Thoughts from the air

I recently found myself elevated into the clouds on a journey I was taking over the UK. As much as being on the ground is a great assessment of habitat, the ability to see the florets of broccoli shaped trees amongst the patchwork of farm fields really gives you an understanding of what is meant by the phrase ‘the classic English countryside’. Continue reading


Why Attenborough Documentaries will always be needed

For nature lovers Attenborough documentaries are the pinnacle of conservation inspiration. They are however much more than that as they create a time when discussing wildlife and nature becomes the ‘hot’ topic and those who are in the minority for their love of the environment are now at the forefront of the discussion. Shouting about how amazing nature is suddenly becomes ‘cool’. Continue reading

More than one non-native crayfish species in the UK


Signal crayfish, Pacifastacus leniusculus. Image GGNNSS.

The threat of the North American signal crayfish to the native white-clawed crayfish is well-known but what about the other non-native crayfish species in the UK? What are they and do they pose a threat to the white-clawed crayfish? Continue reading


The Science of Autumn Leaves

img_2515Autumn has well and truly arrived as deciduous trees hold on to their remaining leaves of yellow, orange, brown and red, while the fallen leaves form mounds below the tree’s soon to be bare branches. The once lush green summer landscape has turned into a vision of autumn colour. But why does this happen? Continue reading


Concerns for the Environment Post Brexit

As soon as it was realised that Brexit was a reality, everyone started blaming everyone else. Politicians criticised each other, voters uttered pure disbelief and judgement on others and the well-known blond figurehead of the leave campaign Boris Johnson changed from being the leader of the revolution to the man who did this ‘terrible’ thing to our country. The reality became clear, no one really knew what they were voting for, lots of people had never even heard of the single market and just assumed that there were only two ‘simple’ options, to stay or to leave. Furthermore in the debates beforehand the environment was hardly mentioned, so a main question for conservationists now is ‘what will happen to our environment?’ In the uncertain future that is Brexit, key areas and conservation problems need to be addressed, as the goal of achieving healthy ecosystems where both business and wildlife can prosper is surely something everyone can agree on. Continue reading


How garden bird feeders affect bird behaviour and migration

People putting out food on bird tables and artificial feeders is a common occurrence in the UK. It gives us a chance to engage with the natural world and see garden birds up close. The food however is not just being eaten by our beloved garden birds, it is also affecting their behaviour. Continue reading


The UK’s most dangerous seaside fish


Copyright Hans Hillewaert

The sun has emerged, the wind is still and the rain is nowhere to be seen, a perfect day for a trip to the beach. Wading into the shallows you can feel the soft sand beneath your feet until, ouch, you’ve trodden on something sharp, then the pain starts – you have been ‘weevered’. Continue reading


A Society of Educated Ignorance?

As a country the UK is an island of educated people, with copious qualifications, including thousands of degrees in varying subjects. However when it comes to setting policies involving the environment, they are not always effective and can end up causing more problems than they solve, while costing large amounts of money. Not only this but as a society now saturated in technology, people’s connection with nature seems to have largely disappeared, making people ignorant of their surroundings. Both of these effects cause problems for the long-term survival of our planet, and us, with decisions often going against sense and science. Continue reading


Where have the greenfinches gone?

Amongst the hustle of a garden feeding station the flash of olive green would alert you to the presence of a greenfinch, perching on the hanging bird feeder, using its specially designed bill to exploit the available seed. However the abundance of greenfinches has declined in many areas, certainly noticeably in gardens where I live as they have not been present now for some years. The reason though, may have in fact been linked to the garden feeding stations that they so favoured. Continue reading


Breaking the birdwatching stereotype – Anyone of any age

For a long time the image of a birdwatcher or naturalist has been stereotyped as an older gentleman, who wears one of those green waistcoats with an abundance of pockets (who really has that much stuff to put in all those pockets anyway?), jumping out of bushes in an artistic fashion and chasing after the latest rarity. And what about the women? Television programs have portrayed birdwatchers as rather ‘out there’ people with strange habits, especially depicted this way in murder mysteries for some reason. Continue reading