A visit to Leighton Moss

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Today I went down to Leighton Moss, an RSPB reserve in Lancashire known for its extensive reed bed habitat. Apparently plenty of other people had the same idea, as it took me some time to find a spot in the car park! Continue reading

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Adding to my adder count

I had another snake sighting in Cumbria in late June.

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This morning, I drove up to Cumbria again to go for a walk around another nature reserve. It was a hazy morning, quite cool at first in the woodland, but it had certainly warmed up by the time I got out into the open to walk along the bog boardwalk.

I got a pleasant surprise when I happened to look to the side at the right moment and recognise the distinctive zigzag of an adder, sunbathing on top of the dead leaves – the second adder I’ve seen this year. I managed to get one photograph without being able to see its head; but before I had even begun to move to try and get a better view, it slithered under the leaves and out of sight, hissing as it went.

Adder

And on the way back, there was a common lizard sunning itself on the boardwalk too.

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My first badgers!

Back in June, I saw badgers for the first time!

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I had an exciting time yesterday evening, when I was able to go out to a hide to watch for badgers – which would be the first time I had seen a badger that wasn’t roadkill.

We started watching at about 7:30pm. It proved to be a busy spot in terms of wildlife; there were several nervous rabbits, a couple of grey squirrels having the occasional disagreement, and a colourful jay. Finally, around 8:30, came the moment we had been waiting for: the black-and-white face of an adult female badger emerged from the bushes, hanging around in the open for less than a minute before going back the way she had come.

I wondered if that brief glimpse was all we were going to get, but within the next 45 minutes, a lone badger appeared a couple more times, hanging around the entrance to the sett. Then, at about 9:15, we…

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Childhood Memories of Nature

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In the May 2018 issue of BBC Wildlife Magazine, there’s a thought-provoking article by zoologist and TV presenter Jess French, in which she comments on how many children these days are not encouraged to get involved with nature, their parents being happy to let them be entertained via digital means. Though I don’t have any children of my own, it’s all too easy to see this as the case today, and it’s a real shame. As Jess points out, early experiences are very important – I know that my own exposure to nature in childhood made a lasting impression and ensured that I would always retain that interest.

In the early-to-mid 1990s, even before the Internet provided easy information access, there were plenty of books and television programmes which could expand my knowledge beyond what was on the doorstep. Probably the one that made the biggest impression on me…

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Bank Holiday Beetling

It was a sunny Bank Holiday weekend at the beginning of May, perfect for getting out and about…

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Normally, you can expect Bank Holidays in the UK to be as wet and windy as the rest of the year, if not more so. But on this particular Bank Holiday weekend, Britain is experiencing a heatwave. It’s been so hot and sunny that I found myself getting that feeling of pleasure and contentment associated with being on holiday in happy foreign climes. And such weather shouldn’t be wasted, so these past two days, I’ve been spending plenty of time outdoors!

On Saturday, I went down to Warton Hall outside Lytham St Annes, which was opening its garden to the public for a few days. Wildlife TV presenter Nigel Marven – whom I had last encountered in the Philippines – was there, giving a talk on his reptilian pets and allowing the delighted children in the audience to handle them. These included two blue-tongued skinks and a ball python; as…

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Roaming for reptiles in Cumbria

Thinking back to finding reptiles in Cumbria this spring…

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Spring has definitely arrived in my neck of the woods, and as well as checking up on my local ponds for frogs spawning in early March, I’ve also been looking for opportunities to find a British reptile or two. In April, I paid a couple of visits to Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve in south Cumbria, a peatbog area where you need to use a boardwalk to get around.

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When I visited at the beginning of April, good sunshine was intermittent and the weather was fairly chilly. It was late morning when I suddenly spotted two common lizards (Zootoca vivipara) basking on a south-facing patch of moss at the bottom of a tree. Walking up and down the boardwalk, I had five more sightings of lizards within half an hour.

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In the past few days, Britain has enjoyed some especially warm weather, and today seemed like a good day…

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Welcome to my new blog!

Hello,

Since January 2014, I have been blogging at http://velociraptor256.wordpress.com, about all sorts of different things that interest me: from book reviews, to travel stories, to interesting trivia. Now I’ve decided to bring some additional organisation to my blogging. I’ve set up this new site, which I’m going to reserve for blogging about one of my favourite subjects: animals.

Here, I’ll be posting about the wildlife I see in my local area, as well as any wildlife-related travelling I do, plus other titbits like interesting news or nature-related books I come across. I’ll still be maintaining my old blog for other subjects, and keeping any articles relating to nature that I’ve already posted there. In the ‘Travels’ link above, you can find links to articles about my previous overseas adventures.

This should be fun!

Richard