Showing posts from January, 2016

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

This weekend, the 30th and 31st of January, is the RSPB's annual Big Garden Birdwatch, in which people from all over the country spend an hour counting the birds that visit their garden. Hundreds of thousands of people have already submitted their results this year and I'm sure there'll be many more to come.

I was in Wiltshire for the weekend, so did my Garden Birdwatch out in the countryside and, being so close to farmland, got some interesting visitors. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't ideal - very windy and bucketing it down with rain, but the birds still came. Here are my results:

1 Nuthatch4 Coal Tit4 Great Tit5 Blue Tit8 Wood Pigeon1 Dunnock1 Magpie1 Robin3 Rook2 Blackbird1 Pheasant1 Sparrowhawk2 Mistle Thrush 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
total count: 14 species, 35 individual birds.
The birdwatch itself went well. Coal Tits, Blue Tits and Great Tits arrived almost immediately, and were quickly joined by a Dunnock and a Nuthatch. At one point, we had 8 Wood Pigeons on …

Papercourt Meadows Short-eared Owls

After the reasonable success at Papercourt in recent weekends, we visited the meadows again to see if we could get a proper look at the wonderful Short-eared Owls that call the reserve home. And I can say that we definitely did.

We arrived at the meadows at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, earlier than usual. As we were a bit early, we decided to walk down the canal before returning to the main area later. But just as we turned down the path, I spotted a bird flying high over the meadows; above the wires. It was immediately clear by the body shape and the way it was flying that it was a Short-eared Owl! So we abandoned our canal-side walk and headed straight for the open meadows to get a closer look.

The owl began to fly lower when we reached the open ground, before landing near the base of a pylon over the other side of the meadow. We decided to try and get closer. After a lot of creeping and photographing, I got close enough to get a few very clear photos of the owl. Short-eared …

Stunning Surrey Sunset (+ an owl!)

January is usually the time of year when the Short-eared Owls return to Papercourt, so we decided to head back down to the meadows to see if they were back, and what else was around.

The heavy rain in Surrey over the past week has had an effect on the meadows; the river was much higher and there was water in certain areas on the meadow itself, though not on the scale of the flooding at the meadows a few years ago. The small amount of water present at the moment shouldn't have an effect on the prey animals of predators like the kestrels and owls at the meadows. 

As for wildlife, it didn't take long to see some movement. Our first sighting was a pair of Stonechats, hopping around from bush to bush. 

We continued on round towards the far end of the meadows, where we have seen the Short-eared Owls before. On the way round, we saw both the kestrels that call the meadows home, one on a wire and one on a tree.

Leaving the kestrels behind, we got ourselves into position underneath a tree …

The Rainforest Trust

While visiting Borneo, and experiencing the biodiversity and energy of the forests first hand, I realised how precious the worlds rainforests are to not only the animals and plants within them, but us humans as well. 

So when I got back to the UK, I contacted a US-based rainforest charity, The Rainforest Trust, to see how I could get involved. I was given the opportunity to do an interview for their website about Borneo (link below). In the interview, I talk about my trip to Borneo, the highlights, awareness about rainforest conservation, and how students and young people can help to get involved in conservation.

You can read my interview here:

Why is rainforest conservation important?
Rainforests are incredibly diverse, covering just 6% of the Earth’s surface, but being home to more than half of all animal and plant species. On top of this, up to a quarter of the ingredients in modern medicines come from plants found in rainforests. And despite this, rainforests are…