Youth Strike 4 Climate

Last Friday I joined thousands of school children around the UK, who joined thousands upon thousands of school children around the world in taking a few hours off school in strike action for climate change.

Last August Greta Thunberg from Sweden started sitting outside the Swedish Parliament during school hours with her sign Skolstrejk för klimatet (school strike for the climate) and demanded that the Swedish government reduced carbon emissions as stated in the Paris Agreement.

Since then Greta has inspired students around the world not only to join in with her strikes, but to start the conversation about climate change with their friends, their parents and teachers, to start looking at the way we live, what we consume and how we can change for a better future.

During a TED Talk in November Greta stated

‘We already have the facts and solutions, we need to do something now.’

‘We need hope but more than that we need action’.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2QxFM9y0tY&feature=youtu.be

The atmosphere in Oxford on Friday was unbelievable. I was surprised at the turnout. Children from Primary schools joined University students in a common goal, to raise awareness and to show adults that young people do care and we are the ones who will have to bare the consequences.

The posters and banners displayed a mixture of anger, criticism and disappointment but also showed hope, wit and a determination to change the future.

If these strikes only do one thing, I hope it will be to make the Government realise that while every single person can make changes that will help, it is changes in Government policies and large corporations that will make a real impact.

 

Posted in Blogging, Climate, Environment, nature, Oxfordshire, science, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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