Who I am and how I became involved with the Cameron Bespolka Trust
I am currently studying zoology at the University of Exeter. My relationship with birds and other wildlife has been life-long, however it really flourished when my parents decided to move the family from the outskirts of Melton Mowbray to a marvellous house in the middle of the Rutland countryside. Just outside my back door are fields with plenty of exciting wildlife to discover; my most treasured find was that of an active barn owl nest in a nearby meadow, which is still home to a brood of fluffy chicks every spring- last year three fledged successfully after the intensive hunting efforts of an apparently single female with an instantly recognisable dodgy eye.
The joy which I find in observing wildlife motivated me to sign up to the British Trust for Ornithology’s Young Birders Camp last May, which is possibly one of the best decisions I have made so far in my life. Not only did I learn a lot about how bird populations are documented by the BTO, but I also met many other young birders with huge knowledge on a wide array of species of bird. I was in complete awe of these people whilst we were out and about either bird watching or doing one of the other activities; their skill in bird identification was just out of this world. About two or three weeks after this camp, I received a phone call to say that I had been chosen to attend the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Young Birder event in June. Over-whelming excitement and equal nervousness were the emotions I was feeling- America is so far away and full of so many different birds! This trip was funded by the Cameron Bespolka Trust, and I was very well looked after by them. Corinne Cruickshank from the Trust phoned me a few weeks before the trip to ensure that I was fully prepared, and has kept contact with me up until today.
I am forever grateful to the Trust for allowing me to have the incredible opportunity to visit the States and the truly awesome Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca NY, and for also allowing me to stay involved with the Trust. I am very excited to be writing the regular blog for the Trust, which will be about all things in the world of wildlife to keep the Trust’s followers up to date with news and other interesting stories from our natural world. I have no doubt that great things will come from the Cameron Bespolka Trust in years to come; young people need wildlife and are its future, and together we can achieve great things!
Ornithology is an ancient practise, reflecting a long held fascination in the avian aspect of our natural world. Look at early art from almost any culture, and there will be a depiction of a bird, or several. The winged wonders of the world, it is easy to see why early people were so fascinated with their behaviour and appearance. Imagine we don’t have our modern comprehension of where birds go when they migrate, or how some species achieve incredible architectural feats (like bowerbirds …
One of my wildlife highlights of the summer is actually something that draws me out after the long sunny days, as it can only be appreciated after dark.
Of course, I am talking about glow worms (Lampyris noctiluca) which I have been enjoying for quite a few years now. In the evenings of June and July, limestone rich grasslands (and other suitable habitats) can appear to sparkle as you walk through.
The bioluminescent glow, produced by a chemical reaction between luciferin and oxygen, is …
The HOS and Cameron Bespolka Trust Young Birder's Camp 2018. Special thanks to Wild New Forest for organising the field work!!
Read more about a great weekend here
Winter in the UK brings with it some interesting migrant species, particularly the influx of Hawfinches earlier on in the winter, however my highlight of the winter in Cornwall was the increase in the numbers of Firecrests on campus.
These gorgeous little birds are very similar to Goldcrests, but have much more vibrant and impressive plumage. The species name in their scientific binomial (Regulus ignicapillus) is derived from the words fire (ignis) and hair (capillus) which becomes evident …
The British Birdwatching Fair is a highlight of the year for my local reserve, Rutland Water, as it hosts thousands of visitors from all over the world to share in their passion for birds.
I have been fortunate to attend the fair quite a few times due to it being in my home county, and every year I revel in the colourful and lively event and all that it has to offer.
In the past few years I have attended the fair as a volunteer, taking on various roles to help the weekend run as smoothly as …
Almost a fortnight ago, my Twitter feed lit up with photos and reports of the white stork which had been spotted at Rutland Water, my local reserve. This was super exciting being the second record for the reserve, and although I missed it I wanted to find out a bit more about this species which has a history in the UK, as well as some interesting folklore here and around the world.
The white stork (Ciconia ciconia) is now extinct from Britain due to persecution (as a symbol of Christianity), …
After mock exams I have been feeling rather deflated and lacking in inspiration, however whilst reflecting on my week I thought about how I could make exams more bearable. With real exams looming in the future, and university coming over the horizon in September (yay!) I really need the motivation to complete my exams and achieve my grades. Where better to find inspiration than the everyday wildlife which we see regularly?
I started my quest for knowledge with birds, and particularly their …