Its UK Fungus day! I just had to write a blog. The UK has over 15,000 different species of wild fungi. Personally I think that is really cool but when some people they hear the word ‘Fungus’ they think it’s disgusting. Really, it’s incredible and very important to our Ecosystem. We also eat various mushrooms.
Two weekends ago I met up with Louis Driver to go to the Farne Islands to film the artic terns and other sea birds on the island. It was the first time we’d managed to meet up since the BTO Bird Camp in May. The weekend was a ‘gift’ from my parents for my birthday – they knew they couldn’t go wrong with a weekend away watching wildlife in Northumberland, where my mum spent a number of years living while her dad worked at RAF Boulmer.
At the beginning of the year a number of young people, including myself, were selected to go the BTO Bird Camp 2017 kindly funded by the Cameron Bespolka Trust. The camp is aimed at young people and getting them more involved with birds and nature. It gives the participants access to experiences that they may not otherwise normally get to do and allow them to get closer to nature.
In the middle of March the frogs laid their clumps of spawn which was quite amazing to see in my fish pond but I knew it wouldn’t last long when the tadpoles hatched before the fish gobbled them ALL up!
It was 2 years ago that I made a small frog pond up the back of the garden in an old tub which I put in the ground. Then the year after we had lots of tadpoles which I transferred into it. Then I realized that it would not be big enough so I made a frog pond covering 1 and a half metres long and a metre deep. There was also a shallow side for the frogs to spawn.
On my previous ringing session blog #10 I was helping to catch Jack Snipe to be ringed, ever since I have been emailing Iain Livingston to check when he would be going ringing. He said on Saturday that he would be ringing at Strathclyde and I was welcome to come and help!
It was a Friday and sunny day so I decided to head down to my local patch (Greenbank Gardens in Clarkston, Glasgow) for a bit of nest recording.
The time I spent there was really worth it as in a couple of hours I managed to find the following nests: 5 blue tit, 1 bullfinch, 4 wren, 1 robin (with 4 eggs), 1 blackcap (building) and 7 blackbird (at different stages). The song thrushes were also out collecting worms in the main grassy area. First they would spear a worm with their beaks before shaking off the dirt and finally swallowing them whole: it was amazing to watch!
The Easter holidays were nearly here, just a week to go! It was my first bird ringing session with Iain Livingston at Cathkin Marshes Nature Reserve near Glasgow.
I arrived there and met Iain, Jim Douglas (the Reserve Warden) and a number of other volunteers. Iain explained what the drill was for using the net; we had to drag it across sections of the bog before pushing down the edges every so often and walking over it carefully hoping to flush an elusive Jack Snipe or two!
The weather in the highlands had started getting milder so I decided to take the chance to get some photos before most of the snow had melted.
I had recently been to Cardwell Bay near Port Glasgow where I met someone who told me that there were some interesting species around in the highlands like Snow Buntings, Ptarmigan, and Red Grouse in addition to a host of more common species. So, this weekend I went up to Grantown-on-Spey with my family where we stayed in the Grant Arms Hotel. The hotel is has a dedicated Wildlife and Birdwatching club and holds nightly talks and has experts on-hand to advise on good local sites to visit.
It was the school mid-term holiday in February, so I decided to use this time off to do some more wildlife photography.
I’d recently got a new app (Bird Guides) which gives me real-time information on bird locations and it was telling me there were some Waxwings less than half an hour away at Hamilton; so I set off to find them. This time I was hoping to get some photos of them actually feeding on berries.
It was coming up to the end of January so I decided to make the most of my last weekend of the month. Having set myself a very ambitious target to see 100 new species this year, I decided to go to a place called Ardmore Point (on the west coast of Scotland) hoping to see some new divers/ducks that could increase my monthly total of 7 new species so far this month.