Appleton Wildlife Diary is 5 years old today

When I started Appleton Wildlife Diary 5 years ago I never imagined that I would still be writing it 5 years later.

Over the past 5 years I have had some amazing wildlife encounters, met some inspirational people and been involved in some great projects.

I must admit sometimes it has been a chore, I love the photography but going home and writing about it is harder, but then something inspires me and my enthusiasm is back again.

I’m passionate about getting other kids interested in wildlife and showing people that fantastic wildlife can be found on your Local Patch when you step outside and look, so I’m really pleased to announce that I have written a book about UK wildlife, for kids and teenagers, to encourage interaction with nature and to hopefully inspire more people to explore their Local Patch

The publishing contracts have been signed, but it will be 2019 before the book is on sale.

I just wanted to say thank you for all the support and the advice from everyone I have met over the past 5 years.

Thank you for all the social media follows, retweets, likes, shares and comments.

Stay Wild



Posted in Animals, Badgers, Birdfair, birds, Blogging, Books, Every child wild, Local patch, mammals, nature, outdoors, Oxfordshire, photography, Springwatch Unsprung, trail camera, Uncategorized, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Wildlife photography, Woodland | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Explosion of insects

With all the warm weather over the past couple of weeks the air, the hedgerow and the field margin are now full of insects.

Not only is this beautiful to see but it is also a great food source for all birds.

Over the meadow the Swallows swoop low to catch their prey, the Blackbirds hop around picking up unfortunate insects off the ground and Blue tits search the canopy of the woods after food for the chicks.

Green Nettle Weevil

Green Nettle Weevil

Wasp Beetle

Wasp beetle

Common Blue Damselfly

Common Blue Damselfly

Speckled Wood Butterfly

Speckled Wood Butterfly

Posted in Barn owl, Butterfly, insects, Local patch, nature, Oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Wildlife photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Growing badger cubs

It’s been a couple of weeks since the badger cubs have emerged from the safety of the underground chambers and there have been some up’s and down’s.

I discovered a dead badger cub not far from the sett. A tiny little thing that probably died of natural causes. In a large litter it is unusual for the smaller cub to survive.

So far the weather has been kind to the cubs, it rained a lot in April allowing mum to feed well and have a good supply of milk. Now the weather has turned sunny and stream close to the sett has dried up, it means the cubs, who are becoming more adventurous and relying less on their mother’s milk, will have to travel further to the bigger brook to drink.

At the moment they are not leaving their mum’s or their babysitters side for a minute. A couple of nights ago we saw the mum trot passed through the undergrowth with one cub desperately running to keep up.


2018 badger cubsBadger cubs x 2



Posted in Animals, Badgers, Blogging, Local patch, mammals, nature, outdoors, Oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Wildlife photography, Woodland | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments


Around my local patch I get 4 different types of owls. Barn owl, Tawny owl, Little owl and Short- eared owl.

Over the past couple of weeks both a Barn owl and two Little owls have been very visible.

Five facts about Barn owls

  • Adult Barn owls mate for life
  • Barn owls eat an average of 4 small mammals per night
  • Female Barn owls weigh around 360g, while males weigh around 330g
  • While flying it is difficult to tell male from female. Close up females have spots on their chest while males are generally all white. Females have darker brown feathers around the rim of the facial disc
  • Fastest recorded speed of a Barn owl was 55mph

Barn owl on post


Five facts about Little owls

  • Little owls also mate for life, they remain in their territory throughout the year
  • Main prey for Little owls is invertebrates, especially moths and beetles. they will also eat small rodents and even roosting small birds.
  • Little owls have an undulating flight, similar to a green woodpecker
  • They are around 22 centimetres in length with a wingspan of 56 centimetres for both male and female. They weigh about 180 grams
  • Little owls hunt from fence posts or run along the ground after beetles.

Little owl on barn

Little owls



Posted in Barn owl, birds, Blogging, Local patch, nature, Oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Wildlife photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

If you go down to the woods today – May 2018

If you go down to the woods today, just one word describes it – Bluebells

The woodland floor is a carpet of blue and after the recent warm weather the air is full  with the heavy scent of Bluebells.


The native Bluebells you find in the woods are different from the Spanish Bluebells that you often find in gardens.

Here’s how you can tell the difference

English bluebells have a scent, Spanish don’t
English Bluebells have a drooping stem, Spanish ones have a straight stem
English Bluebells have narrow leaves (under 1.5cm wide), Spanish ones have wider leaves.
English Bluebells have deep blue, violet flowers which curl back at the ends, Spanish ones are paler and straighter
English Bluebells have cream coloured anthers, Spanish ones mainly have blue anthers.





Posted in Blogging, Oxfordshire, Uncategorized, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Woodland | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

First glimpse of 2018 badger cubs

I’m really please to discover, after waiting patiently, that this years badger cubs are finally being brave enough to venture above ground.


It’s been really interesting watch through all of the trail camera footage, of which the above film is only a very small selection.

There seems to be two adults looking after the cubs. Mum (Arrow) and another female.

You can see the other female grooming a cub in the clip, then Arrow turns up and the first female very slightly dips her head down.

The other badgers seem to be comfortable with the cubs around and towards the end of the clip you can see an adult walk over as a cub climbs underneath it.


Posted in Animals, Badgers, Blogging, Bushnell, Local patch, mammals, nature, outdoors, Oxfordshire, trail camera, Uncategorized, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Snares and badgers

Boris is a year old badger that just over a week ago got himself in a bit of a predicament.

A very thoughtful member of the public contacted Oxon Badger Group about a badger that had been caught in some wire.

It turned out that the badger was actually caught in a snare.

badger in snare

Photo credit – Oxon Badger Group

Unfortunately snares are not illegal, and are used to catch mainly foxes and rabbits. Snares are designed to capture the animal alive for the owner of the snare to return and kill it. Many animals suffer badly in snares in their panic to escape.

Also many ‘non target’ animals get caught in snares including badgers, cats and dogs.

The League against Cruel Sports has a campaign against snares which you can read here.

The Wildlife Crime Unit are dealing with this.

Luckily for Boris, he was rescued by members of the Oxon Badger Group and another kind individual, and rushed to Tiggywinkles Animal Hospital.

badger ready to go to Tiggywinkles

Photo credit – Oxon Badger Group

Tiggywinkles did a fantastic job of looking after Boris, who had injuries around his chest from the snare.

After a week of antibiotics and painkillers Boris was free to be released. I was very lucky to be there when he went. It all happened so quickly. As soon as the lock was lifted, he pushed open the door  himself and ran off in to the undergrowth.

ready for release

Good luck Boris and stay safe

Posted in Animals, Badgers, mammals, nature, Oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Wildlife Crime, Wildlife photography, Wildlife Rescue | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments