Spring news

We’ve been a bit busy recently with stuff and so we haven’t had time to update the site. Here are a few news stories we’ve missed:

Mammals and birds

  • Water voles have surprised ecologists by abandoning their herbivorous diet and developing a taste for frogs’ legs. More
  • Cranes, with their huge eight-feet wingspan, were once a common sight in wetlands across the country. But in the 1600s, a loss of habitat – coupled with relentless persecution by man – made this charismatic species extinct in Britain.Now they are set to return. More
  • One of the rarest mating rituals of any British animal has finally been caught on camera. A BBC natural history film crew has captured what experts believe is the first footage of a male bittern “booming” in daylight in the UK. More
  • The tawny owl population in one of the UK’s largest forests is booming as a result of the harsh winter, a Forestry Commission expert said today.There has been a significant increase in the number of voles, which the birds of prey feed on, in Kielder Forest, Northumberland, and experts believe this is linked to the recent cold weather. More

Flora

  • Britain’s rarest flower given round-the-clock police protection More
  • The english oak, the quintessential native tree which saved a monarch and defines the British landscape, is under grave threat from a little-understood new disease that forestry experts fear is spreading far more rapidly across the country than previously estimated. More

Other stories

  • Archives of environmentalist Roger Deakin given to university.Life’s work of pioneering nature writer handed to University of East Anglia, including swimming trunks and fishy manuscript. More
  • Garden ponds unwittingly polluted by tap water. Survey of garden ponds finds many have high level of nitrates from tap water that can harm wildlife More
  • Rubbish tips, supermarket car parks and motorway verges are to become wildlife reserves, under plans to revolutionise conservation. More
  • A moth new to science and found nowhere else in the world has been formally recognised as living in the UK. More
  • Over-fishing means UK trawlers have to work 17 times as hard for the same fish catch as 120 years ago, a study shows. Researchers used port records dating from the late 1800s, when mechanised boats were replacing sailing vessels. In the journal Nature Communications, they say this implies “an extraordinary decline” in fish stocks and “profound” ecosystem changes. More

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