Not quite the end
By     |    Jan 4, 2014
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Not quite the end

Izzy and I have had a wonderful year of wildlife watching together – we have visited some beautiful places and seen some amazing sights. But, things didn’t always go to plan and we didn’t always see what we set out to see – we failed on half a dozen occasions find Water Voles and the late spring ruined several planned trips, including one to see Snake’s-head Fritillaries. At times, when Izzy [...]

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Winter ducks at Slapton Ley
By     |    Jan 3, 2014
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Winter ducks at Slapton Ley

A wave takes me by surprise and, dragging Izzy with me, I scurry back up the beach, water lapping at my ankles. Having learnt our lesson, we wander, hand-in-hand, along the shingle shore at a safe distance from the water’s edge. We pause often, to build miniature houses out of large, flat stones for pebble people, to inspect shells, or seaweed, and once, to study a sea wash ball more closely. [...]

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A goosey gathering
By     |    Dec 15, 2013
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A goosey gathering

It is drizzling as we walk along the pavement next to the A379 between Cockwood and Starcross. A train thunders past on the adjacent track and a line of geese flap overhead, before spiralling down onto the green lawn of Oak Meadow Golf Club, which is designated as a County Wildlife Site for the birds that spend their winter here. The flock join dozens, if not hundreds of others. These [...]

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Lichens and tantrums at Ingra Tor
By     |    Dec 7, 2013
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Lichens and tantrums at Ingra Tor

Winter has arrived, but Izzy doesn’t seem to have noticed. For the past couple of weeks she has refused to wear anything other than a cotton dress. I’ve tried everything. I’ve tried dressing her dolls and myself with her clothes, I’ve tried begging, I’ve tried to slip a jumper over her head whilst she’s distracted, I’ve tried letting her choose her own outfit, I’ve tried calling her bluff, but when [...]

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Fox watch
By     |    Dec 1, 2013
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Fox watch

We stare out of my parents’ dining room window at a Fox, which is sitting in the field opposite the house. It takes a little while to realise that there is another Fox a few metres away from the first. I hold Izzy at my hip, so that she can see. “What’s that in the field?” I prompt. “Fox!” She cries. “Yep, two Foxes! Sunbathing, look!” One of the Foxes, [...]

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The lakes
By     |    Nov 23, 2013
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The lakes

It is a golden afternoon and with the flame-yellow maples reflecting perfectly on the lake’s glass-like surface, we could be in a postcard. We have been doing a little tour of Cotswold Water Park. I promised Izzy ducks and they have proved surprisingly hard to deliver. After last week’s visit to WWT Slimbridge, I think she is expecting a similar number of waterbirds here and so far, we have seen [...]

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Sand dunes
By     |    Nov 10, 2013
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Sand dunes

From the top of the large yellow dune we can see the sea, but it is too cold for swimming today. Izzy is disappointed, but, on this blustery day in October I am finding it hard to conjure up memories of the last time we went sea-swimming, when, mid-summer, the stones on Branscombe beach were almost unbearably hot. We survey the scene, taking in the wind farm on the horizon, [...]

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A dearth of Red Deer
By     |    Oct 27, 2013
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A dearth of Red Deer

OK, so there was never a very high chance of successfully watching the Red Deer rut with a toddler in tow, but I decided that it was worth a try and we headed to Rackenford Moor to try our luck. There have been thunderstorms this week and another one is threatening, now. Dark clouds bear down on us. I scan the bleak horizon for deer, but there are only cows and ponies to [...]

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Ash trees on the common
By     |    Oct 26, 2013
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Ash trees on the common

Minchinhampton Common is glowing in the low autumn sunshine. The limestone grassland, pockmarked with scars left by prehistoric field systems, Neolithic long barrows, quarries and second world war defences, provides a wonderful natural playground and Izzy is having a whale of a time racing up and down the steep sides of the depressions. I did the same as a kid. I have many happy memories of kite flying, dog-walking, blackberrying, [...]

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An orchard in the rain
By     |    Oct 4, 2013
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An orchard in the rain

It is not raining when we start our walk and I dress Izzy in a poncho, leaving the all-in-one waterproof in the car. This turns out to be a big mistake. We cross some fields and I lift Izzy over a couple of stiles, before we reach the orchard. Rows and rows of apple trees, laden with glossy red and green fruits, stretch into the distance. Apples in their hundreds [...]

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