain the production of food vital to all of us. According to the United Nations, about 84% of crops for human consumption depend on pollinators.

    • 20 May 2022
  • Giving nature a home in our own gardens

    This month is No Mow May, when we are asked to leave our lawnmowers in the shed for a month to benefit the wildlife in and around our gardens. As the grass grows, the potential for pollination and shelter for many species increases, giving us lots of exciting wildlife spotting opportunities on our own doorstep! On 21st May, all participants who have signed up on the Plantlife website will be asked to complete a simple…

    • 5 May 2022
  • Blue tit NestCam

    It’s a busy time in the nest boxes at Flatford Wildlife Garden, with the cameras revealing all the comings and goings of the blue tits to our visitors. With 7 eggs laid in one and 9 in the other, we’re sure to see lots of activity! Blue tits have one of the largest clutch sizes of all birds and can lay up to 16 eggs, though most lay between 8 and 12. Once the penultimate egg has been laid, the female starts…

    • 29 Apr 2022
  • The welcome emergence of butterflies

    Although we’ve since been surprised by April snow, it was lovely to see so many butterflies emerging in the warm, sunny days of late March. Five UK species (Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Comma and Peacock) overwinter as adults in sheds, garages, hollow trees or between foliage, waking up as the temperatures rise. You may well have already spotted some of these enjoying the early sunshine.

    Other species…

    • 7 Apr 2022
  • #watchyourstep

    As spring is springing and we are out and about please be aware birds are nesting and some birds nest on or near the ground. You can protect them by sticking to the paths and keeping your dog on a lead.

    Most are very well hidden for protection against crows and foxes but did you know there was a pheasant’s nest just outside the ladies toilets at Flatford a year or two ago, not the quietest place! We’ve also seen them…

    • 13 Mar 2022
  • Wildlife is beginning to stir in our gardens!

    Spring is just around the corner. Plants and wildlife are just starting to feel the warmth of the sun and wake up. It's time we start to think about our gardens for Spring and Summer, and how we can help wildlife to thrive. RSPB has helpful gardening advice for March

    One of our favourite events at the garden is blue tits and great tits laying eggs and raising their young in our boxes that have a live camera feed…

    • 4 Mar 2022
  • Valentine's Day at Flatford

    Happy Valentine's Day!

    Birds normally associated with Valentine's day are Lovebirds or Agapornis (an African parrot) or lovey-dovey doves but my favourite are these swans seen on the Stour at Flatford who come back year after year.

    Have you been back to the wildlife garden yet? We are open until 27 February everyday for the Essex and Suffolk half terms and our Snowdrop weekends on 19/20 and 26/27 February. The…

    • 13 Feb 2022
  • It's time to count the birds!

    Every year the RSPB asks people to take part in the Big Garden Bird Watch. It’s really good fun and as simple as counting the birds you see in your garden, from your balcony or in your local park for one hour between 28 and 30 January 2022. In 2021, more than one million people took part in Big Garden Birdwatch, all coming together to look out for birds and to find out how they are faring. Why not join in and be one in…

    • 20 Jan 2022
  • Helping hedgehogs

    The team at the Flatford Wildlife Garden have enjoyed being involved with the Dedham Vale AONB led Hedgehog Friendly Village project with East Bergholt. Further information about the project can be found here

    Earlier in the year we ran a free trail around the RSPB wildlife garden with information about hedgehogs to encourage helping them in our own gardens. The RSPB website also has lots of advice about helping hedgehogs.

    As you may know…

    • 14 Dec 2021
  • Celebrate your inner Robin on our adventure trail this Christmas


     
     (Credit Aardman/Netflix).  

    We’re delighted to be partnering with Netflix and Aardman on Robin Robin, a half-hour, stop-motion, festive story for the whole family, about a young robin trying to fit in. It’s debuting on Netflix on 24 November – get the date in your diary! 

    To celebrate, we’re inviting you to join exclusive Robin Robin-themed adventure trails right here at the RSPB this Christmas season. 

    Over 30…

    • 15 Nov 2021
  • Halloween Pumpkins.

    Now that Halloween is here, it’s time to carve the pumpkin! But before you get set to cut out the classic pumpkin face, perhaps you’d like to try a new design this year?  Group of three young girls birdwatching from viewing screen alongside seasonal pumpkin whilst enjoying special Halloween trail, RSPB Strumpshaw Fen Nature Reserve, Norfolk, October. Photo: Phil Barnes (rspb-images.com)

    Take a look at these inspirational…

    • 29 Oct 2021
  • International Bat Week gets us in the mood for Halloween! ... from Sunday 24th October.

    Bat Week runs from 24th - 31st October to raise awareness of these amazing nocturnal creatures we have little contact with. They are the only flying mammals, have good eyesight (contrary to belief) and can live for up to 30 years!

     Horseshoe BatBen Andrew (rspb-images.com)

    Bats are an important part of our eco system pollinating plants and spreading seed through their nutrient rich droppings, and they reduce the need for…

    • 22 Oct 2021
  • Ideas for creating a Sensory Garden on World Sight Day 2021

    Thursday 14th October is World Sight Day, a global event bringing awareness to vision impairment, blindness and eye health. For humans, sight can be the sense we most strongly rely on to the extent that we perhaps may not give enough attention to the joy our other senses can bring to us. 

      Blue-tit on flowering honeysuckle: Ray Kennedy (rspb-images.com)

    When we talk about gardens and especially wildlife gardens, we focus very…

    • 13 Oct 2021
  • National Badger Day: Wednesday 6th October 2021.

    Wednesday 6th October is National Badger Day, a day to celebrate, learn about and potentially help one of the British Isles, oldest native wildlife species.

     Badger: Ben Andrew (rspb-images.com)

    They are our largest land-living carnivore that can live up to 14 years in the wild in a family group of 3 -14 individuals. Their setts can be quite extensive covering distances underground of anything from around 20 to 100 meters and…

    • 5 Oct 2021
  • Caring for October Garden Wildlife.

    As our autumn gardens change, so does the visiting wildlife. Pollinator numbers have diminished as they either dye off or prepare themselves for over wintering, amphibians become less visible as they seek out damp, dark shelters to hibernate in and even our birdlife changes. You may see more Jays about as they scavenge for acorns to feed on and store away for the winter. They can carry three or four at a time taking them…

    • 30 Sep 2021
  • Autumn Equinox & Chelsea Flower Show this September 2021

    We are familiar with the spring and autumn equinoxes. Our Autumn equinox occurred yesterday at about 8.20pm when the earth's equator in the northern hemisphere was directly below the centre of the sun making the length of daylight and darkness equal ... well, almost.

      Sunset over lagoon, Middleton Lakes RSPB reserve, Staffordshire. Photo: Colin Wilkinson (rspb-images.com)

    The word  Equinox is derived from the Latin words…

    • 23 Sep 2021
  • The Great Big Green Week 18th - 26th September.

    The Great Big Green Week starts today Saturday 18th September and runs all through next week.

     

    It’s the largest event for climate and nature ever seen in the UK where thousands of events will take place across the country to highlight the urgency of climate change and get communities taking action towards preserving their green spaces. You can find the nearest events near you on the Big Green Week interactive map

    • 18 Sep 2021
  • Hawk-moth caterpillars.

    Although we have had butterflies and moths fluttering about our gardens over the last 3/4 months or so, there are still some rather large caterpillars about. Have you ever encountered a Hawk-moth caterpillar?  

      Elephant hawk-moth caterpillar. Photo: Nancy Brown

    They're quite spectacular and some are 9/10cm long; the Deaths head hawk-moth can grow as large as 12.5cm! but they are rarely seen as it's actually a migrant moth…

    • 11 Sep 2021
  • Organic September 2021

    It's Organic September! a month long incentive to raise awareness of organic practices and products.

      photo: Rosemary Despres (rspb-images.com)

    "Organic" refers to agricultural practices that actively work with nature as much as possible for environmentally friendly production using crop rotation, natural manures and embracing natural pest control. The concept avoids the use of artificial pesticides, fertilisers…

    • 3 Sep 2021
  • Single flowered Dahlias and pollination.

    Autumn Dahlias are magnificent at this time of year, they are fantastic border fillers to put in gaps or areas of the garden where there is little colour or fading vegetation.

      Nancy Brown: Flatford Wildlife Garden Visitor Centre & Bishop of llandaff dahlias in bloom.

    It is the Single-flowered Dahlias that are beneficial to our bees, butterflies and other garden pollinators because they expose the centre of the plant where…

    • 27 Aug 2021
  • When to cut the wild- flower meadow grass - tips from RSPB's Adrian Thomas.

    So many of us were keen to experiment with wild-flower meadow areas in our gardens this year; allowing the grasses to grow long, sewing wild flower seeds, or seedlings ... but many of these areas are now past their best. In late summer, these wilder areas evolve to look somewhat brown and scraggly rather than fresh and vibrant! If like me, you still have some wild flowers blooming, it can feel a bit contradictory to cut the…

    • 19 Aug 2021
  • UK Wildlife Gardens to visit.

    Although there's lots to see and do at the Flatford Wildlife Garden, there are of course many other Wildlife Gardens to visit throughout the UK.

      Photo: David Levenson (rspb-images.com)

    Even though the early flourish of romantic summer wild flowers such as cuckoo flower, oxeye daisies, cowslips and campions may have bloomed and gone, there are many later flowering species to enjoy, still offering nectar for our garden pollinators…

    • 13 Aug 2021