A ball on a stick

I had a nice disturbance from computer work this morning as a group of long-tailed tits landed on the tree outside our office window. These have got to be my favourite birds, they are so charismatic. The RSPB page about them describes them as a ball on a stick, as their tails are longer than their bodies. They moved too fast for me to get a photo, but the RSPB site has some drawings and audio clips of their distinctive calls.


Analyse your survey results

Completed an OPAL survey? Want to find out more about what your results mean and how they compare with findings from the rest of the country? The OPAL website now provides a number of new ways to analyse survey results.

Air survey

What's your pollution score?


Banish the winter blues

I was at Anglers Country Park near Wakefield this week, delivering training to Countryside Rangers about the OPAL Air Survey , hoping to persuade them how wonderful lichens were. One of the Rangers, Sue, clearly didn't need much persuasion, she sent me a wonderful email after the session, saying "I've always liked lichens but don't know enough about them". Even better she sent me these fantastic photographs, which really cheered me up and helped banish those "it's cold, grey, sleeting, and still 1 week to go til Christmas" blues.


Harvesting Complete

by Ed Tripp, University of Nottingham

All 514 seedlings have been harvested.

It took a good week or so to separate all the seedlings from the soil, dry them in an oven to remove the water, and then to weigh them.

It looks like the initial results are OK; there is some relationship between plant size and nitrogen deposition. However, there are still a great many factors that need to be included in the analysis which could explain the differences in plant size.



I've really got interested in fungi identification this year, inspired by a trip to the Cairngorms where the birch woods were full of boletus species. Boletus don't have gills like the mushrooms you buy in the shops, instead they have pores, which look like an array of tiny little tubes stacked together. Here's some photos taken by my friend Ellie at Skipwith Common near York who is also just getting into fungi ID: This specimen was the largest we'd ever seen and was more than a bit past it!


Explore wildlife with The Darwin Guide

The Darwin GuideLearn to discover wildlife just like Charles Darwin. A free guide produced by the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) helps you follow in his footsteps.

In celebration of Darwin’s bicentenary and the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species, the NBN has produced The Darwin Guide to Recording Wildlife.


2010 - International Year of Biodiversity

Grey HeronWe all rely on the rich diversity of life to provide us with  food, clothes, fuel and medicine. Unfortunately, we are losing species and their habitats at an ever faster rate. Now is the time to take action.

The International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) launched this week in the UK. It offers the perfect opportunity to learn more about the issues we face and how you can help.