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Wildlife
We're about more than just birds (though obviously we like them a lot).
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  • Blog Post: Butterflies - Winging it?

    I’ve always felt that butterflies were show-offs, or maybe even a bit mad! When nearly all other flying insects try to keep a low profile, with a nice plain appearance and speedy movements, butterflies seem to waltz around doing the exact opposite. Like bits of brightly coloured paper caught...
  • Blog Post: The big butterfly count 2016 is underway!

    It's a busy time for our friends at Butterfly Conservation. The big butterfly count has started! You can take part anytime between now and 7 August . All you have to do is count butterflies for 15 minutes (dry, sunny weather is best), then send in details of what you've seen via the survey...
  • Blog Post: Aliens in Bedfordshire?

    Last week I thought I’d found evidence that aliens existed. Walking round the gardens at The Lodge, at lunchtime, I came to a large pond where a number of people were gathered. They were peering at something at the water’s edge; some were taking pictures. Elbowing my way to the front, I saw...
  • Blog Post: Hornet or moth?

    A striking-looking creature has caused a stir on an RSPB nature reserve today. It looks like a huge hornet, but on closer inspection - note the furry antennae, small eyes and chunky body - it's actually a moth. A lunar hornet moth, to be precise. The magnificent moth was spotted at RSPB...
  • Blog Post: Monday's magic moment: nature's tiny jewels

    Now's the time to head down to a river, stream or pond near you and watch out for tiny, delicate jewels. Spring is the time when many of our damselflies and dragonflies can be seen. How do you tell the difference between the two? Well, dragonflies are larger than damselflies, and rest with their...
  • Blog Post: Monday's magic moment: dragons and damsels

    This is one of my favourite times of year... the time when dragonflies and damselflies are emerging. These colourful insects can be seen near streams, rivers and ponds almost anywhere - town or country. The bigger dragonflies can spend up to three years living underwater as a larva. The four-spotted...
  • Blog Post: Monday's magic moment: hummingbird in your garden?

    Contrary to popular belief, moths don't only come out at night. This beauty is a hummingbird hawkmoth , a migratory species which flies during the day - and now is a great time to see one, almost anywhere. And, appropriately enough, it's National Insect Week ! Our friends at Butterfly Conservation...
  • Blog Post: Monday's magic moment: beautiful?

    With it's hairy legs, pincer like jaws and bulbous eyes you could be forgiven for thinking the ' beautiful demoiselle ' (a kind of damselfly) is poorly named. But it if you catch a glimpse of them or the banded demoiselle in flight you can appreciate why their genus name Calopteryx is...
  • Blog Post: Monday's magic moment: eating locusts

    Last week I was in the closest thing Europe has to a desert. This already feels like a distant memory, but being hit in the face by a relative of this guy - the desert locust - was not a forgettable experience. This image wasn’t taken in the desert but in Norfolk! Given that these creatures...
  • Blog Post: Tuesday moment: invading spiders

    Although I’m sure they play a vital role in our habitats, I must admit to not being a fan of the ordinary, homing-in-on-your-jam-sandwich kind of wasp . But donning the classic colours that scream ‘danger!’ to would be predators, the aptly named wasp spider holds much greater appeal...
  • Blog Post: Monday's Magic Moment: bumbling along

    The low drone of bumblebees busy collecting pollen was the soundtrack to my lazy Sunday afternoon enjoying the sun. And had I been inclined to open my eyes and watch this busy to-ing and fro-ing, I'm sure I'd have seen a scence very much like this one captured by Richard Bedford. You can...
  • Blog Post: Monday's Magic Moment: Nelly the Elephant

    Do you have elephants in the neighbourhood? There's a good chance that you do. This beautiful, exotic-looking creature is an elephant hawkmoth , photographed by Richard Revels and part of our RSPB Images library . Many hawkmoths spend the day snoozing, coming out at dusk to feed. As the photo...
  • Blog Post: Just add water for wildlife

    It's almost a year since we dug a pond in our garden - with the wholehearted blessing of our conservation-friendly landlord. What a year it's been. I only wish I'd done it earlier. There was hard work initially, when we dug a hole measuring 3.5 m x 2.5 m, and 0.75 m deep (about 11'...
  • Blog Post: This weekend... it's Moth Night

    Did you know it's Moth Night - a celebration of the UK's moths and learning more about them. As you can see from the photo above (pine, elephant, eyed and poplar hawkmoths that came to my garden on Tuesday night), they aren't all boring - far from it. They come in a weird and wonderful...
  • Blog Post: Bigging up the little guys

    Insects come in a variety of sizes and colours, but sadly, I can't say that I ever really pay that much attention to the little guys of our ecosystem, although I often see the evidence that they have been around - the intricate patterns left in leaves and bits of foliage missing as they happily chomp...
  • Blog Post: This weekend... dip into pondlife

    Did you catch BBC Springwatch this week? There were so many amazing things to see, from foxes, nuthatches and ospreys to moles, kingfishers and barn owls. But this weekend, my personal recommendation would be to steer clear of all those charismatic, cute and fluffy things. Go pond dipping and prepare...
  • Blog Post: Monday's magic moment: hovering around

    This week sees the start of National Insect Week . So, to celebrate, I've picked this simply stunning image of two hoverflies alighting on a coneflower. Hoverflies are some of my favourite insects , with their intricate patterns and habit of micmicking bees and wasps. These two are marmalade hoverflies...
  • Blog Post: Dragons in your garden?

    Like three tiny fighter planes, they cruised menacingly past, cagily eyeing each other from afar. Suddenly, they came together in a blur of wings and engaged in a furious catfight, ending with one tumbling unceremoniously into the water. This is no tale of Battle of Britain gallantry in the skies above...
  • Blog Post: Neglected by people, valuable to nature

    Brownfield land refers to those places that humans have developed but then left to ruin. While they might look far from ideal habitat, many species thrive here in people’s absence. There are examples everywhere and I’m sure you can think of a derelict building nearby with weeds and fast...
  • Blog Post: Spotlight on: stag beetles

    Today is the last in our series of spotlights on species that you might see during your Make Your Nature Count survey. And what a handsome beastie we've got for you! Holding the title of Britain's largest beetle, I present to you the stag beetle: I first fell in love with stag beetles...
  • Blog Post: It's not a bird and doesn't look like a lady

    My wife George and daughter Florence spent the day in the garden at Florence's grandparents on Wednesday. It's so nice that we can start to spend a bit more time outside now the weather's picking up. They came home telling me about a creepy crawly they'd never seen before. My in-laws...
  • Blog Post: This weekend...create a buzz in your garden

    Add a splash of colour to your garden this weekend by turning your balcony, patio, or window ledge into a miniature garden. Although window boxes , hanging baskets , planters and tubs may not be the largest of areas, you'll find lots of insects more than grateful for your efforts. Just imagine being...
  • Blog Post: Entering another world

    Today, Lucinda and I spent our lunchtime staring into a tree. We had intended to go for a walk around the reserve, but got no further than the 'formal' gardens. 'Formal' is a bit of a misnomer; although the layout of the gardens is what you'd expect at a large, country house, they're...
  • Blog Post: Monday's Magic Moment: ruddy beautiful!

    Who says that we don't have bright, colourful wildlife in the UK? You won't get much brighter than this male ruddy darter dragonfly , photographed by Steve Knell. Head over to RSPB Images to view other photos and buy beautiful prints.
  • Blog Post: Marvels of migration

    'We have had a wonderful summer watching a pair of spotted flycatchers nesting in the climbing rose next to our house, followed by the feeding of their two chicks, and now the surprisingly noisy teaching of the young to learn their fly catching skills. When you realise these sparrow-sized birds...