Category: Nature and Environment

Quote of the Day: The RSPB on looking after wildlife in a heatwave

Like a number of other countries, Britain is currently sweltering in the midst of a heatwave. It’s hard enough for humans to cope in the hot weather (personally, I hate it – when it’s freezing cold you can always put another jumper on, but in this heat you can’t take your skin off!), but imagine what it must be like for our wildlife, which has already been battered by the strange weather we’ve been having so far this year.

Fortunately, anyone can help keep an eye on our wildlife during this heatwave – and here’s some simple and really good advice on how to do just that from Val Osborne, who is the head of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’ wildlife enquiries team:

While we all revel in an unusually sunny summer, our garden wildlife might not be having such a good time. The hot weather could be causing natural water sources to dry up, meaning birds and hedgehogs could be left without anything to drink.

Turning your outside space into a home for nature by doing simple things like topping up your birdbath, creating a make-shift pond from a washing-up tub or putting down a saucer filled with water could offer a vital lifeline to some of our garden favourites that are already fighting against declines.

Some critters are going to need extra food too, as Osborne also notes:

When it’s particularly dry, worms tunnel right down into the soil, meaning they become out of reach to the wildlife that usually feasts on them, such as blackbirds, robins, hedgehogs and frogs.

If the hot, dry conditions carry on we may see wild plants start to die, meaning bees and butterflies will find it hard. If that happens, our gardens and the well-watered plants in them will become even more important to these insects.

You can find some more good advice on looking after wildlife in hot weather here.

Plus, if you have pets, there’s some great info from the Battersea Cats & Dogs Home on keeping them safe during a heatwave here.

Oh, and if you’re out and about, you can bring me back an ice lolly please!

Stay safe and stay cool…

Seven little goslings…

Seven little goslings...

Cute, aren’t they? This magnificent seven live along the Grand Union Canal at Ladbroke Grove in west London, and are being beautifully looked after by mum and dad. In fact, when I passed them this evening, they were sat on the grass, all trying to wriggle under mum’s wing at once to keep warm! I couldn’t help but smile at the sight of these seven little signs that spring has finally arrived…

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Celebrating Grow Heathrow’s 3rd birthday!

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Last Saturday, I headed off to Sipson to wish the wonderful Grow Heathrow project a very happy third birthday. Although they have the possibility of a legal judgement looming over them that could – sadly – lead to their eviction from this fantastic site, they still know how to throw a great birthday party – and I hope they have many more!

Signs of Spring at Syon Lane

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It may still be distinctly chilly in London, but there are already signs of spring in the air. And this means that Syon Lane Community Allotment is beginning to come out of its winter hibernation at last. If you look very closely, you can see new growth appearing everywhere as the cycle of the seasons repeats…

Interested in what we’re doing at the allotment? You’re in luck. Spring also means that the Syon Lane Sunday open days are back each week from 12pm. All are welcome!

For details on how to get to us, see the website here – and you can join in the discussion on Facebook and Twitter too.

You can find more of my photographs from Syon Lane here.

Winter at Syon Lane

After the recent good news about the Syon Lane Community Allotment, I visited again on a cold December Sunday afternoon. With no leaves on the trees and very little growing, the place looked stark and wintery – so I grabbed a few photographs before the light faded…

For more information about Syon Lane, visit their website or see more of my photos here.

Good news from Syon Lane!

Syon Lane Community Allotment entrance (Photo: Claire Butler, 26/02/12)

I’m very pleased to report that, after much diplomatic negotiation, the volunteers at Syon Lane Community Allotment have been granted another year on the site – it seems that after a lot of hard work on the part of the volunteers over the last couple of years (including winning an award and being featured in the local paper!), the owner of the land was impressed with what has been achieved and was therefore happy to extend their time there.

And I’m looking forward to getting back down there with my camera…

If you’d like to know more, or are interested in getting involved, please visit the Syon Lane website or contact the team on Twitter.

Down by the River

Digging though the Another Kind Of Mind media library, I came across some photographs I had uploaded over the summer and then promptly forgotten about, so I thought I would share them with you now (plus, we haven’t had any ducks round these parts for a while!). Most of these were taken along my favourite stretch of the Thames between Twickenham and Richmond in south-west London during the early summer of 2012.

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Grow Heathrow Open Day

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Many of you will have already seen my meeting with a curious owl at the Grow Heathrow open day last weekend, but here’s some other pics from the day that I’ve finally managed to get uploaded!

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A hoot of an afternoon (sorry…)

Meet Sonny (above) and Tallulah (below), possibly the most chilled out Barn Owls in the world. I met them this afternoon at the Grow Heathrow open day in Sipson – they’d been brought along by a local owl rescue centre (which, I have to admit, I didn’t even know existed until today!) to meet everyone.

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