I'm shortlisted for the Cairngorms Nature Young Presenter competition !
The winner is decided by a public vote: can you vote for me here ? Thanks !
Looking for a brilliant present for a young naturalist ? Buy my book ! Available from Amazon UK,
Amazon US and worldwide but buy from a local bookshop if you can.
Welcome to Jake's Bones - my blog all about bone collecting !

My name is Jake McGowan-Lowe, and I'm a thirteen year-old naturalist and bone collector from Scotland. I've been collecting skulls and bones since I was six, and I now have hundreds of amazing skulls and thousands of other bones.

I began blogging about bones when I was seven and ever since then every single weekend I have written something new here (over 400 posts so far !) Mostly it's about skulls or bones that I've found, but sometimes it's about places I've explored or wildlife that I see on my walks. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it !

At the Eden Project with the Royal Society


Before I begin, I have a very special request....see the black box at the end of this blog post for more !

Now, as some of you might know, last Sunday me and my family traveled down to Cornwall, for a VERY big event on the Monday at the Eden Project. I was going down for the Royal Society Young Person's Book Award. I was on the shortlist of with five other amazing authors.

Long story short, I didn't win, and Professor Robert Winston's book "Utterly Amazing Science" did. The awards ceremony wasn't until lunchtime, but my family and my editor, Jo, went down to the Eden Project at 9am, because there was something we had to do first....

I need just a few seconds of your time....


I need your help ! Can you spare a few minutes to help me out ?

A few weeks I encouraged young naturalists to enter the Cairngorms Nature Young Presenter competition. I entered a video myself, talking about discovering the wildlife near my house - and now I've been shortlisted in the final ten.  Now there is a public vote to find the winner !

What I'd really like you to do....is go to this page and scroll to the bottom where the final ten videos are listed. If you think mine is the best (and I hope you do !) is to click on "Vote" next to my thumbnail. You'll be asked to login to your Facebook account (to make sure more than one person doesn't vote) and then your vote will be added. I really, really hope you can spare a few minutes to help me out - it means a lot to me ! Thanks again !

So....I didn't win....


So....the short story is I didn't win. But congratulations to Professor Robert Winston whose book "Utterly Amazing Science" who did win !

I'm down at the Royal Society Young Person's Book Award at the Eden Project in Cornwall with my amazing editor Jo Bourne (in the picture) at the moment. The shortlist (announced in May) was six amazing science books aimed at children - "365 Science Activities", "Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor", "Night Sky Watcher" and Tiny: The Invisible World of Microbes" as well as my own "Jake's Bones". In the end, after all the judging, Utterly Amazing Science" won the top prize. I'll blog more about my amazing day later in the week - but thanks to everyone who was involved in the judging, and to the Royal Society !

My 400th post - and hello Netherlands !


I'm in the middle of exams at the moment, so you may have noticed that my posts recently have been shorter than normal. But since this is my 400th blog post (really !) it seemed like the perfect time to share some good news: there's now a Dutch-language edition of my book !

They've made some changes to the cover (bye bye T-rex !) and changed the title to "Het Grote Bottennoek Van Jake" (which means "Jake's Big Book of Bones"), but otherwise it's the same great book. It's also the fourth foreign edition after the UK version, the USA version (which has my photo on the cover) and the Korean edition.

Next weekend is also going to be very exciting for me: I'm travelling down to the Eden Project in Cornwall for the awards ceremony for the Royal Society Young Person's Book Award. There are six books on the shortlist, and judging has been by childrens' groups all over the UK. Fingers crossed - and I'll post here what the result it as soon as I can (probably on the Monday evening of the 16th).

Thank you again for reading my blog and inspiring me to write 400 posts (as well as breaking through 2,000 followers on Facebook in the last week !) And here's a short video (click to read on) by the Royal Society explaining why my book is on the shortlist:

The best camouflaged animal ever ?


Before I start: I've just flown back in the last few hours from Faclan, the Hebridean Arts Festival in Stornoway. Thank you to everyone who came to my talk at An Lanntair yesterday - it was brilliant to see so many interested faces and sign so many books ! (they completely sold out). Hope to see you again soon !

 This week's post is more of a spot-the-animal. I'd left my trail camera on a roe deer path last week, about a mile west of the badger wood, and among the other things it filmed, I also had a few frames and video that looked like the picture above. Nothing there, I thought, until I looked closer. But actually, there is a quite common but *very* well camouflaged animal there ! It's one that I've only seen myself once. Can you spot it ?

Filming the badgers (video)


This week's blog post is something different - I've put together a video of the badger footage I've filmed since May ! I'm trying out different ways of sharing information, and if this video is popular I'll do more of them in the future. I blogged about how I found the badger sett back in May, and last month I blogged about the shock discovery which brought filming to an end

Three other things to quickly tell you:
  • If you fancy becoming a nature presenter, and you're aged between 10-16 and live in the UK then you have until Saturday to enter the Cairngorms Nature Your Presenter competition ! You have to put together a 90 second video of you talking to the camera, and it has to include the words: "I would like to present Cairngorms Nature because....". There's more here.
  • Next weekend I'm giving a talk in Stornoway at the Faclan Book Festival. It's going to be great, and you can buy tickets here. Hope to see you there !
  • In May it was announced that my book had been shortlisted for the Royal Society Young Person's Book Award. The winner out of the shortlist of six will be announced on November 16th at an awards ceremony at the Eden Project in Cornwall. I'll post here who the winner is after it's been announced !
Let me know what you think of the badger video !

Cairngorms Nature Young Presenter Competition


There is a great competition for young naturalists - and time is running out to enter !

There are two National Parks in Scotland. One of them is the Cairngorms National Park. It is located in some of the most beautiful , and is over 4,500 km² in size. Iolo Williams is a Welsh naturalist and TV presenter. He has done quite a lot of work on the BBC Autumnwatch/Winterwatch (which I was on here) and he has teamed up with the Cairngorms and the RSPB  to run a competition for young naturalists. All you have to do to enter is film a short clip.

The missing deer and the strange skull


Up until recently my trail camera has been watching a badger sett, which I wrote about here and here, but since the wood around there is being cut down it seemed the right time to move it to somewhere else, and my two little brothers, Sam (5) and Harry (4) asked if they could find somewhere to put it.

Dad took my brothers out to look for somewhere where they could leave the camera, and they went to the original pine marten wood, where I filmed a lot about two years ago. They were looking for somewhere where they knew animals might come to, and after searching the wood they found a quite fresh roe deer carcass, and left the camera there. But when they went back a week later, there was a surprise !

Five things I loved about the Wigtown Book Festival


Quick note: If you are in Stornoway on Halloween, I'm giving a talk at the Faclan book festival. If you could come along, I'd love to see you.

Last weekend I was really pleased to be doing a drop in session at the Wigtown Book Festival in Dumfries and Galloway. It was a hands-on session as part of the Childrens' Book festival, and was a bit different from previous talks I'd done, so I was really looking forward to it.

It was an early start, though ! I had to get up at 6am and leave at around 7am. Dad drove for two and a half hours to get to Wigtown, and we arrived at around 9:45am.  Wigtown is a pretty small town, but for one week every year it turns into one of the most exciting book festivals in Scotland.

A shock visitor to the badger sett !


Important news: If you're near Wigtown in Dumfries and Galloway tomorrow (Sunday), I'll be showing off some of my collection between 11am and 4pm at the Wigtown Book Festival. It's a drop in session, and if you're around I'd love to meet you ! I'll blog more about what it was like next week.

Since May my trail camera has been filming at a badger sett a few miles from my village. I've been lucky enough to get some really great footage of the badgers digging out the holes, bringing up three cubs, playing together, preening each other, and coming back and forth. The wood is very isolated, so I've been leaving the trail camera for weeks at a time. Today was the first time in over three weeks that I went back to check on it - and I got an unpleasant surprise !

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