The now classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List, UK Amber and Red List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review and as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, Eurasian Curlew are still holding on at Upton Warren in the landlocked county of Worcestershire in the West Midlands region, and they can be seen throughout autumn and winter, roosting at The Flashes most evenings.
For waders they’re large and tall, approx the size of female a Pheasant – making them the largest European wading bird. Their haunting call (‘Cur-lee’) is unmistakable – it’s one of my favourite bird calls – it can be heard from February through to July on its breeding grounds; wet grasslands, farmland, heath and moorlands. From July onwards coastal numbers start to build up and peak in January.
Curlews feed on worms, shrimps and shellfish. The largest concentrations of them are found at Morecambe Bay, the Solway Firth, the Wash and the Dee, plus, the Severn, Humber and Thames estuaries. Their greatest breeding numbers are found in north Wales, the Pennines, the southern uplands and east Highlands of Scotland and the Northern Isles.
The agricultural intensification (e.g drainage and reseeding) of upland farmland and moorland – plus the afforestation of moorland – is a big factor in the decline of their breeding population.
Despite Snowmageddon, the Beast from the East and Storm Emma, some animals will still be going about their business as usual, if you can believe it! The videos below are of what you may see if you venture out, if not, then you got to enjoy these species in detail in the comfort of your home, and maybe would have learnt a thing or two about them as well!
The weather has been inclement again, and I was off to the N.E.C later as a member of Press, to report on BBC Gardeners’ World Live. So I opted to write a wild poem; I was happy there was a break in between showers, because I was able to get out into my partner’s garden to recite my poem.
Today I helped out at Cranesbill Nursery – it’s a lovely company that sells Hardy Geraniums. ‘Cranesbill’ is the common name for a Hardy Geranium, and there were plenty of Bees buzzing around them today. Many of the varieties on the nursery are in flower at the moment, and they are fantastic for creating that rich micro-climate for wildlife in your garden. The plants are very diverse – they come from all over the world – so the good thing about them is that you can literally find one for every part of the garden, and because they come from a variety of climates, by mixing them up within your borders, you can ensure that you have flowers from very early in the growing year, until late Autumn, therefore providing a food source for wildlife for a very long period. So naturally I put a flower behind my ear. 😉
The nursery is located on a farm – just on the edge of South Staffordshire – where I observed Swallows, Skylarks, House Sparrows, baby Rabbits, Moths and Butterflies (as well as the Bees).
Finally! I’ve managed a blog on the actually day! Well it’s night now, but you know what I mean! 😄
The weather was gorgeous today – so on my way back from my parents, I decided to film a stretch of road I grew up near (using my phone); showing off the fields, trees and farmland I used to explore and play around, thus showing how Green Birmingham is! I still enjoy a good walk around there, passing from the Suburb into the Country, and there are parts of it still left to be explored by me. 💚
I love the Greenbelt in my feature image and my video below – if houses are ever built there, it would surely break my heart… 💔 Just the thought of it makes me extremely upset… Anyway! There’s a meadow, which you see a bit of (it has the Oak Tree almost in the middle) – I have seen a few of my first ever Butterflies in that very field!
I should also mention; the video features a bit of road I filmed last night too…
This month I’ve decided to focus on some wildlife that takes a backseat, and is often overlooked – Reptiles and Amphibians! 🐍 🐸
ARG UK have teamed up with Amphibian and Reptile Conservation; to bring us a Record Pool of our water loving and sun loving friends! In the video below I interview Underwater Cameraman, Jack Perks – to give us some tips and the lowdown on this nationwide survey.
Wildlife Monthly – my seasonal video guide to British wildlife – is back! 😃
It has been 5 whole years since my first ever episode! There were two series in total, which Reader’s Digest Magazine featured on their website, with the last episodes being uploaded at the end of May 2012. Each month I produced 3 videos around a minute or more, detailing flora and fauna (mainly fauna) for you to look out for; be it in your garden, local park/reserve or further afield.
The idea this year, if all goes to plan, is to produce a single video per month, following that same criteria. Episode 1 of 2016’s Wildlife Monthly is in support of the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch, in which I made some pink bird food. It was filmed at Moseley Old Hall – National Trust, which is in located on the boarder of South Staffordshire and Wolverhampton – where for the day, I was Lord of the Manor. 😉
Red Fat Balls and Lard Cake Recipe:
250g Lard (I used dripping, it’s fine to use suet and vegetable fat)
150g Sunflower Hearts
100g Crushed Peanuts
50g Porridge Oats
1 Red Gel Food Colour (Dr. Oetker)
Doubtless you’ll be doing yours in a kitchen!
Crush the Peanuts with a pestle and mortar, or put them between a tea-towel and whack them with a rolling-pin.
You don’t want to deep-fry the food, so just melt your chosen fat on a low-to-medium heat/flame.
(Add everything to the lard and mix together) Turn your heat right down. When everything is mixed together, line a small cuboid container with either grease-proof paper or clingfilm, fill it with the mixture halfway and pop it into the fridge – to set for an hour – creating your Lard Cake.
Pop the rest of the mixture into the fridge for approx. 45 minutes, stirring every few minutes initially, so when it comes to making the mixture into balls it’s at the right consistency.
Roll the mixture into fatballs – you should get approx. 6 in total.
The rest is self-explantory/can be gathered from my video above…
The breeding population of Goldfinches has risen by approx. 91% in recent years, and in Ireland the increase was around 158%! The British Trust for Ornithology has launched a survey to determine what is attracting these fabulous finches to our gardens. — BTO.org/Goldfinch-Survey
It’s estimated that since the 70’s we have lost 6 million House Sparrows! However, I’m proud to write; in Birmingham they are in good numbers! Along with Devon and Dorset, bucking the trend. 😊
To catch up on pervious episodes of Wildlife Monthly, click here.