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BBC Wildlife Magazine

BBC Wildlife Magazine April 2018

BBC Wildlife Magazine is a celebration of the natural world, featuring all the latest discoveries, news and views on wildlife, conservation and environmental issues. With strong broadcasting links, authoritative journalism and award-winning photography, BBC Wildlife Magazine is essential reading for anyone with a passion for wildlife who wants to understand, experience and enjoy nature more.

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United Kingdom
Immediate Media Company London Limited
13 Issues

in this issue

1 min.

It was during a stay at Lulworth Cove in Dorset that I had the chance to walk across the MoD land around the abandoned village of Tyneham on one of the open weekends when no artillery firing was taking place. That was the first time I was aware of the wildlife treasure houses contained within these army training ranges. Farming land left virtually untouched for decades promotes a profusion of plants and animal species, the like of which our countryside has hardly seen since the pre-War years. Ben Hoare, our features editor, was privileged to be allowed to spend the day on parts of Salisbury Plain that the public are not normally allowed to visit, and he reports on p22 on some interesting studies being conducted in amongst the tank tracks. We…

1 min.

JANAKI LENIN Janaki writes about Indian wildlife. She says,“Uniqueness runs deep in gharials – their pescatarian diet, riverine habitat, and now, alloparenting. I’m amazed they are related to other crocodilians at all.” JO WIMPENNY Jo is a science writer.“Wytham Woods is a true living laboratory” she says.“Great tits have been studied here since 1947, making this one of the longest-running biological experiments in the world!” NATALIE LAWRENCE Natalie loves animal oddities. “Pangolins are perhaps the most spectacularly unusual mammals in existence, and are still illegally traded worldwide,” she says.…

1 min.
o is for osprey

“AN OSPREY PLUNGING TO CATCH A FISH IS EDGE-OF-THE-SEAT STUFF - UNBEATABLE WILDLIFE DRAMA.” This April the osprey is one of six iconic reintroduced species to grace a special new set of Royal Mail stamps. Yet its dramatic Scottish comeback in 1954, when a pair nested at RSPB Loch Garten reserve, was actually natural – the Scandinavian birds had been passing through the Highlands on migration. So, too, was the eventual return of nesting ospreys to Cumbria in 2001. But as the ‘fish hawk’ might easily have taken 150 years to re-colonise the entire country on its own, birds were also reintroduced further south at Rutland Water. When the young unpaired ospreys hatched at Rutland wandered in search of new nesting areas, they speeded up the resurgence elsewhere. The latest osprey reintroduction…

3 min.
uk highlights

• BRIMSTONE SUN WORSHIPPER Not only is the brimstone butterfly the most gorgeous shade of yellow, it also has an exquisite silhouette. Its wings are sculpted to look just like a leaf when the insect is at rest with them closed. Early spring sunshine wakes the adult brimstone from its winter torpor as early as March, but April normally sees the peak emergence. If you watch one sipping nectar from an early-flowering plant such as a dandelion, bugle or primrose, you’ll notice that it carefully arranges its wings to soak up as much sun as it can. FIND OUT MORE Visit www.butterfly-conservation.org and www.ukbutterflies.co.uk • BLACKTHORN BOUNTIFUL BLOSSOM The delicate snow-white blossom and contrasting black twigs of this hedgerow shrub are a classic combination of early spring. There’s no foliage at this stage – that emerges…

1 min.
also look out for…

MOUNTAIN BLACKBIRDS Ring ouzels ( below ) are back this month. These upland thrushes overwinter in Iberia and North Africa, although a few seem to be risking winter stays in England and Wales. Coastal hills with short turf attract the recently arrived migrants, before they head to nesting areas in Wales and the north. BABY STEPS The first of the year’s badger cubs should be making tentative nocturnal excursions out of their family’s sett, especially in the south. They will have been born underground in January or February, so are not yet weaned and won’t go far. AMPHIBIAN ALERT If while watching spawning frogs, toads or newts this spring you think you’ve seen diseased individuals, make sure to report them to Garden Wildlife Health, an excellent project run by the BTO, Froglife, RSPB and ZSL:…

3 min.
hidden britain

Walk a storm-blown strand-line and mingled with the flotsam and jetsam of humanity you’ll find a tangle of natural treasures. If you’re lucky, these will include a strange creature called the sea mouse, Aphrodita aculeata. It’s a psychedelic fuzz of fur and spine, and can look like both something and nothing. From one angle it resembles a sandy fur-ball. But from another, it catches the light and your eye. Pop it in some seawater and it takes on a completely new vibrance. It becomes a splash of fibre-optic brilliance. The sea mouse simply doesn’t conform to what you might expect a ‘worm’ to be. Far from being a slim tube it is quite chunky: up to 20cm long and 5cm wide. The body is covered in a velveteen pelage, and its perimeter…