Blog Posts

Nature next to us

wren nest in bird hide

You can almost guarantee it. It’s that time of year when someone will post a picture of a birds’ nest in an unlikely place – a watering can in the garden, a tyre in a garage. My personal favourite was a family of buetits who always nested in the top of a local streetlight. Another example is this wren, which had chosen to nest between two upright posts of an open-backed bird hide in RSPB Foulshaw Moss. Now it’s an

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monkey torture and illegal photos

sand lizard

[trigger warning: this post discusses some distressing details of animal harm] You don’t have to be interested in British nature for very long before you hear the words “schedule 1”. It’s a reference to part of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, the very thin piece of paper which is all that sits between Britain’s wildlife and those who wish it harm. The recent news that people from the UK were involved in a “baby monkey torture” group, paying individuals

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What a beautiful baby!

moorhen chick

Although you might not realise it from the weather, it’s late Spring, almost Summer. That makes it time for all of the new life that is entering our world to make itself seen. It’s also that time when parent creatures are driven frantic by the need to deliver food to growing families. The parents of this pair of little grebe chicks were in constant motion, finding insects and even small fish to feed to their pair.   The effort involved

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Celebrating our small cousins

baby vole

It’s National Mammal Week, and with the latest David Attenborough series “Mammals” showing us just how diverse a group of creatures these are, who wouldn’t want to take a moment to celebrate them? Britain has a healthy range of mammals, occupying all spaces from our seas to our mountaintops. Regular readers will know that I have a deep love of hares, those long-eared, long-footed super-sized rabbits who sit out in the countryside and take whatever the weather throws at them

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The power of empty places

grey-haired mining bee peers fom its nest hole

Recently,I stood next to a small patch of scrubby grassland. Roughly triangular in shape, bounded on each side by footpaths worn by countless walkers boots, it measured perhaps ten feet across with the rotting remains of a small tree, now reduced to just a few moss-covered logs in the the middle.   Anyone, including me, would have glanced at it quickly, seen a tangle of leaflitter and nettles and passed by. But yesterday I was looking for a bee. I’m trying

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Scottish green pledge failure should not be condemned

Scotland's fragile environment

As widely reported, the Scottish Government has acknowledged that its environmental target of a 75% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 is now unattainable, and has been widely condemned for it. It’s certainly easy to feel angry about this admission.  But to criticise it misses three important points. Firstly, if we condemn our politicians for admissions of failure, we simply encourage them to conceal any such failings. It’s a common trick to release bad news on a day when

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