New findings!! -By Sophie

Within the past few months I have been going out with my mum to Cockerham (my favourite place) beachcombing.
In September they natural heritage people had opened up an Abbey which is situated in a middle of a field along the coast. Apparently secret monks used to live there and there are tunnels leading underground to the sea for trade. However they have been filled in and the Abbey is always locked up. Although this time we went, they had opened it up and placed markers around showing where all the different living quarters are, which are just rubble now.
We were allowed inside and it was amazing. All the stone walls had been carved into beautiful structures and faces. There was also a plaque with some faded writing on. They are opening next September one weekend and we are definitely going back.
The next weekend at Cockerham, I was walking along the tide line at a bit what I call ‘the point’ and I found a washed up Goldcrest. I could not believe the physical size of all its features, especially it’s weight! I also found a complete female eider, a complete male grey seal (only took the skull and a few other bones), 4 gulls, a robin, a crow, a magpie and a complete hedgehog.


There were also plenty of mermaids purses and urchins being washed up. My mum has completely no idea of what I bring home in the boot of her car ūüėČ
This weekend just gone I found a washed up wine bottle with a Polish number in. I’ve always wanted to find a message in a bottle and it was so great when I did. There was also a giant jellyfish which had washed up, it was huge!! And a few birders enjoying the waders which where feeding on the sand, but they weren’t very sociable.


My dad also took me up to Yorkshire on the bike and we saw a lot of roadkills; mainly rabbits and pheasants. On the way back I made him stopped so I could get a complete Red Legged Partridge.
All these findings are still decomposing and will be a while before they are all nice and clean.


Larry the lizard (by sophie)

Last year when I went to Cyprus, me and my dad went on a walk over some really old rocks which have some thousand year old shells and coral fossils in. There are a lot (and I mean a lot) of lizards in Cyprus, especially Starred Agamas. They are in various sizes and patterns.
Anyway, we went on a walk and came across a lizard skeleton but it still had some scales on. So unfortunately we had to leave it ūüė¶ to remember where it was and to protect it my dad and i put a broom over it. However, this year when we went I went to look for it and after some searching of trying to find it I finally found it. I had to persuade my parents to allow me to bring it back. On the lastttt day I was allowed to bring it back. I had to mix it up with my shells so it didn’t look suspicious at the airport. Anyway I managed to get it back safely and if I do say so myself it looks awesome!!!




Our oddest rarest and and most wonderful skulls…… (by Sam)

                                         DSC_0050 09.54.26


Today we are showing our oddest and most wonderful skulls in our collection. 

               starting of with my skulls (Sam) 

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† First is my badger skull (meles meles). It is an incredible skull and has an dd bone growth where one of the molars should be, my theory is that the tooth fell out while the badger was alive and developed a process that began to cover the bone but the animal died early in this process, now I can’t say if this is the actual case but it is what I think happened something similar to my dog skulls bone growth also on its teeth.

     DSC_0055 09.54.26                         DSC_0056 09.54.26


Next is my dog skull it has an odd bone growth that is slightly easier to determine and explain. The skull was given to me along with the badger skull by Ric Morris and incredibly generous skull collector with an incredibly diverse collection. The skull is missing most of the front teeth including both canines, one of the canine sockets was covered up completely with bone, this is because it had lost one of its teeth while it was alive and began a that process to cover up the socket (Ibelive this is in order to prevent infection.

DSC_0051                                           DSC_0053 09.54.26


The skull is also smashed beyond the brain-case which means you can see the inside of the brain-case (cranium) 



The next and final one of my odd and wonderful skulls is my woodpecker which is actually a skeleton that I recently put together. This is my wonderful skull and rarest skull in my collection I believe.


                                                     DSC_0050 09.54.26 


Sophie’s skulls….

First this is Sophies seal skull that she found on the beach near her house she found the whole skull but her mum wouldn’t let her take it as it had to much flesh on the other side so she only took a small part of it.

jeSp1Lib.jpg-small               GtR-3BIr.jpg-small



Next is her Knot personally I think that is my favourite of her skulls along with her amazing lapwing.

   5bMJu_bW.jpg-small The birds beak is an incredible shape specialising in catching small crustaceans, she ask found this in cockerham, its cranium is fairly small and the beak sort of points down. the skull also has the lower jaw.


Next is her lapwing and incredible skull that is very rare to find.

0X7onDp8.jpg-smallthe beak has a black colour at the end and has a shape that sort of also points down and compared to the knot the cranium is fairly large.


¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Thanks for reading….

A great day for my collection!! by sam !!

        2014-08-02 18.08.18

Yesterday I went for a walk through aldenham park and hung around the farm talking to the volunteers. on the walk I found some nice things like a swan eggs and tawny owl feather (feather to be collected later) and I even saw my first ever wild owl, a tawny owl!!

20140801_091630-EFFECTSOne of the volunteers, Ben (14 yr) who I talk t when I got o the aldenham park was working in the restricted access part of the farm and found some REALLY nice stuff for me!! the first time he looked he found THREE skulls, two moorhen skulls, and a corvid skull (jackdaw). THEN he went back on his break to take a look for more and found something I wanted for ages….. a mallard skull!!!! and it was in great condition including bottom jaw only had a little flesh on it !!! Now its nice and clean in my room as it only took one bath in hydrogen peroxide to clean it now it looks great a clean on my shelf.



This is the cleaner moorhen (the other one is still cleaning) you can see how small it is and hat it is a perfect cranium with no cracks, it has a sort of antique colour too it:)




This is the jackdaw skull, jackdaws belong to the corvid family that include magpies rooks jays jackdaws e.t.c, you can see this one has the bill sheath on but no lower jaw.



this is my new favourite skull in my collection it is 11 cm the ideal size of a mallard and it was a male because the remaining feathers were black like the head feathers on a male mallard.




this is the swam egg. you can see where the young swan tried to escape from the egg by pecking at the egg shell ūüôā


My thoughts on nature… (by Sam)


I like to think of nature as a place you can never be disappointed in no matter where you are you can always rely on nature to put on a show from majestic eagles soaring through the sky in Africa, to the bold pigeons building nests in London. Not only does nature present the most exciting events in natural history but it records all of natures past and present events through fossils and bones. 

“Nature is a cycle that never ends each and ever part of nature helps to keep that cycle going, without it we wouldn’t be alive today” when I heard this It got me thinking that I should cherish nature even more than I did then I began to appreciate all of the animals no matter what even mice and spiders. I wouldn’t be blogging nor would I be so keen on photography and art if it learnt for nature. Nature doesn’t just provide inspiration but has inspired millions like Kate Macrae to do photography and art and collecting.¬†

Nature also inspires TV shows like Springwatch and natures curiosities bringing more enthusiasts to think more about nature as well as learn more. Without nature there wouldn’t be safaris or birdwatching tours nor would there be so many birds on Skomer or Madagascar.


Birds of Skomer… (by Sam)

Recently I went to skomer island (off wales) and saw hundreds of birds I had never seen before. While i was on the island I documented all the bird species as well as a few mammals and here is the list organised under the topics, cliff nesters, burrowers, gulls and others.

   CLIFF NESTERS     BURROWERS     GULLS                 OTHER

   RAZORBILL            PUFFINS              KITTIWAKE         GANNET


  FULMARS                                            LESSER B-B        ROSE BUNTING

                                                               BH GULL              SKYLARK 

                                                              GREATER BB

DSC_1077Baby Manx shearwater chick (Puffinus puffinus)

                               DSC_1068Puffin pair.


The Mystery of Aldenham.. (By Sam)


Yesterday I went for a few walks in Aldenham country park and after a long lakeside forest walk I found ribs I had no idea what it was from, I thought maybe a fox or badger maybe even a heron. Like Ii always do I won’t take just the rib unless theres a skull with it, so naturally I continue looking for more of the animals bones and found some more ribs, what looks like the part of a leg bone and something I thought was a shoulder blade (scapula),it took a while but I eventually found parts of the skull, It looked like maybe a badger lower jaw but looked to much like I herbivorous animal, Aldenham park is know for its farm animals like pig, sheep and goat all herbivores which means it could have been one of their bones, but the ribs were too small for a large sheep although only slightly smaller than a lamb the next thing you have to work out is how it got there. Aldenham has plenty of walks and next to one sheep are let out into the field nearby so maybe a fox took the carcuss of one across into the forest and it drifted out in the lake and washed up but the teeth just weren’t large enough so I kept thinking and thinking but nothing!! So I went to the desk and asked what they thought and they let me into the room to show them. they had no idea so they called someone else who worked at the park who studied zoology (like I want to when I’m older) she looked at them and kept thinking we were talking about the possibilities of it being domestic animal bones but the teeth weren’t large enough for pig, sheep, pony, goat or lamb so she got out two skulls, a badger wight eh jaws together and fully articulated skull and a fox skull with the jaws in two parts, we compared the skulls but they just weren’t right so like I always do I asked my twitter friends Ric, Ben, Jake and Paolo so after a little wait I had reply from Ric who told me “looks like the pharyngeal teeth of some sort of fish” then ¬†Jake said said he thinks it looks like the bones of a large fish he also told me their skulls are in small unfused plate which explained why there was lots of scale shaped bones lying around and to confirm what Ric and Jake had told me Ben said he agrees and that it was a black carp so that settled it but only the skull parts the other bones were to big for a fish bones and it remains a mystery as to their identifacation……..


Pippy the Bat (by Sophie)

My neighbour came round today to tell me that her husband had found something for me. So I went round to help with their garden and to see what he had found.
She came out of the house with something wrapped in kitchen role and handed it to me. I unfolded it slowly incase they were playing a joke on me ūüôā i was really shocked to find out it was a young Pippestrel Bat. I know they are protected so i need to get CITES permission to keep it.
It is so small and fragile, especially its wings. I looked at it for ages, studying all of it. I’ve decided to call it Pippy and keep it in my treehouse boxes.
There are many bats flying round our houses at dusk and the other year my dad borrowed a bat detector which lets you listen to their echo location. Thats how i found out that they were Pippestrel bats. It was brilliant being able to listen to their calls.

20140721-044816 pm-60496486.jpg

20140721-044816 pm-60496791.jpg