Tag Archives: Science & Environment

Norwich’s Peregrines

Back in March it was reported that a pair of peregrine falcons were using the dizzying heights of Norwich Cathedral as a potential nesting site on a specially built platform by the Hawk and Owl Trust. This was the second attempt at producing an area suitable for the pair and was built with consideration to the fabric of the historic building.

On Easter Sunday, a female falcon laid her first egg, making them the second pair to breed in Norfolk in 200 years. But in a twist to the story, this is not the original female, this is a younger female, who arrived a few weeks previously and ousted the first!

The Hawk and Owl Trust was founded in 1969 in response to the declining number of peregrines due to illegal shooting and use of specific pesticides.

Webcams have been set up on the Cathedral in order to monitor the falcons and can be seen here.

Chicks are expected to hatch in early June!

On a similar note, the Hawk and Owl Trust are also running a live webcam of a Marsh Harrier and her six chicks at Sculthorpe Moor.

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My Norfolk Broads

As a resident of East Anglia I know that along with many other people I often take this amazing National Park right here on my doorstep, for granted. Other times however, I realise just how lucky I am to live slap bang in the middle of it! As an area it holds inspiration for many, including Arthur Ransome (best known as the author of Swallows and Amazons) who set his novel Coot Club here.

The Broads were formed through the extraction of peat and subsequent flooding, and are now the largest nationally protected wetlands in the United Kingdom. They are also a huge tourist attraction with over 100 miles of navigable waterways, several nature reserves and countless paths suitable for walking and cycling. No doubt wherever you turn you’ll spot several ‘twitchers’ excitedly watching the diverse array of birds to be found here. Can you spot the elusive Bittern or hear it’s booming cry that resembles the sound made when you blow across the top of a milk bottle?

This collection of channels, rivers and lakes sits mainly in Norfolk but spreads into parts of Suffolk. It is an area of great scientific interest managed by The Broads Authority, who regularly update their webpage with any urgent environmental news for the general public to be aware of. Of particular concern at the moment is the discovery of a non-native vicious shrimp in Cambridgeshire, Dikerogammarus villosus, that is feared may be transferred into the Norfolk Broads, and the spread of pennywort. Please do get in touch with the Broads Authority immediately if you spot either of these!

Check out the Broads Outdoor Festival running until the 15th May! As a National Park the Broads rely on visitors and tourists to help maintain it and the surrounding villages and businesses. It is a prime location for families on holiday and conservation volunteers alike.

In the meantime, here are a few pictures I’ve taken on recent visits. Enjoy!

References and Further Information:

The Broads Authority

NorfolkBroads.com

VisitNorfolk.co.uk

ArthurRansome.org

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Popular Science?

As a scientist, or at least someone who is trying to become a scientist, there are several tomes on my bookcase that would be found under the category ‘Popular Science’ in any good bookshop.

I was reading an article in The Independent yesterday about books that attempt to capture and explain great scientific questions and ideas into slim novels accessible to the average reader in the general public. It also said how these books largely remain unread.

It hit me with great clarity that I have several of these aforementioned books sat on my bookcases with their pages as yet unturned! Admittedly some of them I bought because I thought I should, but the majority were bought with the best of intentions. To read and be astounded at the vision of their authors; to understand those great scientific concepts; and to fill my brain with knowledge.

Many were started and put down due to outside distractions. Others have just been sat, waiting patiently and passed by for a read less demanding.

But this will be the case no more! In a challenge to myself, I will read these items of Popular Science, all the way through, and I WILL learn something! 🙂

So watch this space for discussion, reviews and my thoughts on just how accessible they really are.

Wish me luck! In the meantime, please feel free to tell me which books you think of as popular science and more importantly, how you got on with reading them!

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