Thank you for all the letters, emails and photographs you send in to Birds magazine. We are now receiving so many great stories, and especially photographs, plus so much positive feedback on the new-look magazine that it's not possible to answer everybody. I do read every e-mail and letter and enjoy every photo though, so apologies if I haven't been able to get back to you.
The new readers' photographs section of the mag has been very popular and you have sent some amazing shots; some are tremendous quality, some have made me laugh and others have made me stare in disbelief! Because we can only publish a few in the magazine and Birds is only quarterly, here are some more. Enjoy...
Gordon Biggs captured this magnificent lizard on film in France.
Kathy and Andrew Nash sent in this shot of their blackbirds before they flew the nest - a good brood.
Mystery bird time from Paul Grace. Post a comment below if you know what it is.
Sally Cookson snapped this buzzard waiting for the Isle of Skye ferry.
Tony and Lesley Trott live in New South Wales, Australia, but they are lifelong RSPB supporters. You can read about what they're doing to help nature on page 81 of Birds Autumn 2012, including clearing their garden and the adjacent rainforest of alien species that aren't good for the native plants and wildlife. They've also taken the star letter prize with a great story on page 9. They live on the edge of the rainforest at Nimbin and I'm not at all jealous...
I received some fabulous shots of them, their eco-house and some of the wildlife they are helping - too many for the mag - so here's a few more
This is Peggy who lives with the Trotts - apparently where she shouldn't be. How could you tell her to move though?
This a carpet python - I'd call it a disco ball python myself, although I don't think I'd want one anywhere in my house to be honest!
Peggy with Joey - sweet
Wildlife gardening outback style
Powerful owls (yes, that is their real name) - a nice garden bird
Who needs a cat?
Have you been stepping up?
It's great hearing from so many readers on the different ways you've been doing your bit to help wildlife. Why not let us know how you've been stepping up for nature and doing your bit for nature in your home and garden?
I know that ospreys are REALLY popular with RSPB supporters, so hopefully Conor Jameson’s piece in the Autumn 2012 issue of Birds on a lingering bird at RSPB HQ at The Lodge went down well.
You might have read about my own experiences with that particular bird on this blog during the time it was around. It was certainly a treat to have one at my place of work, although seeing it wasn’t a given as it ranged over a big area. I even managed to show Birds designer, Joel this long-staying bird (read about it here).
I’ve seen ospreys all around the world from Cuba and the Philippines to Kenya and Canada, but my favourite experiences have been with birds in the beautiful Scottish Highlands - one of my favourite areas in the world. I really must get back up there soon! I remember taking a college study tour to Aviemore and was astounded to see up to 10 ospreys gathering at the fish farm in the evenings. I also remember travelling beside a Scottish Loch as one plunge-dived into the water right alongside the bus, emerging with a shiny trout in its talons. The fabulous photo below was sent to me by Birds reader Julian Heyes. These ospreys were nesting near the Red Sea in Egypt.
I live next to Grafham Water in Cambridgeshire and although ospreys don’t breed there, two birds were hanging around one evening in early July when I was there – an unusual time of year for ospreys to appear on migration in my part of the word (it’s usually late August and September). Both birds were fishing actively in this big man-made reservoir. I’m hoping that they are immature birds whiling away the summer months and will perhaps return to breed at some point soon.
Have you seen one?
So, as osprey migration starts to get underway soon, I hope you get lucky and see one near you.
I'd love to know about your experiences with ospreys. And if you haven’t seen one in the flesh, don't worry. I know that lots of you follow the Loch Garten ospreys avidly – whether it’s reading the fantastic blog from the team there, watching the live webcam of the nest, or waiting with baited breath for the latest update on the birds’ migrations after they have been satellite tracked to Africa - so please let us know what you love about them so much by posting a comment below!