July, 2016


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!
  • Harry Potter and the RSPB T-shirt competition

    Harry Potter puns? They can Slytherin to any conversation...

    It’s been five long years since the last Potter film came out. Nine since the last book. But lately fans were granted a longed-for invitation back to the wizarding world thanks to The Cursed Child, a new West End play based on an original story by J.K Rowling.

    Set 19 years after Harry, Ron and Hermione left Hogwarts, it follows a new generation as they take up their places at wizard school. Tickets, however, are harder to get hold of than a golden snitch. So happier still was news that the script is being released in book-form on 31 July – Harry’s birthday.

    To mark the occasion, we asked you, the public, to hit us with your best bird-based Harry Potter puns for a new RSPB-Weird Fish T-shirt design. Some were a bit Krummy and others were Siriusly bad, but there were some great suggestions too. The one we chose combined a few – we hope you like it!

    Harrier Potter and the Deathly Sparrows

    The RSPB’s own social media wizard, Ross MacDonald, was one of the first to see The Cursed Child. And while he, like other theatre-goers, have pledged to #keepthesecrets and give away no spoilers, he had this to say:

    “I’ll try not to ‘quaffle’ too much but, simply, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a firebolt of bewitching moments. There’s laughter (any scene involving Ron had me in stitches), sadness, hope and wonder during this magical and surprising adventure through the wizarding world.”

    T-shirts are on sale at the RSPB shop, priced at £20. 

    Finally, a joke: What’s Harry Potter’s favourite drink? Espresso Patronum.

  • The big butterfly count 2016 is underway!

    It's a busy time for our friends at Butterfly Conservation. The big butterfly count has started!

    You can take part anytime between now and 7 August. All you have to do is count butterflies for 15 minutes (dry, sunny weather is best), then send in details of what you've seen via the survey website or smartphone app. You could do the count in your garden, in a park, a wood or on one of our nature reserves - anywhere... it's up to you!

    The good news is you don't need to be a butterfly expert to join in with the fun - there are some great identification charts for you to download.

    Happy butterfly watching!

    Find out more about the big butterfly count.

  • Monday's Magic Moment: Stoatal eclipse of the heart

    It has been a busy week at the home of Robin Hood, as plans begin to take shape for the proposed new visitor centre, I instead spent my week wandering the beaten trails taking in the dappled sunlight as summer properly emerged.

    Hidden among the trees, I found myself surrounded by butterflies for the first time this year as they fluttered in the afternoon sun. Although they were mainly common species like meadow browns and gatekeepers it was wonderful to see them in what is turning out to be a very poor year for butterflies across the country.

    From the corner of my eye a flash of brilliant blue caught my attention, as a curious jay dropped to the floor to forage for nuts. These fantastic birds are always one of my favourites, full of charisma and a real sense of intelligence as they stare at you weighing up the risk of one last acorn before slowly hopping up branch by branch into the canopy where they allow their curiosity to run wild from a safe distance.

    One of the biggest pleasures of a good forest is taking the time to just stop and let wildlife come to you, all that’s required is a bit of patience. However, Patience was not in the mind of my first visitor, a stoat. Because of their bouncy run and cute face, people constantly underestimate stoats, but they can be voracious predators when needed. Dashing between plants the stoat flushes out a young rabbit chasing it back among the undergrowth and out of sight again, a flurry of activity soon replaced by the still of the forest once again.

    Just as the sun began to set I was treated to an elusive first for me, a close encounter with the stoats little cousin, the weasel. Much smaller than a stoat and without the characteristic black tip on its tail, weasels have always evaded me so the sight of this tiny brown ball of fluff plodding slowly out of the undergrowth was a fantastic surprise. At first wary of the stranger in its woodland home, it eyed me with suspicion as it slowly approached, nose twitching in the air it comes within inches of my feet until a twig snaps in the distance and it’s gone in a flash.

    As the weather improves and you rush for fresh air, don’t forget to take the time to stop and let the wildlife come to you, you never know what you might find!

    These photos were taken by Guy Rogers and Ray Kennedy respectively and come from our own photo library, RSPB Images. Browse to find more breathtaking photos like this (you can order a print or canvas if any takes your fancy).