Monday, 26 October 2009


Hi everyone,
Sorry I haven't been posting recently I moved both house and country and have been rushing around with job hunting, costuming and trying to find volunteering opportunities.
Things are now starting to get into a rhythm, so I hope I can start posting again soon.
I do have lots of articles and reviews just waiting for me to sit down and write them, and my volunteering to talk about.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Return of the Aurochs

After my recent article on Aurochs in Germany, I have just discovered that a herd is being established in South West England.

The herd, along with water voles and beavers, are at Uppcott Farm, near Liftondown in Devon and would be worth a visit.

Full Article from the Times here

My article on Aurochs here

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Earth News

The BBC has revamped their news website and now has a decidated section for 'life on Earth'

Earth News

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Getting Involved Part I - Join a Group

I am lucky in that where I live (Al Ain, UAE) there is a very active natural history group, which organises field trips and lectures on all sorts of interesting subjects. I have blogged on these trips before and I record what I see on field trips in my online notebook.
But even if you live in the city there may be a conservation group that you can join to both meet like minded people and explore the greener parts of your city.

Most counties in the UK have a dedicated Wildlife Trust and you can find your local trust here
The wildlife trusts helps people to engage with British Wildlife and learn about conservation through activities such as surveying wildlife. They also manage nature reserves and publish books and reports on their activities.

If bats are your thing there are a lot of regional Bat Groups under the UK Bat Conservation Trust umbrella. You can do training courses that will allow you to handle bats (in the UK you need a licence to do so) and they also run the bat helpline that non Batworkers can call if they are having problems with bats or have found an injured one.

The Mammal Society is all about the study of British mammals and not only can you participate in field work such as surveying, but they also run training courses on various aspects of mammal study such as radio tracking or identification.

The Amateur Entomological Society has fairs and local meetings if you are interested in insects as well as publishing a scientific journal. As with most of these societies you can take part in record keeping and surveying, as well general conservation efforts and raising awareness of British insects.

Finally there is the British Herpetological Society dedicated to the conservation of our native reptiles and amphibians. This group also publish a quarterly academic journal, so great for those really dedicated to Herpetology.

If your tastes are more exotic then there are hobbyist's societies such as the International Herpetology Society and the British Tarantula Society that can cater for you.
These groups have lectures, and often arrange trips to Zoos and shows, where you can meet even more people and get involved.

Tell me about what you do to get involved.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Quirks and Quarks on CBC Radio 1

Quirks and Quarks is Canadian public radio's science programme, and is probably one of the best English language science radio shows. The shows covers a wide range of topics with space and nature being among the most popular. The majority of shows consist of ten minute interviews with the scientists themselves. Often these will be projects that are currently in the news, and the website provides excellent links not only to CBC articles and official press releases, but often to the paper that has been published.
The presenter Bob Macdonald is excellent, he does not patronise the audience and is an intelligent interviewer who comes across as genuinely interested in the people he interviews, and doesn't just act the 'everyman journalist talking with those crazy egg head science people' which can happen in some science journalism.

Here is an extract from a January show

Unnatural Selection

"It's perhaps not surprising that humans are having an impact on the evolution of other animals on the planet. What is surprising, according to Dr. Chris Darimont, an NSERC postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is the way we're doing it."

listen to the whole segment here

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Getting Involved Part II - Nature Walk

2. Go for a Walk with a Camera & Notebook

Wherever you are head off for a walk. Keep your eyes peeled for every little sign of nature, even in the city centre. I have seen wild snap dragons growing on the roof of a plastic bag factory and ferns in the roof of a station. Take photos, make notes and share on your blog or a blog dedicated to urban nature.

If you are in country do the same, really stop and examine where you are, sit down and get to ground level, look for insects, smell the smells, avoid cowpats, close your eyes and listen to the birds singing and again take pictures and make notes.

Wherever you have been, when you get home get out a field guide and try and identify what you have seen. If you are having trouble there are various fora dedicated to helping you ID your sightings.

Forums & ID Guides

Insects & other Invertebrates


Sadly the excellent forum on this site has been hacked.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

On the Track of Known Unknowns

post on Scorpion Geckos removed until Drew Gardner has published in Tribulus.