Here are five things you may not know about hares

To the people of rural Britain, hares are deeply beloved, perhaps above all other animals. But how much do we know about these elusive creatures? Marianne Taylor, author of The Way of the Hare, illuminates some of their lesser known traits.

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The launch of the Arabic Birds of the Middle East

Early March and Richard Porter is on the edge of the Arabian Gulf, the strong sunlight sparkling on the khors, mangroves, deserts and Dubai’s dramatic skyline. He is at the annual Emirates Festival of Literature to talk about bird conservation in the Middle East, take a wildlife walk for children and, especially, to launch the Arabic Birds of the Middle East.

Why We Should All Garden for Wildlife

The fact that you’ve clicked on this blog post probably means you have a good idea why you want to garden for wildlife – or indeed why you already do. But it is still worth reminding ourselves why it is such a good thing to do. For some, it is about the sheer, simple joy of watching living things – connecting with nature, if you like – right on your doorstep.

CUCKOO – HARBINGER OF SPRING AND CHEAT

Cuckoos are on the way! Satellite tagging by the British Trust for Ornithology has revealed their extraordinary journey. Cuckoos spend the winter with lowland gorillas in the African Congo rainforests. They leave in early March and fly to West Africa, where they fatten up in preparation for the crossing of the Sahara. They then endure a 50-60 hour non-stop flight over this vast desert. After recuperating on the shores of the Mediterranean, they continue north through Europe, reaching Britain towards the end of April.

Red dragons

Could today be the start of dragonfly and damselfly season? asks David Chandler…   April 17th. That’s my earliest date for seeing a dragonfly or damselfly in the UK. It was 2011, I was in Devon, and the record-breaking beast was a Large Red Damselfly. This species is normally the opening act of the dragonfly season. Most Large Red Damselflies emerge over a three-week period in the spring, though some emerge later and the further north you are the later they are likely to emerge. This is an easy species to identify –… Read More

An Underwater Walk in a Beech Woodland

Easter holidays are here, take the chance to get out and about in a woodland near you. Tessa Wardley describes a recent trip: I’m crouched down leaning against the smooth bark of an old Beech tree, it is a rare sunny day this winter and I’m hiding, as part of a game of ‘thicket’. I’m well hidden by the girth of the tree even in my layers of down jacket and I peer up to contemplate the canopy that reaches invitingly over my head. At this time of year there is little leaf cover but if I close my… Read More

Puffins pummelled by winter storms

Euan Dunn, RSPB’s Principal Marine Advisor and author of the new RSPB Spotlight: Puffins, looks at the effect of winter storms on Puffins. We have heard a great deal, and rightly so, about the massive impact that a seemingly endless conveyor belt of Atlantic storms had on the Somerset Levels and elsewhere on land. But the waves as tall as church towers that battered the coast were, beyond the scope of telephoto cameras, meanwhile wreaking havoc on seabirds out at sea. The scale of the damage inflicted, especially on Puffins, is only… Read More

Wildflower wonders

Author and photographer, Bob Gibbons suggests this is the perfect time for a trip to The Mani Peninsula to see amazing displays of wild flowers. There’s a remote peninsula in the far south of mainland Greece that still, after more than 20 visits, seems to me like a little bit of paradise. It’s the central peninsula of the Peloponnese, pointing, like a bony finger, southwards towards Crete and Africa, and when you’re there it feels like the end of the line. The whole Peloponnese is a strikingly mountainous land, wild and unspoilt;… Read More

A place for the misfit

Conor Jameson marks the death of The Goshawk author T.H White. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the death of author T. H. White, probably best remembered by bird enthusiasts for his mini epic The Goshawk (1951), and by the general public for The Once and Future King, his Arthurian novels, and the blockbuster Disney and Broadway spin-offs that ensued. Like J. A. Baker, author of The Peregrine (1967), White’s work has inspired a number of prominent naturalists. It seems timely to remember the man, and reflect on his life and… Read More

1963 – 2013: birding at Southill Park revisited

Conor Jameson’s British Birds feature provides food for thought on the changing status of species at Southill Park over the past 60 years. While doing some research for my book Silent Spring Revisited, I came across a 1963 issue of the Bedfordshire Naturalist journal that included an account by Bruce Campbell of a nesting bird survey that he and the (then) British Birds editor James Ferguson-Lees carried out that year. They were repeating a survey first conducted sixty years earlier. Campbell takes up the tale: ‘On June 4th, 1903, Jannion Steele-Elliott, the… Read More