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Scientists get birds eye view using 'gannet cam'

Scientists have captured footage of what it is like to fly with the UK's largest seabird.

Researchers at Grassholm natural reserve in Wales attached miniature cameras to gannets nesting in the area, hoping to shed some light on the birds' behaviour.

Gannets up close as captured by the mini cam. Credit: Andy Hay/RSPB/PA

The footage shows the seabirds flying high above the Pembrokeshire coastline while ships pass below.

Watch: Video footage sheds light on birds' behaviour

"Seabirds spend most of their time at sea away from their nesting sites, making them difficult to study," scientist Steve Votier said.

Flying with gannets. Credit: Andy Hay/RSPB/PA

The lightweight camera works alongside a GPS unit that tracks birds' flights and measures how long they are flying, feeding or resting.

It also revealed how the birds make use of waste from fishing boats, and captured the gannets' high-speed dives to catch fish.

Conservationists believe the results could help to inform the protection of marine species in Wales.

"The goal is to continue this work in the long term to help provide a sustainable future for gannets and other marine life," Mr Votier said.


RSPB: 'Nature in the UK is in trouble'

Nature in the UK is in trouble and some of our more familiar garden species are amongst those suffering serious declines.

Gardens provide a valuable lifeline for species like starlings, toads, hedgehogs and butterflies, which are struggling to find homes in the wider countryside.

Our aim is to provide one million homes for nature across the UK, because if there's no home for nature, then there's no nature - it really is that serious.

– Mike Clarke, chief executive of the RSPB

Report: 72% of UK's butterflies in decline

  • The state of the UK’s butterflies (2011) concluded that 72% of species had decreased over the previous ten years, including common “garden” butterflies that had declined by 24%.
  • The state of the UK’s birds (2012) reported that the UK has lost in the region of 44 million breeding birds since the late 1960s.
  • In 2012, Our Vanishing Flora looked at the extinction of plants from counties across the UK in the 20th century, and found widespread losses.
  • In 16 counties, one plant species went extinct every other year.
  • The state of Britain’s mammals (2011) highlighted the decline of hedgehogs, the ongoing loss of red squirrels and the recovery of otters.


Calls to create habitats to protect UK wildlife

Conservationists are calling for the creation of a "million homes for nature" in gardens and open spaces to in a move to protect UK's struggling wildlife.

People are being encouraged to build homes for the UK's struggling wildlife. Credit: PA

The call comes following a report by a coalition of wildlife organisations which found that 60% of species that had been studied had suffered declines in the past few decades.

Garden favourites from starlings to hedgehogs as well as some species of butterfly and ladybird were among those creatures in trouble.

They are all in danger of further declines without work to provide them with better habitats, according to the RSPB, one of the wildlife groups behind the State of Nature report.

The RSPB is encouraging people to take steps such as putting up nest boxes, planting wildflowers or digging ponds in their gardens to help wildlife. The charity hopes the public will create a million new homes for nature under the scheme.


Fears for UK wildlife after 'stark warning'

Wildlife in the UK is "in trouble", as almost 2,000 species of birds, animals, insects and plants are known to have declined in the past 50 years.

Some 60% of 3,148 British species studied have seen a reduction in numbers or range, with almost a third (31%) suffering major declines, according to a new report by a coalition of conservation and research organisations.

The report is being launched by Sir David Attenborough: "This ground-breaking report is a stark warning - but it is also a sign of hope.

Bluebells in Wanstead Park, East London. Credit: Jeff Moore/Jeff Moore/Empics Entertainment

"For 60 years I have travelled the world exploring the wonders of nature and sharing that wonder with the public. But as a boy my first inspiration came from discovering the UK's own wildlife.

"Our islands have a rich diversity of habitats which support some truly amazing plants and animals.

"We should all be proud of the beauty we find on our own doorstep.

"This report shows that our species are in trouble, with many declining at a worrying rate."

  1. Tyne Tees

Poisonous spiders discovered on Teesside

A Black Widow which was discovered on Teesside Credit: Naturally Wild

Black Widow spiders have been recovered from a business on Teesside.

They were discovered by employees at a company which does not want to be named.

It's thought that the highly poisonous North American spiders may have travelled to the UK in a freight shipment.

They were caught by wildlife expert Jack Fenwick from Guisborough-based Naturally Wild Consultants.

Mr Fenwick said that, while the Black Widow is highly venomous, fatalities from bites are rare.

Wet weather in 2012 'benefited butterflies'

The wet weather in 2012 dampened the spirits for many but Butterflies that feed on grasses benefited greatly from drizzly Britain.

Undated handout photo issued by the Butterfly Conservation of a Small Tortoishell butterfly. Credit: Jim Asher/Butterfly Conservation/PA Wire

The year, which started with hot weather, saw incessant rain from April which prompted substantial grass growth that benefited species such as meadow browns, ringlets and gatekeeper butterflies.

Ringlet butterflies. Credit: Keith Warmington/Butterfly Conservation/PA Wire

But most butterfly species struggled in the constantly wet and cool conditions.

A Painted Lady butterfly. Credit: Matt Berry/PA Wire

The Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey recorded 18,500 meadow brown butterflies across 700 1km squares in the UK countryside in 2012, almost twice as many as in 2011 and the most counted in the four years the study has been running.

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