March, 2010


We're about more than just birds (though obviously we like them a lot).

Notes on nature

We love nature... from every little bug on a blade of grass to birds, butterflies, otters and oaks!
  • Spring time?

    There seems to be lots of talk about at the moment over whether spring has finally sprung. The sun is shining through my window and temperatures are warm enough to think twice about the woolly hat. Now, I don’t want to run the risk of being too early, but I think spring might, just might be here.

    Comma butterfly. Photo by Grahame Madge.Taking a break from the workshop I was participating in yesterday, I thought I’d let it all sink in and take a lunchtime stroll though the reserve. The robins were singing, the sun was actually warm on my face, and even a few bees had ventured out. It feels like spring, I thought.

    Jack’s pond was the destination, in search of the mysterious water shrew that had been seen there the week before. Many a lunch hour I spent there a couple of years ago, failing miserably to see this elusive little critter. Maybe the sun had brought him out in search of prey?

    Well, my luck hasn’t changed! Still no sign. One day I tell myself, one day! However, it certainly wasn’t a wasted trip in spring sunshine. As a walked round the pond, straining to see if I could catch any glimpse of my shrew nemesis, what looked like a leaf moved in front of me.

    Except it wasn’t a leaf, it was a comma butterfly! My first butterfly of the year. It’s quite a distinctive butterfly, with its ragged wings, which had briefly made it look leaf-like. Much like me, it had been tempted out into the spring air by a slight raise in temperature and the promise of a warm sun. Spring must be here!

    Tired of shrew-spotting (or not), I watched the butterfly flutter about before it landed, wings open to warm itself after it’s long winter sleep. It didn’t want me getting too close, although it did try to land on my head on one occasion! But then I’d be grumpy if I’d spent all winter asleep and then a giant came looking at me!

    So, butterflies and bees are out, the birds are just beginning to try out their vocal chords and I went to cricket nets at the weekend, yep, spring is just about here!

    If you’ve had any good spring sightings, I’ve love to hear about them. Post a comment below, take a look at the forum, or if you’ve got any spring pictures, post them to our gallery.

  • We're on Google Street View!

    You've probably heard about Google Street View, where you can take a 'virtual journey' and explore 360-degree images. But once you've looked up your house, checked who was down your street.and looked to see where your cat was, where else should you go?

    The good news is that you can have a look at some beautiful RSPB nature reserves!

    Admittedly, they aren't all quite as scenic as Balranald, pictured above. You can't see very much of The Lodge - you have to peer over the wall or peek down the drive. At Geltsdale, you can't see much further than the car park, and if you want to get any closer to see the fantastic numbers of gannets on Ailsa Craig, you're going to need to take a boat trip!

    But just take a look at South Stack Cliffs on Anglesey... Wow! (there's even an ice-cream van in the car park, waiting for your custom). Haweswater looks pretty spectacular, as does Inversnaid. And do you fancy going for a walk at Lake Vyrnwy now?

    All this admiring-from-afar is lovely, and great fun, but when it comes down to it, there's nothing like the real thing. So why not do what these people at the Hayle Estuary, and these folk who've stopped for a rest at Loch Garten are doing - get out there and see for yourself!

    There's nothing like the real thing, so why not plan your next day out now?

    • If you're browsing Street View and spot a lovely view, or even some wildlife, please leave us a comment!