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Adventures in Nature
How we got out more in February
28th February 2018

“Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get”  Mark Twain

Rain, mud, ice and snow: the thing about the early months of the year is there is an awful lot of weather about.  From heavy rain to snow showers and strong winds, hardly a week has gone by in the last couple of months when our outdoor sessions have not affected by some kind of inclement weather.  But it hasn’t stopped us and our hardy participants from getting out more and in this, and all our blog posts this year, we’ll be catching up each month with the photos and feedback from our various projects. (more…)

Wild Encounters #6: Halichoerus grypus
9th January 2018

Unlike on my other Wild Encounter experiences this year, there was no problem spotting my final subject.  They were spread out along the beach in their thousands, their haunting calls carrying over the dunes before I could even see them.  Although normally at home out at sea, in November and December huge numbers of grey seal come to the mainland to give birth and breed.  It’s a spectacular sight which can be witnessed at a handful of sites along the east coast. (more…)

Wild Encounters#5: Sciurus vulgaris
28th November 2017

 

I had been trying to catch sight of red squirrels in the wild for a few years.  On trips to the Lakes or Scotland I had spent hours watching in woodlands to catch brief glimpses in the trees, but now in a woodland in my native Yorkshire they seemed to be everywhere, clambering up trees, scampering across logs and even running around my feet. The conifer woodland in Snaizeholme in Wensleydale is refuge for red squirrels who thrive there, thanks to its isolation and a conservation programme by local landowners.  (more…)

Wild Encounters#4: Arvicola amphibius
18th August 2017

Water Vole by Peter Trimming. Image from Flickr licensed under Creative Common

I walked barefoot along the board walk early one summer morning, trying to creep up one of Britain’s rarest mammals.  At this time of day, I had Malham Tarn to myself, so my ears were straining above the hum of insects and songs of birds, to hear a watery splash.  That was what had alerted me to its presence when I visited the nature reserve last summer, but today the slow moving streams were almost silent.  I peered into the clear water which runs into England’s highest freshwater lake, but only the underwater reeds were stirring. (more…)

Wild Encounters#3: Meles Meles
28th May 2017

We regularly meet badgers in children’s stories, usually as the wise old elder, (e.g. Wind in the Willows, Fanastic Mr Fox), or occasionally as a savage and cunning baddie (e.g. The Tale of Mr Tod, Watership Down), but either way, if there is an anthropomorphic tale set in a woodland, Mr Brock Badger will be there. Adopted as the symbol of the Wildlife Trusts and blamed for the spread of bovine TB, they seem equally loved and loathed and stand in the middle of the battleground of our attitudes towards nature. (more…)