Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Princes tuna chunks

Did you know by eating Princes tuna chunks you are destroying other wildlife too? When Princes gets its tuna it is also killing endangered turtles, sharks, rays and other sea life.

Princes is using 'fish aggregation devices' which catches schools of tuna. Floating objects are placed in the ocean to attract tuna, but they also attract turtles, sharks and rays. The first fish aggregation device "increases the amount of bycatch of these unwanted species." So when the tuna gets scooped up in seine nets, so do the unwanted species which are then thrown back into the sea either dead or dying.

Princes is going to set up a sustainable seafood statement, which people have been waiting for two years for. This policy is supposed to address the issues mentioned above.

Greenpeace responded and said: "We were waiting to see just how they were going to justify the blithe statement on their cans that "Princes is fully committed to fishing methods which protect the marine environment and marine life". We waited, and waited - and, well, what a disappointment"

Princes is having a big impact on the oceans. Email princes and tell them what they are doing is wrong and it needs to change:

Friday, 23 July 2010

Shetland Diaries

I had wanted to go to Shetland for years after Simon King presented the TV program Springwatch from there in 2006. After years of saying we’d go 2010 was finally the year that we would make on journey.
I had made a list of target species that I would like to see throughout the week, which included Orcas, Red-Throated Divers and Otters.

2nd- 3rd of July 2010
When we left the ferry terminal at Aberdeen there was both a feeling of dread (fear of seasickness) and extreme excitement, but the worry of sicknesses soon disappeared when I spotted a Red-Throated Diver off the harbour. This was a first for me and we had only just left the terminal, I had a good feeling deep inside that this was going to be a fabulous week. There were plenty of seabirds on the journey, which included: Eiders, Black and Common Guillemots, Great Skuas, Shags and many more.

3rd July 2010
The ferry was due to arrive at 7.30am, but I wanted to see the arrival of Shetland so at 6.00pm I woke my dad up and we went on deck to see the tip of Shetland near the ferry, the further north we travelled the more we saw and the excitement was becoming overwhelming. The islands, which I had wanted to visit for 4 years, were finally in sight and it was a fantastic feeling. We left the ferry at around 8.00am and we had plenty of time to kill, as we weren’t allowed to move into our house for the week until 14.00. We stopped off on the outskirts of Lerwick by the sea, to be greeted by Grey Seals, Arctic Terns, and plenty of Oystercatchers - I’d never seen so many Oystercatchers before.
We arrived at the house (near Bixter) a few hours early before the arrival time but we were allowed in early thankfully. After a few hours relaxing and unpacking my dad and I were off out to a beach nearby. The beach was known as Red Ayre and as my dad pulled up to the beach two lovely Shetland Ponies, which were very tame, greeted us. We got talking to one of the locals and they had said the ponies learnt how to open the gates so they escaped on several occasions, now there was a fence keeping them in. I surveyed the beach looking for seashore wildlife, and photographing whatever I could find.
We arrived back to our house and had our first look at the rocky shoreline in front of the house where we were greeted yet again by more Oystercatchers and a small flock of Dunlin.
We were waiting for a good time to contact the Jamieson family to check the weather conditions were adequate for the boat trip we had booked with them to Mousa. Fortunately the trip was on. Going over in the twilight period was very intriguing, as I didn’t really know what to expect. We arrived and gradually the noises of fairies being sick, which is how the locals define their call. Their call began creeping in to the crashing of the waves and the sound of people’s footsteps. We arrived at the broch and within in an hour or so it was swarming with Storm Petrels. When the Storm Petrels are breeding they only change shifts at nighttime, so they will not be predated by gulls and skuas. The broch on Mousa is the biggest broch in Scotland.

4th July 2010
Woke up to rain this morning which wasn’t too nice but I wasn’t prepared to let the rain get the better of me as each day was valuable on Shetland and I wasn’t going to let the day go to waste. We got geared up in waterproofs and braved the outdoors. We went to a loch near Bixter and had a walk around there, which was very productive as we saw Turnstones, Arctic Skuas, a Red Throated Diver, Eiders and many, many more Oystercatchers.

5th July 2010
It was an early start this morning to make our way to the south of the island in the hope of seeing Orcas on Sumburgh Head. We didn’t have much luck on the Orca front but we saw plenty of seabirds including Razorbills, Arctic and Great Skuas, Gannets and very close encounters with Puffins.
We left Sumburgh Head to head to Jarlshof and I left on a high after getting a lot of photographs of the puffins. The Iron Age Village at Jarlshof was somewhere I wished to visit but the price to get in was ridiculous so we didn’t bother. Everyone went for a toilet stop in Jarlshof while I went to the beech where I was met by a family of Eiders and 2 Red-Breasted Mergansers. We then moved on to the Pool of Virkie where there were a lot of wading birds including Shelduck, Redshank, Curlews and plenty of opportunities to photograph Arctic Terns.



Guillemot colony:

Arctic Skua attacking a Hooded Crow:


Ringed Plover and Dunlin:

Arctic Terns:

6th July 2010
Last night we decided we were going to visit the islands on the east coast of the mainland. On the ferry from Toft to Ulsta I met a guy who said he would let me know if Orcas were spotted in Yell Sound. We arrived on Yell and another wildlife tour guide said Orcas were seen from West Sandwick, we were in luck. They were far away but through a scope the views were pretty good.
We went from West Sandwick to Buravoe to look for otters but didn’t have too much success but we did see Black Tailed Godwits.
We headed over to Unst and visited the Hermaness NNR where I saw Golden Plovers, Common Snipe, Skylarks and Skuas.
On the way back home we stopped off south of Voe where we saw 7 Whooper Swans.

Great Skua:


Gannet colony:

7th July 2010
We had a general mooch around Shetland today as we decided we would take it easy. The day was rather quiet we visited the Shetland Jewellery store and art gallery in Weisdale for a few hours in the morning.
8th July 2010
We wend back to Yell and Unst because I was given some information on good places to see otters, the first few places on the list were a little unsuccessful but at one of the sites there was otter spraint by the holt. We went back to west Sandwick again for the second time and this was the destination where we saw an Otter for the first time on Shetland. I’ve seen Otters previously on Mull, but I was surprised this was the first one I’d seen on Shetland as they are supposed to be in such high numbers.

9th July 2010
There were a pair of Starlings nesting just outside the house we were staying in, I timed how often they were feeding the chicks, about 4 times every 5 minutes. I fetched my camcorder from the house and my camera and spent a little while watching their busy lifestyles.
We visited the isle of Whalsay today where we saw Water Pipits which were a first for me, Turnstones which I’d previously seen on Mull, Oystercatchers and we also had good views of Grey Seals. I made my way down the rocky shoreline every time the seal went under water and by the time I had gone as far down as I could I was within 10 metres of it.
The Isle of Whalsay was a fantastic looking place and it was easily a place that I could have called home.


Grey Seal:

10th July 2010
We had to be out of the house by 10am this morning as there would be new people moving in, in the afternoon. We headed to Lerwick to the place where we had visited the first day. We headed off to Lerwick town centre to be greeted by the skipper of the Dunter III who was taking us on the Seabirds and Seals boat trip around the Isle of Noss. The whole trip was fantastic the views of the Gannet colony were absolutely fantastic and it’s one of those experiences that you will never forget. Every trip the skipper leads a ginger biscuit is held out of the boat for the Great Skuas. I was filming this happening at the time and the Skua flew straight into my camcorder, I ducked at the last second, other wise it could have been the end of my camcorder. Arriving back in Lerwick was the sign that the holiday was coming to an end, we were soon to be leaving Shetland unfortunately, which I wasn’t happy about at all. As my dad drove onto the ferry at 19.00 I knew this was the end of my holiday.

Grey Seals:

Great Skua

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Potteric Carr

I went over to Potteric Carr Nature Reserve yesterday near Doncaster. I personally think it's one of the best sites I know where you can photograph insects in summer.

Here's a list of birds seen:

Little Grebes

Grey Heron

Little Egrets

Mute Swans

Canada Geese

Greylag Geese


House Martins








Black Headed Gulls

Great Spotted Woodpecker




Great Tits

Reed Buntings

Great Spotted Woodpecker:


Here's a list of the Dragonflies and Damselfies seen:

Broad Bodied Chaser
Common Darter
Blue Tailed Damselfly
Common Blue Damselfly
Ruddy Darter

Here's a list of butterflies seen:

Small tortoiseshell
Large White
Speckled Wood
Meadow Brown

Small tortoiseshell:

Here's a list of insects seen:
Soldier Beetle
Pellucid Hoverfly
Cinnibar Moth caterpillars
6 spot Burnet
Leptura Maculata

Pellucid Hoverfly:

Soldier beetles:

Leptura maculata:


Monday, 12 July 2010

Fox Hunting Poll

I'm sure many of you will be aware of the fox hunting ban by now with the constant broadcasting on the news. MPs are being given the chance next year to vote on whether to repeal the Hunting Act or not. The League Against Cruel Sports believes the MPs currently have a chance of keeping the ban banned but this new intake of MPs means this could change.

I personally don't agree with the way this is being decided, members of the public should have some sort of say in that matter surely as we're the ones who have created this controversy.

What are your feelings on the matter?

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Caterpillars and larvae

I went for a little strole around my campus at University yesterday which is an old agricultural college and I came across a caterpillar which I struggled to ID at the time but with a little help I found out that it was a Peacock butterfly caterpillar. I also came across some ladybird eggs and larvae.

Peacock butterfly caterpillar:

Ladybird larvae and eggs:

Monday, 21 June 2010

BBC Wild Night In Update

I watched Wild Night In on the BBC channel on Sunday night. It was upsetting to hear of the following:

These are the numbers of individuals left in the wild:
5,500 Wild Dogs
680 Mountain Gorillas
1,012 Hawaiian Monk Seals
250 Philippine Eagles
182 Gharials
93 Kakapo
61 Javan Rhinoceros
35 Vancouver Island Marmots
34 Amur Leopards
1 Pinta Island Tortoise

Figures were also given for some of the species which have become extinct over the years:

Pere David’s Deer in 1939
Red Wolf 1980
Spix’s Macaw 2000
Scimitar-horned Oryx 2000
Thylacine 1936

The Golden Toad is gone forever.

The BBC’s Wild Night In showed projects all over the world which are now growing and benefiting because of the BBC Wildlife Funds money. Project Seahorse has been set up in the Philippines and now the local people are setting aside areas for the seahorses to breed, this is just one success story but more can be made with your help. It is now up to us the public to donate more money to set up new projects around the world. Last night over half a million pounds was raised, and now it’s up to nearly a million but lets keep this figure rising.

If you have not already watched BBC’s Wild Night In here is the link:

This link gives a list of ways in which you can raise money to help more species at risk of extinction:

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Wear your Wildlife to Work Day

I've just found this from the Springwatch website, it is probably a little too late so I apologise, but if you pick this message up, why not take part?

Poplar Hawkmoth

I was fortunate to have a Poplar Hawkmoth Laothoe populi in my garden a few days ago which was a first for me as I had never seen one before.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Red squirrels adopting unrelated red squirrels

The University of Alberta’s Jamieson Gorrell have been observing red squirrels Sciurus vulgaris in Yukon (western most point in Canada) and he noticed an adult red squirrel had adopted a newborn red squirrel which had been abandoned by its mother. The red squirrel took the baby to a near by tree where she proceeded to care for it.

Gorrell found that the young squirrel was related to its adoptive mother. Researchers think the biological mother disappeared and the adoptive mother to be recognised a genetic link so adopted it.

This research proves a ‘long-accepted theory of evolutionary biology is correct for a solitary, non social animal.’

Friday, 11 June 2010

Palm Oil

I recently came across a website on the internet ( that gave an overview on palm oil, stating key facts about its production and the devastating effects it is having on the environment. I though it key to mention this on here in the hope of spreading the word about what palm is and what it does.

I have taken the liberty to compact all the information on this website into a smaller format which still puts the point across.

So, what is palm oil, well palm oil is obtained from the fruit of the oil palm tree, which contributes to the economic development of most countries around the world.

You will be aware of the uses of palm oil from my previous article on my blog but I came across further products which contain palm oil and these are: margarine, cereals, crisps, sweets and baking goods but it is not just food it is everyday household items for example soaps, washing powder and cosmetics.

The problem begins with the manufacturers who use palm oil and they list it as ‘vegetable oil’ under the list of ingredients so it is therefore disguised. I recently visited an oriental supermarket with a friend near where I live and all of the products which contained palm oil actually said it in the ingredients, which was a big surprise.

On a positive note a recent article produced in The Independent states that Nestle, the worlds biggest food manufacturer is going to make palm oil in its chocolate bars more eco-friendly.

There are 17 countries in the world that produce palm oil, the top 5 nations are Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Nigeria and Colombia. Malaysia and Indonesia account for 85% of the palm oil production. One quarter of the palm oil produced worldwide is used domestically while the other three quarters are exported to Asia, the EU and Africa, who are the main importers of palm oil.

Not all palm oil is sustainable, leading to issues with the local biodiversity, soil degradation, local people, land rights and many, many more. New plantations have resulted in large areas of forest being destroyed, which is therefore having significant impacts on the biodiversity.

Orangutan habitats have been threatened by palm oil. In 1900 there were 315,000 individuals in the wild and today there are fewer than 50,000. Unless the devastation of their habitat decreases the orangutans could be driven to extinction within 12 years.

Environmental campaigners are claiming that within 15 years 98% of the Indonesian and Malaysian rainforests will be gone unless drastic action is taken.

Like myself you will probably be asking what the alternatives are, and that is a hard question to answer because it is hard to find any alternatives, soya oil presents similar problems, and there would be a difficulty in producing significant quantities of other oils such as rapeseed or sunflower oil, and animal fats present cholesterol problems. 20% of smallholders rely on growing palm oil as their source of income. The issue here is this: with a growing population there are more mouths to feed and the palm oil tree can be grown in bulk quantities therefore has an important role in feeding the growing planet.

There are many social and environmental activists supporting the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which includes organisations such as Oxfam and the Rainforest Allowance.

The Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) and the Palm Kernel Oil (CSPKO) are produced by palm oil plantations, which comply with the environmental standards, which have been devised by the RSPO. The RSPO was founded in 2003 and aims to spread the environmentally-friendly production on the palm oil.

I strongly think that palm oil is an appalling fix which is destroying the rainforests at an astonishing rate, does any one care? It makes me sick, half the people in the UK couldn't give a damn, giving the lame excuse of "why should we care?" and "who cares if the orang-utans go extinct?" is this really the attitude that we should be having? NO! That is why action needs to be taken to stop this horrible 'craze' so that both people and the environment can live in peace and harmony rather than this constant battle.

People are far too greedy, they couldn't give a damn if the rainforest was destroyed because all they can care about is going to the supermarket and not bothering to check the products they buy. The issue here though is this: most products these days contain palm oil, and it's getting ridiculous, it’s not the people who buy these products who are to blame though it is the companies that are producing and selling these products.

I just wish more people could care about the environment rather than demolishing it at every available opportunity that they have.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Palm Oil in Nestlé chocolate

I'm sure many of you will be aware by now that most british chocolate uses Palm Oil. I came across an article on my local Greenpeace website this morning on Palm Oil in Nestlé chocolate. Recent evidence has been found to show that Nestlé who are the makers of Kit Kats are using palm oil. Palm oil exists in areas of the rainforest where the orang-utans’ rainforests once grew. The Indonesian forests are being torn down to grow palm oil which is the vegetable fat of choice for companies worldwide’. Unilever and Kraft are making efforts to disassociate themselves from the palm oil industry, Nestlé has not done this. Nestlé’s supplier: Sinar Mar, is responsible for a big part of this carnage, they’re known to have a bad reputation for environmental and social practices.

This is what the Sinar Mar companies are up to

Recent evidence that has been collected shows how Sinar Mar is destroying carbon-rich peatlands as well as clearing forests.

I came across this video this morning and it's horrific:

I feel very strongely about palm oil in British chocolate, I have begun taking action, I am no longer buying Cadburys, Nestle or Galaxy chocolate because I strongely believe what these people are doing is very wrong. If you feel the same please spread the word of what these organisations are doing. Please feel free to copy the links onto your blogs.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Birdlife Malta

After receiving my monthly subscription of Bird Watching through the post this morning, I came across an article from Chris Packham entitled "The Bloody Isle", in which the article talks about the hunting in Malta. Chris's anger on the matter is perfectly understandable, there's a key fact that sticks out to me when reading his article: Mizieb, in the Maltese Islands is a strong hold for migrants, the Birdlife Malta Raptor Camp members along with the Committee Against Bird Slaughter went and investigated the site after gun shots were heard, and the remains of 200 protected species were found along the site.

There's only a limited amout that can be done without getting out there. It's incredibly distressing and very annoying to hear of such dispicable behaviour of some people. Volunteers for Birdlife Malta aim to conserve the habitats and the birds within Malta. The Maltese Islands lie on one of main flyways for bird migration. Unfortunately most hunters and trappers get away with this unjustly behaviour, but the locals are forced to live with the restrictions imposed on land.

Recent events of volunteers recording bird migration and illegal hunting has resulted in these volunteers suffering several violent attacks sometimes on a daily basis.

These volunteers are trying to help stop these horrific attacks on the wild birds, and in doing so they're getting verbally and physically assulted, how is this right? I would be very interested to know your views on the matter.

Here is a link to the website:

One final thing for you to look at: This could be a little distressing for some viewers.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Earth Hour 2010

Earth Hour 27 March 2010

Friday, 22 January 2010

Born Free: Vote for Tigers

I came across an interesting article on Born Free's website: the aim is to save tigers in the wild and to end the abuse which they suffer in captivity. You can then add your vote to try and save the tigers:[tt_news]=450

Sunday, 17 January 2010

UKs biggest swan count is underway

Since starting Uni things have been quite hectic which is why my blog hasn't been updated as much as I would have liked but I'm going to try and leave out a little time every week to update on here.

I recently came across an article on the BBCs website. Volunteers from the Wildlife and Wetlands Trust are counting the number of Bewicks and Whooper Swans in order to help international research of these two birds. Both of these swans are under threat from pollution, illegal hunting, and most importantly, habitat loss!

This swan survey takes place every 5 years!

For further information: