Last year (2019) a cool and vibrant book became available to purchase from your favourite bookstore and for your Ebook devices, written by an inspirational social media friend and fellow naturalist, Alex White! Published by Dived Up.
First off, what I really like is howcolourfuland cleverly graphically designed it is. Alex’s pictures are great and used superbly throughout the publication. Each page grabs your attention; what is said / written and each animal featured is captioned / labelled with its scientific name.
The tone of the book is encouraging, it balances out negativity and positivity. It is realistic, well humoured and in no way are you patronised or made to feel bad. As Chris Packham says, it’s heartening.
It is packed full of tips and hints. There is a brilliant quote on page 20 and on page 41 Alex details a magical encounter. I must admit; I found it hard to put this book down, it’s a real page turner.
Wildlife on your doorstep, locally and further afield is promoted, plus it covers what to see each month (bang in the middle of the book) and discusses Social Media, Local Groups and Clubs, which is really good.
Throughout there are contributions from familiar faces, people on Social Media, TV, Radio and in Magazines. In the section entitled Next Generation, I have a few pages detailing my career path (page 130-132).
Alex’s writing style is engaging, insightful, honest and down to earth. Get Your Boots On is excellent! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Made in October 2011 [VIDEOS], three great things to look out for this month: acorn crazy Jays, Rutting Fallow Deer & fun looking Fungi!
🥜 🦌 🍄
Apologies for the inaccuracies in the Fungi video; pronunciation of hallucinogenic and apparently you can eat Amethyst Deceivers – but it is better to be safe than sorry! (No matter how good a recipe sounds!)
Wednesday last week (09/01/2019) I spent a day at Pitsford Water in Northamptonshire, with James Burman. We were there to track down one, if not both, of the Great Northern Divers (GND) a.k.a Common Loon, which are currently wintering there.
On our long walk around this vast body of water (starting at the Dam), we saw the usual suspects, along with approx four Goldeneye (drake & hen), two Great White Egrets (on the other side of the Causeway) and two lovely Stonechat (male & female at the Causeway entrance) on some flowering Gorse.
After getting a good look at the Stonechat pair and a quick scan of the water, we were going to walk speedily to where the sailing club part is, as there had been an update on the reports of them and one had been seen there, and James says: “Adam, I’ve seen something that definitely isn’t a Cormorant! It has just dived.” So we stopped with our binoculars at the ready and James pointed it out when it resurfaced, I didn’t need my bins to confirm it was what we were looking for! As it was by the waters edge and I recognised it instantly! I exclaimed: “That’s it! That’s the Great Northern Diver!” 😁 ⬇️ My video ⬇️
Recently I read that British GNDs mainly winter in the Mediterranean, and the ones that winter in the UK are usually from Iceland.
On Tuesday I got up somewhat early, to arrive in Leicestershire for sunrise, where I met up with my friend James Burman. We planned to have a full day to locate, observe and film (or photograph in James’s case) his local Kingfishers, which frequent a river in the middle of a fairly busy town.
Two years ago my friend Jamie Wyver and I visited the wonderful Welney Wetland Centre, near Wisbech in the east of England (Norfolk). We were there filming for episode five of our TV series, The Wild Side, which was commissioned and broadcast by Cambridge TV (now called That’s Cambridge). The main subject of course, was the beautiful Bewick’s and Whooper Swans, as they migrate there each year in their thousands from Artic Russia and Iceland. You’ll see in the last part of the episode (below), I was given the amazing opportunity to perform a floodlit feed!
On 28th March (2018) I was out walking with my mum, when I spotted a couple of Nuthatches on the edge of a wood where we were just about to walk through, and I happened to notice that one of them was putting mud around a hole in a tree, as its nest is in the cavity of the tree.
My mum and I was delighted to witness this and were both surprised at how close to the path it was. Recently I purchased my latest video camera – my first semi-professional one – a Canon XF300 and decided I would return on a day with better weather and test it out on the Nuthatches.
On 5th April (2018), the conditions were perfect, so I went to where I observed said behaviour and thankfully the construction was continuing and below is what I filmed:
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!
Joined up with midlands naturalist Adam L. Canning for a trip over to Hilbre Island, Cheshire yesterday for a winter fix of waders and sea ducks. A total of 7hrs was spent on the island with Adam, resulting in a number of notable species: Purple Sandpiper, Common Scoter, Rock Pipit, Brent Goose (ssp. hota), Common Eider and an unseasonable Northern Gannet to name but a few.
The perfect lighting gave way for some ample photographic opportunities of the wintering Purple Sandpipers on the island, I’ve uploaded several onto the blog. Hopefully you’ll be able to make out the purple iridescence which gives them their name.