More tales from the urban jungle

In line with the government guidance, this week, time in nature has been squeezed and condensed. A  few short forays to my local park and innumerable laps of our eerily quiet street the best I could muster while sticking to the law. Outside, the seasons advance regardless of the turmoil unfolding in human society and…

Croaky! – Thousands of toads make perilous mass migration to breed

Each night a sleepy corner of the country witnesses an amphibian march as hundreds of toads and newts make a perilous journey across a busy road to breed. This mass migration to the Woodland Trust owned Haddon Wood, near Castle Carey, Somerset, is being charted for the first time by a team of hardy volunteers….

Signs of Spring, by Frances Jones

My walk through the woods has become significantly more important for me since the announcement came that the country was going into lockdown. The song of the blackbird, the sight of a butterfly; these and many more moments have become more precious as the freedom to move whenever and wherever is reduced. After a number…

Tales from the urban jungle

It certainly feels like Spring has sprung in my little corner of Newcastle: garish daffodils of all shapes and sizes adorn the roadsides, House Sparrows emerge from beneath the slates of terraced homes and cool yet brighter mornings are marked by the fluted notes of Song Thrush and the caterwauling of returning Lesser Black-backed Gulls….

Enjoying a waif from the East

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of catching up with the long-staying male Black-throated Thrush at Whipsnade Zoo, in Bedfordshire (a long way from home for this Geordie). Enjoying a scarce bird is always a pleasure but, I confess, the experience of observing just such a lost waif in the company of free-ranging South American…

Bringing Nature into the Music Lesson, by Frances Jones

On New Year’s Eve, in a cosy cafe over pots of tea, a friend put a question to the group: ‘So what are you going to do to save the planet this year?’ I don’t fly, and have for a long time tried to tread lightly and shop sustainably, although I can always do better….

Winter Walks in the Vineyard, by Frances Jones

The bright sunshine urged me out of doors this Sunday morning, and I pulled on boots and a raincoat in readiness for a walk. Long-standing readers of this blog may recall I previously wrote about experiencing nature in the city. Living in the midst of a built-up area, surrounded by blocks of flats and busy…

Winter wildlife doesn’t come much better than this

It’s shaping up to be a good year for Bohemian Waxwings (Bombycilla garrulus). Sure, the much anticipated ‘waxwing winter’ – an irregular spectacle marked by the mass arrival of these colourful birds to our shores – never quite came fruition, but there are still a good number around. Hundreds, as opposed to thousands, yet more…

700,000 free trees for local communities

Nearly three-quarter of a million trees are winging their way across the UK as part of the Woodland Trust’s Big Climate Fightback. Almost 4,000 schools and community groups will be taking delivery of the free saplings over the next two weeks, and while each group has its own reasons for planting, every tree will count…

The Big Climate Fightback – #Everytreecounts

TV’s Sandi Toksvig and Clive Anderson join charity’s calls for people power in wake of repeated government failings on urgent tree planting to tackle climate change. The Woodland Trust is launching the UK’s largest mass tree planting campaign – urging the public to pick up their spades and take action on climate change. The Big…

Northumberland launches strategy to protect white-clawed crayfish

It has been a long time since I last stumbled across a White-clawed Crayfish during a lazy riverside walk in Northumberland, and longer still since I dared hope that their population here, in one of their last strongholds, could be considered anything other than ephemeral. It was a great pleasure, therefore, to hear that a…