Behind my 1st published paper

Something very exciting happened this week. The first paper to come out of my PhD has been published by Land Use Policy – it’s now out there in the world. Which is exciting because it now means my work can contribute to something and – hopefully – make some sort of difference, which is why…

Some thoughts on SNH and the Strathbraan raven licence

I don’t normally post about controversial or political subjects on this blog. Firstly, because it is a blog about celebrating and appreciating our natural world; secondly, because my PhD is controversial and political enough. I study the conflict between grouse shooting interests and raptor conservation interests in Scotland – at best, a highly charged, heavily…

5 things we can do #NowforNature

I haven’t blogged in a while…okay, a long while. Seven whole months, to be exact. This, fortunately, is down to incredibly exciting reasons: I spent two glorious months in Madagascar, diving on coral reefs with sea turtles and seeking out lemurs and fantastical reptiles in the sweltering jungle (hard life, eh?) and then hit the…

Nature is finding a new home

Just over a month ago, the dreaded ‘F’ word hit North East Scotland: floods. Just following Christmas, the rain came in droves and brought destruction with it; roads were washed away, houses crumbled, trees were felled in the accompanying wind and puddles morphed into flowing rivers that carried cars with them. For a short time,…

Feed the Birds – an easy recipe for fat cakes!

January. The month of diets, booze abstinence, exercise fads and a never-ending stream of excuses for not doing these things that begin with ‘It’s January…’. This is the month we all dread, where the festivities and cosiness of Christmas have suddenly disappeared like all the good chocolates out the box, leaving us with nothing but a…

The Ythan estuary has the seal of approval

  Seals seem to have played a large part in my zoological career. I spent a very enjoyable two year stint as a marine zoologist for an aquarium, which involved caring for and training four fully grown grey seals, and these irresistibly lovable animals were at the centre of my dissertation. Perhaps it has something…

Spring hunting: does anger solve anything?

Just like the rest of the conservation community, Sunday for me was a sad day. An opportunity to bring about change that positively affects wildlife and signifies the end of decades of such a damaging sport was narrowly missed, and controversial spring hunting has been allowed to continue. Perhaps the worst thing for me was…

The graveyard that is still very much alive…

Nature has a funny way of creeping up on you. Places that were once orderly and landscaped seem to rapidly become wild and chaotic as soon as you turn your back – something any avid gardener will tell you. Even the most carefully manicured of gardens can turn drunk and disorderly if neglected just a…

Glenmuick: The ideal place for a stag-do

One of the best things about living in Scotland (aside from the copious amounts of whisky) is the fact that some form of wilderness is never too far away. Of course, I use the term ‘wilderness’ lightly – whilst re-wilding is an exciting and rapidly growing concept in the highlands, much of what we perceive…

The Montrose Basin: A bird-watchers Paradise

On Tuesday I was lucky enough to be given a tour of the Montrose Basin, a local nature reserve just an hour and a half away from Aberdeen by car. The reserve itself is enormous, incorporating a plethora of different habitats; saltmarshes, freshwater streams, extensive reedbeds and arable land. The basin is perhaps most famous…

The Reliant Robin

Given that it’s the festive season, the majority of my recent animal spotting has come from my parents home in Whitley Bay, a coastal town on the outskirts of Newcastle. Their humble back garden – however much it may lack in breadth – is a haven for all manner of wildlife, thanks to my Dad’s…

It all began with a taxi driver….

Whenever people learnt what I studied at university, I was always astounded by their default response: “So…you must want to work in a zoo, then.” Perhaps it was that misleading word ‘zoo’ in the title, or maybe I just look the type. But if I had a penny for every time my job prospects were…