March, 2011


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!
  • Weird and wonderful nests


    Every spring, our wildlife enquiries team hear many reports of weird and wonderful nests. The robin in this picture is nesting in a tool-tidy, but we've also had reports of a robin that nested on a kitchen shelf. One cheeky wren made a nest in the pocket of a dressing gown that was drying on a washing line. 

    Here we bring you some of our favourite wacky nests!

    Nests in weird places…

    Can you imagine a blackbird settling down in a moving bus

    How about great tits getting cosy in a cigarette bin?

    If you think those locations seem weird, check out this video of a collared dove in a car wash, a pigeon in a ghost train and blue tits in a level crossing -  nests don't get much more extreme than these! 

    Who needs twigs?

    Why use twigs when you can use - well - almost anything else? Shakespeare knew his stuff when he warned 'when the kite builds, look to lesser linen,' in The Winter's Tale (Act 4, scene 3). Here we report on red kites using handbags, England flags, teabags and frilly knickers to liven up their abodes. Keep one eye on your washing!

    Japan's crows seem to prefer a modern art approach to home decoration. They avoid the washing completely and go straight for the coat hangers. To me, it doesn't look like a comfy place to raise chicks at all!

    Rogue builders

    We all make mistakes, and birds are no exception. Would you build a home and forget to include a front door? Worse still, when you realised your mistake, would you tear the whole thing down and start again? Here are some nests that went wrong... 

    Have you seen or heard of any nests in unusual places? Please sign up to our community and share your nest stories below.


  • Signs of spring

    There are bluebells galore at over twenty of our reserves. Come and lose yourself in a fragrant purple haze.

    Did you know we manage an organic farm at Lake Vyrnwy in Powys? Come and meet our newborn lambs at special events on the farm. Alternatively, go to Saltholme in Cleveland and meet our new Shetland lambs. I challenge you not to fall in love with these fluffy emblems of spring. Baaa!

    As you may have noticed, birds are waking up early – so why not join them? We’re running dawn chorus events at Minsmere and Snape in Suffolk, and at Coombes Valley in Staffordshire. Find out more about birdsong and let us guide you through their melodies. Snape offers a fry-up afterwards.

    If you’d rather avoid an early start, you can enjoy some fantastic birdsong on your own by taking a stroll around many of our reserves. Here are our top five to enjoy spring songs:

    Top Lodge, Northamptonshire

    Nagshead, Gloucestershire

    Arne, Dorset

    Conwy, near Snowdonia

    Insh Marshes, Highland

    On warm days there’s a good chance of seeing butterflies across the UK – here are our top spots for butterflies.

    Natterjack toads
    You can usually find frogspawn in your local park or garden pond, but you don’t often get the chance to see or hear natterjack toads. They are rare in Britain, and very noisy – you can hear the males from several kilometres away! If you live in Dumfries and Galloway, Flintshire or Bedfordshire why not pop along to our reserves that have these special toads?

    Black grouse
    Love is in the air. Now is the time when the males hit the dance floor and strut their funky stuff to woo the females. Corrimony in the Highlands are running black grouse safaris in May where you can get a glimpse into this usually hidden world. We’re also running a Date With Nature in North Wales in April and May, where you can join us for black grouse walks. 

  • Monday's Magic Moment: Wakey! Wakey!

     Grey seal photo by Peter Cairns (

    The clocks rolled forward this weekend giving us lighter evenings to look forward to, and the hope of warm summer weather to come. Unfortunately, it might also have caused you to feel a little like this grey seal this morning:  sleepy and wanting to have another hour in bed!

    For more cute nature and wildlife images, check out our picture library , RSPB Images.