• 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
  • Nectar rich flowering plants for butterflies in late summer.

    UK butterflies are on the wing from late March right through till October, so there is still lots of time to see them and offer nectar rich plants in the garden.

      Red Admiral Butterfly: Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)

    Gardener's world offer their top ten plants for butterflies including one of my favourite late flowering perennials: Verbena Bonariensis. It’s tall thin bluey-silvery stems poke up through everything else in the…

    • 27 Jul 2020
  • Wildlife Gardening ideas for August.

     As July is coming to a close and many early summer flowers have faded, it can be time to have a tidy up so that the garden doesn't start looking too "over" and brown, but it’s no means the end of summer colour!

      White tailed Bumbebee + Brimstone butterfly Kevin Sawford (rspb-images.com): Kevin Sawford (rspb-images.com)

    Of course, with any garden tidy up, it's most beneficial to wildlife if some of the…

    • 24 Jul 2020
  • Late summer and autumn dragonflies: Darters, the Migrant Hawker and Southern Hawker.

    Through mid- late summer and into the autumn, some of our commonly seen dragonflies are active in areas not only near water, but also around woodland, grasslands and gardens.


    Migrant Hawker: Neil Phillips (rspb-images.com), Common Darter Female: Steve Knell (rspb-images.com), Common Darter Male, Chris Knights (rspb-images.com),  Southern Hawker: Tony Hamblin (rspb-images.com).

    Keep an eye out for the Migrant Hawker, it was…

    • 17 Jul 2020
  • Wildlife Gardening Podcasts.

    It’s all very nice snuggling up with a good book… especially with beautiful pictures of gardens and wildlife! – but a podcast can also be very informative and tells an evocative tale through sounds and atmospheres.

      Singing Robin Ernie Janes (rspb-images.com)

    Many people make the most of their work travelling time, exercise or relaxation time listening to podcasts, but I’m a big fan of tuning in at night…

    • 13 Jul 2020
  • Grassland butterflies: the Meadow Brown and Ringlet.

    July is the month when we see the more understated butterflies like the Meadow Brown and the Ringlet. Both are brown in colour and can be seen flying about seeking nectar even when the weather is dull and dreary rather than many other butterfly species that traditionally prefer the sunshine.

     Meadow Brown butterfly: Ernie Janes (rspb-images.com)

    Grassland butterflies such as these need long, undisturbed grasses to lay eggs…

    • 8 Jul 2020
  • Virtual garden tours online.

    All the extra time in our gardens these days is wonderful for productivity and relaxation, but though gardens are continuously evolving, we are always in the same garden. Online virtual garden tours offer a change of scene, new ideas plus inspiring stories and there are so many available to view at the moment.

      Laburnham X watereri 'Vossii': Ernie Janes (rspb-images.com)

    The National Garden Scheme offers video t…

    • 1 Jul 2020
  • Solitary Bee week: Mon 29th June - Sun 5th July.

    From Monday 29thJune, it’s Solitary Bee Week, an initiative to promote the awareness and importance of solitary bees in the UK.  Leafcutter Bee: Nick Upton (rspb-images.com)

    There is lots of information on the site about behaviour and species, plus how you can get involved with activities and events.

    We have over 260 bee species in our country and 90% are solitary bees. It means that they do not reside in hives or large…

    • 27 Jun 2020
  • Slugs: living with and without them!

    As I sit outside on these beautiful warm evenings when the sky is still not black at 10.30pm, I think I’m relaxing until I hear that dreaded munching sound. It’s like a quiet, repetitive scratching scraping sound and I know what it is; slugs or snails… enjoying my young shoots that I had hoped would flourish into full plants.

      Tim Hunt (rspb-images.com)

    It’s not going to happen if they are left to roam…

    • 24 Jun 2020
  • Nocturnal wildlife and plants with night fragrance.

    With today being the summer solstice; our longest day when sundown is just after 9.20pm, it’s the perfect time to spend the evening in the garden.

      Nightjar: Paul Sawer (rspb-images.com)

    A time when we might actually down tools and plans and just stop for a while to revel in the sights, smells and sounds of the garden. As nightfall slowly descends, our sense of smell and hearing increase over sight as colours and visual…

    • 20 Jun 2020
  • Grassland Wildflowers.

    The grassland wildlfowers really hit their stride this month. I love their names, a list of them reads like some ancient poetry, the meaning of which has been lost in time: black medick, burdock, greater birdsfoot trefoilvetch, knapweed  cornfield poppies, oxeye daisieshawkbitwild carrot, red clover, white clover, tare,  there are so many to discover.

      Field Poppies: Ernie Janes (rspb-images.com)

    These wild grassy habitat…

    • 17 Jun 2020
  • Roses for garden wildlife.

    Roses are surely some of the most iconic of all flowers and conjure up images of the typically beautiful old fashioned English garden brimming with charm.

     New Dawn Rose: Nancy Brown

    The huge variety of specimens offer something for almost every type of garden situation whether you’re looking for something cute and compact for a pot, a medium or large bushy plant for the border, a hedge or an enormous climber.


    • 13 Jun 2020
  • Spectacular dragonflies.

    Through the summer months, dragonflies will be emerging as winged adults from their larval form. Common Hawker emerging: Genevieve Leaper (rspb-images.com)

    Unlike butterflies, they don’t go through a pupa /chrysalis stage with a hard exterior. When the days are long and the temperature is right, dragonfly larva crawl out of the water to spend a few days adjusting to breathing air before their final moult into the adult…

    • 9 Jun 2020
  • Watering the garden through summer.

    Gardens in East Anglia can start getting really thirsty at this time of year. This year’s spring has turned out to be the sunniest on record for the UK. Great for enjoying the outdoors and catching up in the garden but not so good for many plants, wild animals and crops.

      Roses, peonies and cirsium: Nancy Brown

    We can see that our gardens are dry so many of us are out watering in the early evenings. There are ways…

    • 5 Jun 2020
  • Nestlings and Fledglings

    On a dog walk recently, I came across a chance and delightful discovery; drawn to the high pitched squeaking, I peered inside: community.rspb.org.uk/.../7563.2251.2262.1588.4064.8233.0447.1462.Nestlings-shorter-touch5.7_5F00_1.mp4Blue tit nest: Nancy Brown

    ...to discover these blue-tit nestlings inside an outdoor tap box. Usually nests are built high up or deep within foliage, as far away from predators as possible but this…

    • 1 Jun 2020
  • Moths in the Garden.

    In the UK, there are 59 species of butterfly but approximately 2,500 species of Moth!

     Buff-tip Moth: Nancy Brown        Cinnabar Moth: Nancy Brown

    Famous for being night flyers, many actually fly during the day or both. As well as being as beautiful in colour and design as our butterflies, Moths are also the masters of disguise and some have incredible camouflage markings that look just the same as bark and leaves.


    • 29 May 2020
  • Encouraging Bumblebees and planting for Pollinators.

    We will hopefully be seeing more Bumblebees in our gardens through May and June as their colonies establish.

     Carder Bumblebee: Richard Bedford (rspb-images.com)

    Their homes are not the smart, orderly hexagonal style of the honeybee’s, it’s much more of an ad-hoc and messy clump of cavities that store their food; quite an extraordinary structure if you ever come across one tucked away in the ground or some sort of cavity…

    • 24 May 2020
  • Mental Health Awareness Week 18th - 24th May.

    As well as this week celebrating the Chelsea Flower Show, it is also Mental Health Awareness Week.

     Ray Kennedy (rspb-images.com)

    The benefits of gardening and nature on mental health are well documented but why do they improve our mood or make us feel better after some time immersed in them? 

    Gardens and nature are relaxing. They take us away from the digital world and away from our stressful situations. When we are actively…

    • 21 May 2020
  • Chelsea Flower Show 2020.

    It’s Chelsea Flower Show week!

    Although there is no actual “show” this year, there is lots to see online at Virtual Chelsea 2020.

     Poppy: Jodie Randall (rspb-images.com),      Tulip Tulipa sp: Sue Kennedy (rspb-images.com)

    The BBC is also still airing a live programme at 8pm Monday to Friday with Monty Don and Joe Swift from their gardens at home looking back at many Chelsea highlights. Last night (Monday 1…

    • 19 May 2020
  • Nettles.

    Nettles are not the gardener’s favourite wild plant when trying to create beauty in a garden!

     Comma Butterfly. Sue Kennedy (rspb-images.com)

    They are robust perennials that seed and spread in seemingly any aspect and soil. Although we may want to remove them from our borders, leaving them to grow in certain areas of the garden can offer great benefits to wildlife, and to us.

    Nettles provide perfect habitat for Comma…

    • 15 May 2020