One of the earliest signs of spring – but undoubtedly one of the least noticed – is the emergence of bats from their winter hibernation. These are probably our least known and most poorly understood mammals. Most people are barely aware of their existence, yet with 16 British species they are our commonest mammal family.
June 2009 – In early summer woods which will later be full of fungi are home to one of our most mysterious and least-seen breeding birds..
February 2009 – Fungi fanatics hate the phrase ‘toadstool’ because it is both laden with prejudice and deeply-misleading – when did you last see a toad on a mushroom?
The recent Arctic weather might convince us we are still locked in winter, but our birds are not fooled. They sense the lengthening days and have spotted the first shoots and are already preparing for the frenzied activity of the coming breeding season. . . Take magpies, always one of our most visible species, which […]
Winter is a great opportunity to get a close encounter with one of our most striking garden visitors: the great spotted woodpecker. This, our commonest and most widely distributed woodpecker, is now found across most of mainland Britain.
Collared doves are so common today that we don’t give them a thought. These little pigeons with their pink-buff plumage, black collar and gentle coo-ing call, are ubiquitous in every city, town and village across the country. They are so much a feature of modern life that even the oldest birdwatcher can find it hard to recall that just a few decades ago they were unknown in Western Europe.
Wales is about to see the return of a native, last seen in the Principality some four centuries ago. Next year a small group of Europe’s largest rodent are to be released in the spectacular scenery of the Rheidol Valley, 10 miles upstream from Aberystwyth . . . At first glance the idea of returning […]
To take a snowy woodland walk in the depths of winter is to enter an almost strange new world – the landscape is starkly monochrome and all sounds are muted. For residents of Sussex, Dorset, Gloucestershire and parts of Scotland, the alien nature of this world has recently become even more pronounced – and tinged […]
As the first really sharp weather hits Britain, our damp woods and field edges will be inundated by a vast influx of superbly-camouflaged immigrants. Arriving without paperwork or invitation, these East Europe refugees are welcomed by conservationists and sportsmen alike . . . This is the annual woodcock ‘fall’ when millions of these challenging game […]
December 2009 – As we tuck into hearty mushroom casseroles, Daniel Butler argues the mistle thrush, not the robin, should be the real Christmas bird…