Nature resources

One of the pleasures of my first month exploring the garden has been discovering how many good resources there are now available online.

This morning I was browsing the Field Studies Council website. This in itself is good and the FSC produces inexpensive identification guides to British flora and fauna. Many are laminated charts suitable for use in the field.

There are also links to free-to-download papers published by the Royal Entomological Society. These are typically old papers that still have relevance today.

Then I noticed a Twitter feed. I have never used Twitter but my eye was caught by the word ‘free’. It took me to the OPAL site. PAL describes itself thus:

The Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) network is a UK-wide citizen science initiative that allows you to get hands-on with nature, whatever your age, background or level of ability.

Some of the ID guides look excellent so again I downloaded a few. If this is what Twitter does I may have to subscribe.

There are also some excellent local natural history sites. Our own Hampshire Moths site is good. It however exclusively dedicated to moths. Not so Naturespot, which covers just about everything. It is dedicate to Leicestershire and Rutland (and is almost as good as Rutland Weekend Television used to be). It was here I started to explore trichoptera and ephemeroptera. I am sure there are many excellent sites out there. Please add them if you know of more.

My last recommendation today is iSpot, from the Open University. This describes itself as A friendly and free community helping to identify wildlife and share nature.  I am indebted for this reference to my esteemed friend and eminent naturalist Fizz, ably aided and abetted by Colin, the Forest of Dean Rambler known as A Tramp in the Woods. Not only superbly written with gentle humour but also a great learning resource especially about wildflowers.

And I leave you today with a photo from the garden where the Hawthorn is in blossom.Hawthorn blossom

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22 thoughts on “Nature resources

  1. Great botanical resources for use. I like the hawthorn. The female of the species (I think it needs to be female) produces berries. Don’t know if yours is native or an introduced species. We have hawthorn that are native here but not very many are left, Too much bulldozing with thoughts that all vegetation must go.

  2. I love Hawthorn blossoms, Andrew! This makes me homesick for the wooded area beyond the field behind my grandmother’s house. I haven’t been there in years, but I zoomed right back there with this picture. Thank you!

  3. Glad you’re finding new resources for ID of your flora around you! Our Hawthorns are just starting also. We seem to have a close bloom time schedule. This weekend I hope to study international zones. If you let me know your town, or a nearby large town, I can see how you/we compare.

  4. I shall try to follow one or two of these. There is plenty of life in our garden and plenty that goes unobserved. Not true of the May Blossom. It’s being enjoyed in these Derbyshire lanes as well.

      • Rip off! Typical Suttonford. Sorry can’t help you as our street-the broadest one-geddit?!- is closed off to traffic. That’s why Candia, closed in, decided that if you can’t beat’ em, join ’em.
        Will probably have a stall outside our house, on our own frontage. May sell off artwork and studio pottery.
        Hope to see you. The crowds might be horrendous, but there could be photo opportunities- black-faced Morris men etc. Probably politically incorrect now….

  5. I’m sure you know this old saying ‘Ne’er cast a clout till May be out’? and also the superstition about bringing hawthorn (may flower) in to the house?

  6. Great! There are a lot of drawbacks to the ol’ interweb, but when it comes to sharing information you can’t beat it. When we think of all those hours spent poring over reference books while sitting in the library being shushed. 🙂

    As good as the resources are, I still prefer holding a guide book or “Ecology of…” text even if the gratification is not immediate. 🙂

    • I often take a reference book to the smallest room to pass the time of day. Libraries still have a role to play but the internet is a boon.

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