Well, we’re pretty much wrapped up for Christmas – and about to collapse into a well-earned break! The next issue of Nature’s Home is being printed, and last week, on this very blog, we gave you a sneak preview of the front cover.
It’s a new year and a (slightly) new look! But it’s not just the cover we’ve tweaked. Near the front of the magazine you’ll find a whole new-look 'Wild About' section, showcasing the best of the season.
We’ve stirred up a real springtime soup with a vibrant mix of skills, tips, things to do for nature, events and days out. And we've kept our usual mix of expert columns, from Dominic Couzens’ observations on biology and behaviour to Ben Andrews' pro wildlife photography tips and Nicola Chester’s evocative nature writing.
We are also delighted to introduce our new Entomologist, Dr Ross Piper, who will be writing a series of profiles about all creatures... well, small, called 'Tiny & Wild' - bringing to life the fascinating world beneath our feet.
Threading the whole section together, we’ve introduced a month-by-month timeline across the top, packed with things to look out for as winter marches into spring, from starling murmurations through to catkins and amphibians.
This gives you something to hook into throughout the season, opening your eyes to the glories unfolding around you.
Take a look! We hope you enjoy a new year of Nature… and in the meantime….
A very Merry Christmas to you, from all of us at Nature’s Home!
I have always thought am one of the luckiest Editor-in-Chiefs around thanks to you, our brilliant Nature's Home readers and RSPB members.
There are lots of reasons for this: the fact you care about your magazine, you give us so many great things to put in Nature's Home and share with others, from your sightings, reports from reserve visits, wildlife gardening tips and the literally thousands of incredible photos you send to us every year. Taking time to look at these - and I do see every one - is a highlight of my job and they quite often bring a smile to face at trickier times when the going is getting tough on deadlines, or things aren't quite going to plan! A big thank you for sharing them.
Nature's Home's new-look cover allows us to feature even more wildlife each time and our cover star neatly fits with our photo of the week
Regular readers of Nature's Home will know that we feature two pages of your photos every issue and the Spring 2018 issue has a slightly redesigned, and I think improved, look so we can feature the pictures at a larger size. Let us know what you think.
Photo of the weekBecause we get so many wonderful shots, far too many to feature in the magazine - please don't feel we don't like your shot of feel it isn't good if it doesn't appear - we can only publish around 36 every year out of the thousands we receive. However, our new "Photo of the week" slot here on the Nature's Home blog allows us to share more with you and we hope share more stories behind the photo as well. Please keep sending them in to rspb.org.uk/natureshome
Nature's Home photo of the week by Tony Miller who says "I took this photo of the robin protecting the feeder from the blue tits."
This is a great pose to capture - not one I see very often, or captured in such wonderful detail .It really shows the determination and aggression that are a key part of this familiar bird's behaviour. Watch your robins over Christmas and don't forget to get ready for Big Garden Birdwatch on 27-29 January where you won't be surprised to find even more robins in this year's visuals!
This Christmas, give your self the gift of a nature wow moment .
The pre-dusk skies of winter form a great backdrop for one of nature’s finest performances, a murmuration of starlings. Hundreds, thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of starlings take to the skies in a mesmeric swirl. They gather to confuse predators and exchange information, before snuggling up to roost. For us, it’s a seasonal spectacle we’re all hoping to see over the festive break. Here's a little sneaky snippet of the Spring 2018 issue of Nature's Home that we hope will get you in the mood for a Festive season full of wildlife.
Here are the five great RSPB reserves where you can witness the spectacle. Check the reserve pages for the latest starling news.
1. Loch Leven, Perth & KinrossWait by reedbeds in this National Nature Reserve to see starlings swirl. Plan your visit to this loch-side reserve here.
2. Minsmere, SuffolkAnother reedbed roost, the Bittern and Island Mere hides are good places to wait. Join a weekend walk or plan your own visit here.
3. Fen Drayton, CambridgeshireA bright afternoon offers a chance to view the swirling starlings over the reedbeds. Late afternoon is the best time to visit. Plan your trip here.
4. Saltholme, TeessideA shapeshifting cloud throngs over the reedbeds here. Look out for a passing peregrine on the hunt for its dinner. Find out more here.
5. Conwy, North WalesAround 30,000 birds tumble above the estuary, preparing for their nigh-time roost. A soft blanket of snow makes this winter wonderland a truly festive experience. Click here to plan your trip.
Seen a starling murmuration? Let us know in the comments below.
There's more on starlings and lots more wildlife-watching tips in Nature's Home magazine. If you are an RSPB member, your Spring issue will be with you at the end of the month. Enjoy!