Top 10 Facts: Fly Agaric

Infamous. Amantia muscaria is one of the most recognisable fungi in the world. A recent study by European scientists, during which subjects were shown images of various mushrooms, found that respondents successfully identified the species on 96% of occasions. Common, white forms of fungi were successfully identified by only 53% of participants. Romanticised. The red…

Top 10 Facts: House Sparrow

A history of declines. Once one of Britain’s commonest birds, sparrow numbers have crashed in recent years, with London alone losing three-quarters of its sparrows between 1994 and 2000. Declines in rural sparrow populations are thought to be a result of changing farming practices, particularly the loss of Winter stubble, though the exact reasons for…

Top 10 Facts: Long-eared Owl

Communal Roosts. A unique characteristic of the Long-eared Owl is its tendency to roost communally during Winter. Usually solitary, this species has been known to gather in groups of between 2 to 20 individuals, usually in thick cover, but in some locations have been observed gathering in incredibly large numbers. A prime example of one such prominent…

Top 10 Facts: Yew

One of the oldest wooden artefacts ever discovered by modern humans was made from Yew – a spearhead found in Essex dated at approximately 450,000 years of age. This particular spearhead was unearthed in 1911 at Clacton-on-sea and represents not only the oldest wooden find from the UK but one of the most significant worldwide.

Top 10 Facts: Surprising UK Non-Natives

American Bullfrog Lithobates catesbeianus. Around twice the length of our native Common Frog, American Bullfrogs are most often identified by their loud, deep calls. Deemed a risk to British wildlife due to their tendency to prey on everything from small mammals and ducklings to other amphibians, Bullfrogs may also spread Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis – a form of Chytrid…

Top 10 Facts: Mallard

High-flyer. The humble Mallard has been recorded flying at speeds of up to 55 miles per hour – slightly faster than the average speed of most waterfowl. While the Mallard does not typically fly at altitudes greater than 10,000 feet, in 1962 one was struck and killed by an airliner flying at 21,000 feet –…

Top 10 Facts: The Tawny Owl

I heard a Tawny Owl last night. A nocturnal foray to my local store interrupted by an eerie, frightfully abrupt, yet oddly soothing shriek from the branches of a Sycamore in the local churchyard. A sound which I hear often, both in the countryside and closer to home, amid the houses of Bedlington, that never…