keep an eye out for Britain’s newest bee this Autumn

female ivy mining bee arrives with pollen

In the autumn of 2001, a small discovery was made in Dorset. It was a very small discovery in fact – only around a centimetre long.  It was the first sighting of a new bee species, the Ivy mining bee, in Britain. In fact, the Ivy mining bee is so easily overlooked that it was only discovered as a species just over 30 years ago in 1993. So when a friend of mine offered to show me some in Wiltshire,

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Otter and cake: 20 minutes of perfection

otter mum and kitt

  There are moments in nature-watching when the world seems to contract around you. Your pulse raises, and your hands start to shake. Your  vision sharpens, as you focus intently on what’s in front of you and lose awareness of everything else. And if that sounds a lot like falling in love, it’s because it is. I’ve been following a family of otters on some local lakes for several years now. We have this on-off love affair: sometimes when I

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Beavers are protected at last. But for how long?

beaver

At last! Something to celebrate. From today, Saturday 1st October 2022, the Eurasian Beaver has finally gained protection in England. It has been added to the  Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017, legislation that now makes it illegal to: deliberately disturb a beaver – this includes any action likely to impair their ability to survive, breed or rear their young deliberately injure, capture or kill a beaver damage or destroy the breeding site or resting place of a beaver

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The tale of the tortoise and the dictator

Hermann's tortoise

The survival of a species can sometimes involve a great deal of luck, as I found out on a recent holiday to the island of Menorca. Menorca (Minorca) is an island of around 30 miles by 10, lying off the east coast of Spain. It is a beautiful place, with clear seas, sandy beaches, and a lot of sunshine. It is also far quieter and less developed than its neighbouring island, the famous party island of Mallorca (Majorca). It turns

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Short term and short sighted – Liz Truss’ changes to planning laws

Ah, the irony. In tomorrow’s mini-budget, new chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng will reportedly hold good on Liz Truss’s leadership bid promise and rip up the planning rules that block building on green belt land. We can’t say we weren’t warned. Liz Truss was clear about her plans to remove what she sees as pesky rules covering wildlife like bats and newts, and the preservation of green spaces, in the name of greater industrial growth and house building. Not for her the

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Peat extraction – far too little and far too late

The white-faced darter dragonfly

Ahhh, 2010! That was a classic year. Do you remember it? David Cameron and Nick Clegg formed the coalition Government. The Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull blew and grounded flight across Europe with clouds of ash. Spoonbills bred in Britain for the first time in three centuries. And in December that year, the coalition Government finally introduced a scheme to end the use of peat in domestic gardens by 2020. It was a voluntary scheme, relying on the industry to get its

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