The Hazel Dormouse AKA ”The Sleepy One”

Oh, To Sleep! With the number of dusk and dawn bat surveys we’ve undertaken this season approaching 200 between us, it is refreshing to survey dormice once in a while. It seems especially fitting as we have come to identify with the etymology of the word ‘dormouse’ which is thought to have possibly come from…

Red Squirrels on Brownsea Island

For some time now, we’ve been meaning to visit the remnant population of native red squirrels on Brownsea Island here in England. Last week, the opportunity finally arrived when a number of bat surveys came up in Poole, the town’s harbour in which Brownsea Island is located. Getting to Brownsea Island During the day between…

Putting a Face to a Sound: The Speckled Bush-cricket

That doesn’t sound like a bat… The majority of our paid work in the UK, especially as of late, is to carry out bat surveys. This involves turning up to a site just before dusk or dawn and listening out for bat echolocations using a special piece of equipment, a bat detector. Bats found in…

On the Road: Stag Beetles (Lucanus cervus)

Setting the Scene Now 250km in to my 1000km charity bike ride; tired, sore and almost at the brow of the last hill of the day, I cycled past a male stag beetle wandering out from the grass verge and heading straight for certain death in the two-way traffic. ‘But I’m so close to the…

Common Wall Lizards Basking in Basque Country

Across a gently flowing stream high in the forested mountains of the Basque Country, Spain, I spotted two basking common European wall lizards (Podarcis muralis). Without hesitation (like any good ecologist) I waded across the water to inspect. These two lizards (photographed at some distance with a 600mm telephoto lens) looked a lot like the…

Sphingids of Spain: The Broad-bordered Bee Hawk-moth

In this post, we want to share with you another beautiful Sphingid, the broad-bordered bee hawk-moth (Hemaris fuciformis). It is nationally scarce in the UK and restricted to small areas, so we were pretty excited to see it in Spain.

Sphingids of Spain: Is That a Hummingbird? No, It’s a Hawk-moth!

You might have noticed that we haven’t been blogging very much recently. The reason for this is because we’ve been on the road travelling through France and Spain. Tom cycled 1000 kilometres from Bristol, UK, to Toulouse, France, over eight days to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer UK in memory of his dad. Tom’s mum…

The Atlantic Puffin: Fun Facts Edition!

Did you know that ‘Puffinus puffinus’ is not the Latin name for any of the three puffin species?

How many Sandeels do you reckon a puffin can hold in its beak at once?

What is the oldest recorded lifespan of an Atlantic puffin on Skomer Island?

Read our blog post to find out. 🙂

Our Local Green Woodpecker Family

We have had the builders in putting up an extension to the house since our last post about our resident female Green Woodpecker.  As a result of the building works, we haven’t been able to get into the garden as much as we would normally. We haven’t even been able to hear the ‘yaffling’ of…

Ruby-tailed Wasp: Beautiful, But Deadly*

After a 4-hour drive home after a few days away, we finally pulled onto the drive.  With a sigh and a conscious mustering of energy, I attempted to swing myself from the car. Emma, sat in the passenger seat, suddenly pointed out of the window at the front wall of the house and said, ‘ruby-tailed wasp!’ I was…

A Day on Skomer Island, West Wales

Around this time last year, Tom surprised me with a birthday trip to Skomer Island. Man, did he earn himself some brownie-points that day! Well done, Tom. I’ll keep you on. 🙂 I started reminiscing about this little adventure after reading Jean Mackay’s blog post about her trip to see the puffins on the coast…

Gotta Count ’em All – Butterfly Bonanza

Over the past few weeks, we have been getting out and doing some volunteering.  Being self-employed ecologists racing across the globe back and forth from NZ to the UK and the UK to NZ, we spend a lot of our time chasing paid work. This doesn’t give us much time to volunteer. Saying that, if…