I had a gut feeling that I would see otters before setting out that morning into the otherworldly mist before dawn. But my head often questions whether my heart is right, so I wasn’t sure. About fifteen minutes after arriving at the lake, I saw an otter’s head emerge from its waters in a nearby bay. It was clearly a female by the size of the head. Read more
Guest post by Andrew Fusek Peters
Four years ago, when I was still working as a children’s author, if you had told me that I would hug nearby hedgelines, crawl through muddy fields, and stand in sad imitation of a tree in order to photograph hares, stoats and short eared owls, I would have laughed.
The hill above my village was for long walks, dreams, poetry, stops to chat to locals and enjoy the view over the Shropshire valleys I have lived in all my adult life. A breakdown and recovery from severe clinical depression in my mid forties changed everything. Read more
Thanks to my daughter, I was recently made aware of a water vole in a village pond one morning. Being passionate about water voles, I made my way there the same evening in great excitement. It would be my first pond vole, ever! On arrival, I immediately saw the tell-tale signs of a hidden water vole: vegetation periodically twitching as stems of Fool’s watercress were nipped by this invisible gardener. A few moments later, I glimpsed a small juvenile with its rich chestnut coat.
Eventually, a charming adult water vole with its round, chubby face appeared in full view. Read more
Early spring is possibly my favourite time of year. Day by day, Nature comes back to life in front of us. For me, it lifts my spirits. Even in this most bizarre winter, when the winter didn’t look like it was going to arrive at all, but finally did so in early March. But of course as the sun gets ever stronger, the cold nights quickly disappear and beautiful warm sunshine greets me as I let the chickens out first thing in the morning.
Nature survives at the margins
Today I found a particularly pleasing, though very small, sign of spring – Whitlow grass (Erophila verna) flowering here in Dorchester. Read more
Guest post by young wildlife expert Alex White.
Sat amongst the bluebells on a late spring evening, a gentle breeze tickling my nose, I am waiting for the first black nose to appear. It is a moment of excitement, tension and a little bit of apprehension.
Every creature is just settling down for the night, blackbirds are singing their final song, wood pigeons are flapping about high in the branches, looking for their roost for the night. Through the trees I can see a couple of roe deer silently moving in the dimming light. Read more
In the UK we have some amazing native wildflowers. Unfortunately, we have lost a staggering 98% of our wildflower meadows and their poetic beauty since the 1930’s. This means that few people have seen an authentic one which is resulting in fashionable, highly colourful, non-native, perennial ‘meadows’.
This crucial loss is impacting on the many populations of bees, butterflies, pollinating bugs and birds who depend on UK native wildflower rich meadows which they co-evolved with. The simple act of sowing the right wildflowers can make a huge difference to wildlife and to your well-being. Read more
Guest post by Ginny Battson.
Most of my life has involved nature as my adventure. I ask myself why. My connection with non-human lives has been a constant ember within me, aside only during a period of traumatic bereavement, another story. I acknowledge this bond was securely founded in early childhood.
I think it came in two main parts.
Firstly, I was fortunate to live, play and imagine among nature with effortless ease, growing up in a particularly biodiverse corner of North Herefordshire. It was a hamlet of a few houses dotted around a hill, but mostly of woods, streams, tracks and open common land. Read more
Guest post by John Aitchison
From a presentation given for New Networks for Nature’s ‘Nature Matters’ event in Stamford, England, November 2015
For more than twenty years I have lived by the sea in Scotland. My children have grown up with otters as their neighbours and, more recently, with re-introduced white tailed eagles too. They’re as pleased to see them as when they bump into their friends, which is just as it should be. It’s a place we feel we belong.
To walk on that shoreline is to play back some of our own history: one rock makes me smile at the memory of a picnic we had there, when my daughter found a long heron’s feather and put it in her hair. In another place I stand again where I once did at midnight, after heavy snow, entranced by the full moon that lit up the land as far as I could see. Read more
I am amazed to discover there are over 270 bee species in Britain and Ireland and that bumblebees and honey bees only account for about one tenth of that figure. The wool carder and the leafcutter bees belong to the Megachile (leaf-cutting bee) group.
Both the wool-carder and the leafcutter are solitary bees. They nest in walls, as well as in dead wood and bee hotels provided by us. Wool carder bees also nest in hollow stems whereas leafcutters will occasionally use soil, twigs and the hollow stems of brambles. They are impressive engineers, magical to watch and this year my dream of seeing a wool carder bee came true. Read more
During the blackberry season many small mammals enjoy feasting on them with obvious relish and use the bramble bush as a way of avoiding predators. It has been a privilege to encounter a water vole who tried to look around a blackberry laden bramble to see which clumsy wildlife photographer had made that noise? Read more