Ian Short


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Spring and summer wildlife highlights

For me, the pleasure of seeing wildlife depends heavily on the setting, location, and health of the species. As an example, every so often at College Lake in Tring there turns up an isolated wading bird that should really be with others of its kind in North or South America. Probably it has been blown […]


This summer we visited Tarn-et-Garonne, in southern France, staying near the Aveyron river. It’s a great area for butterflies, because of the climate, the soil, and the low intensity organic farming. In fact, so rich was the country for butterflies that it made me wonder why we bother in England desperately trying to protect a […]

Spring is coming

A stroll through my local patch today revealed the early signs of spring. Two white-tailed bumblebees greet me at the start. I tried to get a look at their bums. Wrens were in song along the river, their homes in tatters after the carnage left by the modern-day coppicing machines. Then, a butterfly, first of […]

British Petroleum

BP continues with its plans for extreme deep water oil drilling in the Amazon Reef. I will not buy petrol from them unless they cancel these plans, and I recommend that you do the same. Watch this short video by Greenpeace UK about BP.   Is it really worth destroying one of the beautiful natural wonders […]

Howe Park Wood and Salcey Forest

The best place in Milton Keynes is Howe Park Wood, and that’s where I took I and J this Saturday, for a wildlife event run by Milton Keynes Parks Trust. We were greeted by two privet hawk moths. The Wildlife Trust were there as usual, and Butterfly Conservation. I was glad to see lots of […]


Our latest family adventure, during the Whit half term, was to Pembrokeshire, in the far west of Wales. Broadly speaking, Pembrokeshire is a big farm with a lovely coastline and a few towns and nature reserves dotted around. The coastal path is well maintained, but the inland paths that we visited were not, for the […]

Don’t vote Conservative

Here’s a tool by Avaaz to help you decide who to vote for to stop the Conservative Party gaining (more) power: Avaaz – vote smart. Mark Avery’s blog post on the disregard for the environment in the Conservative Party manifesto is worth a read: http://markavery.info/2017/05/19/conservative-party-manifesto/.

Tree bumblebees

Recently, there have been a load of bumblebees buzzing around outside a crevice in the wall of one the university building. Here’s a snapshot of some of them. Several bees were flying round in circles outside the nest, while other bees flew in and out, seemingly oblivious to those loitering outside. Eventually, with the help […]

Wildlife at the OU

This weekend we visited Marston Vale Country Park, as we often do, for I’s birthday. There wasn’t much to see… perhaps because of our binoculars skills. It got me thinking about the abundance of wildlife I see at the OU. The River Ouzel flows through the university (it’s a tributary of the Great Ouse), and birds […]

Blooming bitterns

Today we went searching for bitterns. We persuaded the girls to go along with this by telling them about the booming noise that bitterns make during mating season – booming bitterns. J understood this as blooming bitterns. Our first stop was Foxcote reservoir near Buckingham. No luck there – it was far too misty. However, […]

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