This year Naturetale has again run its offer of a day out spotting wild flowers with our team for someone who has bought the app. This year’s winner was Monika Koch of Wild Adventures under Suffolk’s Skies and Stars of Suffolk. Most helpfully, the area around Monika’s base at Aldburgh, Suffolk has some great wild flower locations – and as Monika organises nature walks she knows exactly where these are.
And so it was that Richard and I headed over to Aldburgh (or, more accurately, Snape) on Saturday 6 August. Continue reading →
So I’ve had a new experience today – I was interviewed for about five minutes on BBC Radio Essex (and no, not at 3 in the morning). Radio Essex wanted to give some coverage to the RSPB’s campaign to encourage folk to let their garden lawns grow a little longer to help wildlife. This helps in two ways – it enables meadow flowers such as Cowslips to stand a chance, while the longer grass is needed by certain species of butterfly, such as the Speckled Wood. And, of course, it means that you have to mow it less. Continue reading →
I recently had the pleasure of a morning in the company of Dr. Ria Dunkley. Ria is a post-doc researcher at the Sustainable Places Research Institute, part of Cardiff University. Ria has noticed that a) ‘Citizen Science’ is all the rage and, b) no one actually knows why people volunteer to do it. So she’s set up a research project to find out. And I was one of her first victims – sorry, subjects. Continue reading →
It seems that these days few things is life are simple – and identifying how to set up your charity is no exception. To be fair, the Government has provided lots of guidance, standardised documentation, and so on to help. So it’s not overly complicated, but it does need careful thinking through.
Apparently Essex and Suffolk now hold around a third of the (dwindling) UK population of Turtle Doves. So action to help them around here makes good sense, which is why the RSPB has set up a project to do so. A week ago an opportunity to do this arose on a military base in the middle of Essex (if I tell you where, I shall have to kill myself). Continue reading →
Many people interested in birds will have heard of the Ouse Washes – one of the largest areas of wet grazing marsh in England, at 1,900 hectares. In the summer it provides breeding habitat for a range of special birds, while when flooded in the winter it hosts an estimated 100,000 wintering waterfowl and waders.
But there are two big changes happening in the Great Ouse ‘valley’ – one driven by negative factors, and the other by positive ones. Continue reading →
One of the most ambitious and sophisticated habitat creation projects (‘restoration’ doesn’t really fit the bill) is currently underway at Wallasea Island, in Essex. According to the RSPB, the aim of this project is to combat the threats from climate change and coastal flooding by recreating the ancient wetland landscape of mudflats and saltmarsh, lagoons and pasture. Continue reading →
Dr. Jeffo, the botanical brains behind the Naturetale app, graced us with his presence this last weekend. As always we had a trip out to ‘do nature’. The idea was to visit Chafford Hundred, and a couple of other places in the vicinity. Chafford Hundred is ‘best’ known as a large housing development next to Lakeland shopping centre, Thurrock. However inconveniently for the developers the area had previously been used to quarry chalk. Continue reading →
Two years ago, before I’d dreamt up the Naturetale app, I paid little attention to flowers and considered them a bit boring. This was largely because they didn’t move or do much – unlike birds. Of course, it’s difficult to develop a product if you know little about its subject matter. So over the last two years I’ve learnt quite a lot – including the realisation that plants are (or at least can be) interesting.
Something else I’ve learnt is that Plantlife, a leading plant conservation charity, run a national survey of plants, designed for people nearly as ignorant as me to take part in. Continue reading →