That fuzzy feeling

male sand lizard

I spend a lot of time looking for wildlife. It’s a sad commentary on the state of Britain’s depleted nature that I have to go searching for it. Species common in my grandparent’s day have nowadays become an exciting find. But occasionally, just occasionally, nature comes to you, as happened on a trip to Dorest’s Studland beach recently. I love Studland. The miles of white sand and clear swimming waters make a happy place for my wife, and the mature

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The question that links seahorses to Chairman Mao

seahorse, St. Lucia

I was listening to BBC Radio 4 last week. It was reporting on the Poole Harbour oil spill. It seems that the mixture of oil and water from that spill now risks running into Studland Bay, the most globally-important breeding area for spiny seahorses. The what? I know. It surprised me, too. I’m a naturalist and I take an active interest in all British wildlife, and even so I was only vaguely aware that seahorses live in Britain.  I’ve watched

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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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One simple thing you can do to help nature survive

hedgehogs need your help

As the drought extends in the south of Britain, give a thought to all of our wildlife – from bees to birds and all points in between – who cannot simply turn on a tap and get a drink when they need it. As honeydew and nectar dry up on our trees and flowers, and natural ponds bake into concrete, much of our wildlife is struggling. But there is something that you can do to help. Now is the time

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Over-sexed and over here

wall lizard

I went on a trip to Bournemouth. It’s a long drive from home, something that I always think twice about doing these days. But I wanted to try and see a rare and exotic species of lizard for an upcoming book. It’s Bournemouth. Miles of archetypal golden sands and rolling surf. It’s even sunny. As long as you sheltered from the cool 8°C winds and ignored the typically British mix of flip-flops and goose down jackets, you could almost be

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A difficult day in the office

I took a very difficult decision today. There’s hoopoe, a rare bird that I’ve always wanted to see, showing well in Warwickshire. People have been posting stunning photos of it. I’m free today, and I have both the time and money to go and see it.  But I’m not going. The decision is agonising, but it’s the right one. Because I can’t sit here and moan about the lack of political action at COP26, I can’t feel helpless and hopeless

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