June, 2012


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!
  • This weekend:...if you go down to the woods...

    ...today, or even this weekend, it might not quite be a big surprise, but how about we all get out and celebrate the UK’s woodlands?

    It doesn’t have to be to a big day out, maybe just an afternoon stroll. But there’s plenty of good places in the UK, and they’re all different, many with easy access and facilities. We’ve got plenty of woodland reserves too, that are all worth exploring.

    Fluty blackbirds

    I’ll probably be wandering through the gently sloping arable fields near me, up to Potton Wood. It’s a tranquil spot, where just the sound of warbling blackcaps, chiffchaffs singing their name and fluty blackbirds fills the air.

    Speckled wood, photo by Katie Fuller

    Assuming the sun comes out, I’ll be hoping to see some of our most conspicuous insects: butterflies. Being a wood, there ought to be some of the small, spotty speckled woods about.

    In my part of the UK, they’re a lovely dark brown colour with yellowy spots. The males are very territorial, and will defend their sunny woodland glade against rivals, before alighting in a sunny spot, waiting for any females to pass through their patch.

    Seeing the wood from the trees

    Fingers crossed I’ll also bump into a roe deer. These little critters are brilliantly camouflaged amongst the trees, but once they pop out into the glades you can get a great view. Be careful though, as they’re wary and blend back into the wood as quickly as they appeared.

    There’s a myriad of other wildlife in woodlands though, from the tiniest insects through medium-sized mammals up to the trees themselves. Make sure you take closer look at these trees! Ancient, twisted and gnarly oaks, tall pines, wispy willows and all the others that make up our woodland are all beautiful in their own right, not just as homes for wildlife.

    Let us know!

    Have a great weekend and let me know how your trip down to woods goes. What did you see? Where did you go? Let me and everyone know so we can all revel in the glory of our woodlands.

    Ps. Fingers crossed for the weather, otherwise I guess I’ll be at home watching Wimbledon or the football along with everyone else!

  • Monday's magic moment: hovering around

    This week sees the start of National Insect Week. So, to celebrate, I've picked this simply stunning image of two hoverflies alighting on a coneflower. Hoverflies are some of my favourite insects, with their intricate patterns and habit of micmicking bees and wasps.

    These two are marmalade hoverflies. They're probably what you'd think of as the quintessential hoverfly. It helps that they're common and widespread: you more than likely have them in your garden. But there's lots of species, so why not take a closer look next time you see a delicate little fly hovering in your borders?

    Hoverflies. Image by Sue Kennedy (www.rspb-images.com)


    Sue Kennedy took this photo - it's one of thousands of wildlife photos on RSPB Images. They're all available to view, and even buy. It would look great on your wall, wouldn't it?

    Happy National Insect Week!

  • This weekend... it's Moth Night

    Did you know it's Moth Night - a celebration of the UK's moths and learning more about them.

    As you can see from the photo above (pine, elephant, eyed and poplar hawkmoths that came to my garden on Tuesday night), they aren't all boring - far from it. They come in a weird and wonderful array of shapes, colours, sizes and patterns.

    Only a tiny number of them eat clothes, so no need to worry unduly about that. Sam has written more about her new-found appreciation for moths on her blog while Stuart is intrigued by moth names - see what you think!

    What to do

    • Come along to an event at one of our nature reserves 
    • Find out more about Moth Night and how to get involved
    • Leave a [low-energy] light on in your bathroom and the window open! and see who's come to visit in the morning.
    • Longer-term, you can attract moths and other wildlife to your garden by choosing insect-friendly plants.

    Have you seen any interesting moths in your garden - or even in your house?