Raven

Raven (Corvus corax)

Each day around 4pm a raven passes over my house. Occasionally it stops on top of the nearby pylon and calls. Its deep, kraa call means I can hear it coming, long before I see it.

Today it passed over just as the sun was setting.

IMG_9451

Raven overhead

A few facts about Raven’s.

  • Ravens mate for life and live in pairs in a territory.
  • Young raven’s live together in flocks, until they mate and pair off.
  • The Raven’s lifespan is between 25 and 30 years
  • In the UK there are breeding 7,400 pairs
  • Ravens raise only one brood a year, between three and seven young
  • The collective noun for a group of raven’s is a CONSPIRACY of Raven’s
  • Raven’s are able to solve problems, with the same ability as dolphins or chimpanzees.
  • Raven’s can imitate sounds such as car engines, they can also imitate other animal sounds such as foxes.
  • Raven’s make a “comfort sound”, this is a soft warbling sound a mating pair will make to each other.
  • Raven’s protect the Tower of London – Should the ravens ever leave, the tower and the monarchy would fall.
  • Raven’s can hold a grudge. When researchers gave raven’s food the raven preferred the researcher who had previously shown themselves to be fair in their interactions over a researcher who had cheated them in the past
  • Simone Pika discovered that wild raven’s use their beaks to gesture to each other. They use their beaks similar to hands to show and offer objects such as moss, stones and twigs
Posted in birds, Blogging, Environment, Local patch, nature, Oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Wildlife photography | Tagged , , , , , | 13 Comments

Snow day 2019

Yesterday we had a snowday. School was cancelled, mainly because my school is on a hill and the buses are unable to get up the hill when it snows.

Getting out in the snow it was interesting to see which animals had been out and where they had been.

How many footprints do you recognise?

If you click on the photos, the caption tells you.

This morning the sunrise was amazing. As the suns rays crept across the field the few birds and animals that were out enjoyed a brief few hours of warmth.

Sunrise

Red kiteDunnock in the snowSnowy Robin

IMG_0938

Not really wildlife, but I couldn’t resist putting in a photo of my dog enjoying the snow.

My dog in the garden

Posted in Animals, Badgers, birds, Blogging, Environment, Local patch, mammals, nature, Oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, Wildlife photography, winter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Finding time for wildlife

Going through primary school and the lower years of secondary school I always found it really easy to find time to watch wildlife. Actually I didn’t ‘make’ time, the time was just there because I didn’t have any other pressures.

Now that I’m in my final year at school, especially this term, I’m finding it impossible to spend anytime with nature. Revision takes up a huge amount of time and one of my GCSE’s is Graphic communication. While there isn’t revision for this subject there is a large amount of time consuming background research and artwork.

The fact that it is dark around an hour after I get home from school doesn’t help either.

I know this is the sign of things to come as school will be replaced by college and college replaced by work, so I wonder if this is one of the reasons why many young people who were so passionate about wildlife start drifting away.

Frost

I put a ‘tweet’ out on Twitter the other day and so many others around my age replied with similar issues and some good advice, as follows.

  • Reward yourself with a walk
  • Plan something special for the holidays
  • Make the most of the long summer holidays
  • Time management (not my strong point)

The following day I was just opening my curtains first thing in the morning and I saw 2 foxes playing in the garden. It was as if they had come to visit me because I couldn’t go out to them. (Rubbish phone capture)

I have also found that using a trail camera is a good way to ‘see’ what wildlife is up to when I can’t get out.

Despite the cold weather the badgers are still active, the trail camera filmed 3 different badgers.

 

The fox is regularly visiting the garden to scavenge food from under the bird feeders or drink from the pond

Posted in Animals, Badgers, Blogging, fox, garden, mammals, nature, outdoors, photography, trail camera, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Wildlife photography, winter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Un Science An Animal

#UnscienceAnAnimal has been a hashtag on Twitter all day today.

I thought I would have a go myself.

Does anyone else have any funny names for badgers?

 

unscienceananimal (1)

 

Posted in Animals, Badgers, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Big Garden Bird Watch 2019

This is the 5th year I’ve taken part in the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch. It’s been interesting to look back at the last five years results and notice any changes that have occurred.

This morning was a drizzly, cold, dark morning which didn’t help with the photography. I tried to do the BGBW at the same time as I have in the past, 9am to 10am.

Firstly the decline of finches to my garden is the most obvious. I used to have quite a few Goldfinches and Greenfinches visit, but I rarely see them land or feed in my garden any more, although the good news is they haven’t completely disappeared as you can see from the photo, a large flock flew over this morning and I regularly see and hear huge numbers of them in the next door field.

I rarely see Greenfinches anymore and very few Chaffinches.

One big success is the number of House Sparrows that have returned to my garden, a few years ago we knocked down a garden wall and replaced it with hedges, I’m hoping as the hedges grow more birds will find shelter in them. It’s great to hear their constant chatter.

The Great Spotted woodpecker didn’t show this morning, but he has been around this week.

There are plenty of things people can do to encourage birds into their garden including feeding them, providing a bird bath, planting insect friendly plants, planting shrubs, trees, hedges or fruit trees (if you have space) and stop using pesticides.

The birds in my garden definitely prefer the feeders that are closer to a hedge or shrub than the ones out in the open as we are sometimes visited by the local Sparrowhawk.

bird garden bird watch chart

bgbw

Bird Garden Bird watch
2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Birds
Robin 1 1 1 2 2 2
Blue Tit 4 3 18 7 8 23
Great Tit 4 2 4 2 12 2
Long tailed tit 2 10 1
Coal Tit 2 1 1 2
House Sparrow 4 6 6
Dunnock 3 1 3 2 3 4
Wood Pigeon 2 3 2 4 4
Collard Dove 1 1 3 2 4
Jackdaw 2 5 6 3
Magpie 2 2
Crow 2
Chaffinch 1 1 2 3
Goldfinch 1 24
Green Finch 6 1 2
Blackbirds 2 3 3 3 3 2
Wren 1 1
Great spotted woodpecker 1 1 1
Redpoll 1
Pied wag tail 2

 

 

Posted in Animals, birds, Blogging, Citizen science, Environment, Every child wild, garden, Local patch, nature, photography, science, survey, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Wildlife photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

It’ll soon be the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2019

This weekend is the 2019 Big Garden Bird Watch. I’ve taken part each year for the past few years and it’s a really good excuse to sit uninterrupted and watch wildlife for an hour.

You can find out more and sign up here

https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch/packrequest/

With the cold weather the birds are coming to the feeders regularly so I’m hoping for a good count this year.

Here are few visitors from today.

Jackdaws in the snowDunnock on iceIMG_0787.jpg

Robin Jan 2019

A little while ago I was asked to have a look a book called ‘Encourage A Child To Watch Birds’. With mock GCSE’s and a GCSE graphic design project to hand in it’s been sat on my list of things to do, but as BGBW is fast approaching I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to review it.

As you may know my passion is to encourage other young people to become interested in wildlife so I’m happy to look at anything that does just that.

‘Encourage A Child To Watch Birds’ is a great little book aimed at helping parents of  mostly at 7 -12 year olds (but younger and older) to spark their child’s interest in birds. It is full of practical tips to encourage younger children to watch birds in their garden or in the park. The book has chapters on feeding birds, making nest boxes and listening for birds.

I really liked the questions which parents could ask their children to inspire them to ‘watch’ rather than just ‘look’. ‘Why do you think the Ducks are diving?’ and ‘Which birds prefer to pick seed from the ground, and which prefer to take seed from the seed feeders?’

The book also has projects that parents and children or teachers could do, such as listen to bird songs, count the number of visits that the birds make to the nest in one hour and establish your own garden feeding station.

With chapters on ‘Discover what owls eat’ and ‘Buy or borrow bird books’ this is a great way to inspire more young people in to watching birds.

https://encourageachild.org/

 

Posted in Animals, birds, Books, Every child wild, garden, Local patch, nature, RSPB, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Get Your Boots On

A couple of years ago I had the idea to write a book aimed at young people just like me. Something I would have wanted to read when I was just starting out. A book that would encourage more people to engage with the wildlife on their doorstep, to see how fantastic nature is, and in turn want to protect the wildlife that they fall in love with.

It is mind blowing that on the 3rd July 2019 ‘Get Your Boots On’ will be released.

From the beginning I wanted the book to be packed full of information, helpful hints and photographs. Not something you had to read from front to back but a guide you just picked up when you wanted inspiration. I asked lots of people for advice, from people who work with wildlife in one way or another, people who spend time with wildlife as a hobby, people who make it their life to protect wildlife, as well as young people the same age, older or younger than me.

There were times when I didn’t think the book would become anything more than pages and pages of notes tucked into a folder in my bedroom, there were times when I was told how hard it is to get a book published and metaphorically patted on the head and told to forget the idea, but as every word of encouragement came in, as each contribution came back and more words came spilling out on to the page, I became more determined that I was actually going to get this finished.

The publishers received from me the words and my photos, together with a rough idea of how I wanted the layout. As soon as a few sample pages came back to me I was astounded. I never imaging seeing my photos and words looking so fantastically laid out.

It’s been what seems like a very long journey, umming and ahing over particular photographs, changing words here and there, rewriting sections that after consideration didn’t fit any more.

I’m really looking forward to revealing more about the content as July gets closer and if the book inspires just one extra person to become excited about nature and wildlife then I’ll be happy.

get your boots on

Get Your Boots On is available for Pre-order from

https://divedup.com/shop/get-your-boots-on/

ISBN 978-1-909455-22-1

£14.95

Amazon or you could ask your local bookshop to order it in for you.

Description

Young wildlife champion Alex White is on a quest to get more people out enjoying nature. In this inspirational book, he and a host of well-known contributors reveal what got them into wildlife in the first place – now they want you to Get Your Boots On. They offer tales of encouragement for anyone who wants to get closer to nature and indispensable advice to those who would like to get more involved or even build a career out of their passion for wildlife. Illustrated throughout by Alex’s stunning photographs, this book will appeal to young and old alike. It suggests: when and where to get out there; what to go looking for; how to do it; what to take… and a host of other tips. Practical advice for getting closer to nature. Encouragement from those who have lived it.

Reviews of Get Your Boots On

‘This fabulous and important book. It’s good, it’s inspirational and – critically – it’s heartening’— Chris Packham.

‘Alex is prominent as a standard-bearer for [a] new generation of wildlife champions… he is giving hope and inspiration to young people across this nation that despite all the challenges we face, it is still possible to make this world a better place for humans and wildlife’— Dominic Dyer, CEO Badger Trust & British Wildlife Advocate Born Free Foundation

Author

Alex White is a wildlife photographer and blogger. Since the age of ten, he has won a number of photography competitions. He has appeared on panels and spoken to audiences about his love of wildlife, from small local gatherings to BBC TV’s Springwatch Unsprung. Alex is passionate about British wildlife — in particular mammals — and keen to show other people how to find amazing wildlife on their doorstep. His blog Appleton Wildlife Diaries is a finalist in the UK Blog Awards 2019.

 

Posted in Animals, Blogging, Books, Environment, Every child wild, Get Your Boots On, Local patch, nature, outdoors, photography, Uk nature, Uncategorized, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments