An accidental Adder
By     |    Mar 25, 2013
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An accidental Adder

Sometimes you have to search long and hard for wildlife. Sometimes, it is just a case of being in the right place at the right time. We are in Pembrokeshire on holiday and it is a beautiful sunny morning. Izzy has walked a long way already, with a brief playground stop, from the cottage in Newport down to the Nevern Estuary. Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Wigeon, Mallards, Teal, Little Grebes [...]

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Daffodils at Dunsford
By     |    Mar 24, 2013
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Daffodils at Dunsford

The week has passed in a flurry of snow and sleet, so, when the sun shone this morning, and I felt its warm rays on my face for the first time in months, it was as though a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Wanting to make the most of the clement weather, I head to a favourite spot of mine, Dunsford Woods, with Izzy, Ben and Bramble in [...]

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An exotic sort of duck
By     |    Mar 11, 2013
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An exotic sort of duck

It has been a draining week, with one very long day in hospital followed by an anxious, ongoing, wait for Izzy’s blood test results. So, it is nice to have something to celebrate today – my second Mother’s Day as a mum. It starts well, with breakfast in bed and the presentation of a home-made card featuring four multicolored felt-tip squiggles that Izzy assures me are Mummy, Daddy, Izzy and [...]

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Fossil hunting
By     |    Mar 3, 2013
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Fossil hunting

We cross the footbridge over the River Char, Izzy mimicking the female Mallards that quack below us, and spot Rock Pipits and Pied Wagtails flitting about the shack that serves as a beach cafe. Izzy is excited to find a large piece of driftwood, which I help her to climb over. Then, she spots the water and with a shout of “Sea!” runs towards it, tripping over the pebbles in her haste. She splashes [...]

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Woodland heronry
By     |    Feb 23, 2013
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Woodland heronry

I peer out of the bird hide’s window, trying to pinpoint the source of the guttural, dinosaur sounds that are filtering through the woodland and see, in the very tops of the oak trees, a dozen giant, grey birds sitting in the branches and tending their messy stick nests. It is early in the season, but Swell Wood contains the largest heronry in the south-west and in April, when breeding [...]

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Finding frogspawn
By     |    Feb 16, 2013
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Finding frogspawn

Izzy starts to jiggle excitedly in her carrier as we approach Tottiford Reservoir. “Bath!” She cries, pointing at the water, “Bath! Bath!” I explain to her that the water is cold and deep, not like a bath at all, then put her down to walk amongst the Rhododendrons. A few minutes later she stops to stare at the mud that has dirtied her shiny purple shoes. I show her that [...]

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Birds of marsh and farm
By     |    Feb 10, 2013
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Birds of marsh and farm

Beyond the desolate car park and sorry-looking mini-golf course of the flood-damaged Swan’s Nest pub we find Powderham Marshes RSPB Reserve. Led by a noisy guide in flashy lime attire, a Green Woodpecker, we follow the path around the field edges. A couple of Mute Swans, these ones so different from the bold birds we met at the quay last week, are resting by a stream, next to some Canada [...]

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Feeding the swans
By     |    Feb 1, 2013
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Feeding the swans

1 February 2013 It has been a week full of flu and we have mainly spent it sitting in front of the fire feeling sorry for ourselves, so it is good to get some fresh air today. We are in the centre of Exeter, surrounded by birds, for wild things have a way of sneaking into even the most urban of places. I know Exeter Quay well, as I once [...]

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Mosses and waterfalls
By     |    Jan 19, 2013
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Mosses and waterfalls

  11th January 2013 I hold tightly onto Izzy’s hand as she careers down the steep tree-lined valley slope, which drips with mosses, liverworts and lichens. At this point in the winter there are few flowers to be found, but the lower plants – the ferns, mosses and liverworts, as well as the wonderfully varied lichens, are resplendent and all the more impressive for the lack of any other greenery. [...]

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Shellseeking
By     |    Jan 12, 2013
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Shellseeking

9thJanuary 2013 It feels like spring today as we step onto the vast sandy beach at Westward Ho! We wander along the edge of the waves, running away from the water when it laps a little too close to our feet. We pop the bladders on some washed-up Egg Wrack and examine a mermaid’s purse, the empty eggcase of a Small Spotted Catshark. A Common Gull flaps lazily through the [...]

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