April, 2013

Wildlife

Wildlife
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!
  • Monday's magic moment: springtime underwater

    I was reminded by a soft splash in my garden pond that the spring is here for our aquatic wildlife too.

    Frogs, toads and fish like these minnows (Phoxinus phoxinus) are all using our fresh water habitats to breed, although probably not in the same places, frog spawn tends to get eaten when there are fish around.

    minnows in a Welsh tributary by Graham Eaton www.rspb-images.com

    Graham Eaton has provided us with this great shot from an alternative perspective. See more wildlife images at www.rspb-images.com

  • This weekend...find a springtime songster

    Perhaps the very epitome of spring birdsong, the humble nightingale has been inspiring poets, writers and anyone who hears its sweet, uplifting song for centuries.

    Singing nightingale - image by Nigel Blake (www.nigelblake.co.uk)Including me.

    Related to the robin, nightingales lack the red breast of its cousin, but makes up for it with lovely rufousy back, head and wings. But its song is what really sets it apart.

    Go on, listen in...

    I find it hard to describe the song’s qualities – I never feel I can do it justice.

    The best thing to do is listen. Check out the nightingale page on our website, turn up your speakers and listen – it’s worth it.

    But trust me, it’s much better getting out on a late spring evening, the sun gently warming your back, and listening to the real thing.

    And now is a great time to do just that, before the leaves and foliage really start to come out and make seeing these migrants more difficult to see.

    Find your own

    Paxton Pits, where I was on Sunday, is a great spot.

    Nestled alongside the Great Ouse, these former quarry workings are now home to an array of wildlife, from cormorants to otters. But from April to early June, the singing nightingales are the stars of the show.

    In the UK, nightingales essentially need an area of scrubby woodland, with some open patches, often near water. There’s a few of our reserves you can try too.

    Can you spot one?

    I can’t guarantee you’ll see one though. I won’t lie, it’s not easy tracking down a skulking brown bird that spends a lot of its time hiding in dense foliage! Even if it is singing its head off!

    But I can spend hours listening to that glorious, uplifting song – it’s heaven. The first burst of notes will always stop me dead in my tracks. So seeing one is just a bonus.

    Fancy joining me? Why not try listening out for nightingales this spring? And don’t forget to let me know if you’re successful by leaving a comment below...

  • Monday's magic moment: cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo...

    They're back!

    Yes, that's right, cuckoos are definitely back in the UK - I heard at least three over the weekend. Did you hear any? Why not let me know by leaving a comment below...

    So to celebrate the arrival of cuckoos, spring and a whole host of other migrant birds this weekend, here's a cracking shot of a male cuckoo for you. Enjoy!

    Male cuckoo - photo by David Kjaer (www.rspb-images.com)

    David Kjaer snapped this image and it's one of thousands of images from RSPB Images - take a look and find your perfect spring time shot.