October, 2015

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: raven about it

    An omen of ill luck and death. Or a increasing and welcome part of our bird life.

    How do you view ravens? There's certainly plenty of myth and folklore surrounding the UK's largest crow species, but one think for sure is that they're mounting a comeback across the UK.

    These days, you're more likely to see one across the south and east of the UK than in a generation. So, this Halloween, why not celebrate that, rather than see them as a bad omen?

    Raven. Image by Chris Knights (www.rspb-images.com)

    This is one of thousands of images from RSPB Images. Take a look and find one for you today!

  • Monday's magic moment: ghost hunting

    Driving home over the West Yorkshire moors recently, I spied a ghost-like silhouette in the glare of my headlights.

    A large, white bird of prey had buzzed my car before stealing silently away into the darkness.

    A barn owl!

    I quickly pulled over into a convenient lay-by as my excitement mounted.

    Then, as it stretched its wings in a nearby tree and cast a derisory glance in my direction, I spotted its ethereal form again.

    We stared each other down for a couple of moments before it spread its white wings and drifted off past the black fretwork of more trees.

    Once found throughout rural Britain, these enchanting creatures are sadly no longer part of everyday life.

    The bird with the heart-shaped face and haunting black eyes is now normally confined to the virtual world of television.

    But, thanks to sterling work done by organisations like The Barn Owl Trust, this mysterious creature is on the march again.

    Spotting one in the wild is a stunning experience that brings back echoes of a rural life long gone.

    Thinking of the chance encounter three days later still sends a shiver of pleasure down my spine.

    If you're not lucky enough to have seen one in the wild yet, make an effort to do so. You won't regret it.

    Alternatively, browse RSPB Images to find more eye-catching images like the one below. You can order a print or canvas of any that take your fancy!

  • Monday's magic moment: precious things from across the North Sea

    Autumn is a time for nature's gems - richly-coloured leaves, nuts, berries and the last butterflies and dragonflies you'll see this year. It's also a time when there's lots of bird migration going on, all around you.

    Everyone knows that swallows, swifts and ospreys migrate. Yesterday I was lucky enough to see some smaller migrant birds - but they were just as charismatic.

    Goldcrests are common breeding birds in our woodland, especially pine forests. But did you know that 'ours' are joined by millions of others fleeing the cold winters of Scandinavia and eastern Europe?

    I was at our beautiful Titchwell Marsh nature reserve on the north Norfolk coast yesterday. The freshwater and saltwater lagoons are great places for super-close views of lots of migrant birds - brent geese (from Siberia), golden plovers (from Iceland), and lots of ducks which have probably come here from Russia.

    Migration often brings birds to unexpected places. High-pitched calls from the saltmarsh belonged to goldcrests, which had just crossed the North Sea. These are Europe's smallest birds - they weigh about the same as five or six paperclips! And seeing them out of place, so far from their woodland habitat, was a special moment. 

    (Check out this snap from Spurn Point, on Yorkshire's east coast! A pile of goldcrests snuggling up for a cold night.)

    • Browse RSPB Images to find more gorgeous photos like this one. You can order a print or canvas of any one that takes your fancy!