As of February 2016, after 416 posts, and over six and a half years of blogging, I'm taking a break.
I've explained why here. There's plenty of past posts to read, though - hope you enjoy them !
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.
Archived posts: The following articles are from the month or year requested:

Everything I've learned about trail cameras


It's almost a year now that since I bought my first Bushnell trail camera (I bought it with my first book money), and pretty much every night since them it's been out in the woods filming wildlife. It's always exciting going back to it to see what's on it, and it's fun trying to invent new ways to film wildlife. So far I've filmed roe and red deer, foxes, pine marten, squirrels, birds, rabbits,

I'm not an expert, but I've learnt a lot in the last year. I've blogged before about filming my pine marten and red deer herd, but here's pretty much I've learned about using my trail camera from the last year !

The common bone hardly anyone has heard of


Here's a bone that's incredibly common, but hardly anyone has them, and even I had to look up the proper name for it. I have hundred of skulls in my room, so in theory I should have two of these for every skull, but I think this is the first pair of them I have. And like most animal bones, you will have two of these in your own body !

So this bone is flat, a bit like a bird scapula (shoulderblade). The ones I found are about 8cm long, and at one end look slightly like a rib, with a Y-shaped split. At the other end it is wider and curver, very slightly like a bird humerus, but much flatter. But this one isn't from a bird, but a large mammal. But before I tell you what it is, I'll tell you about how it was found.

Behind the scenes filming on CBBC WIld


So...as I revealed earlier in the week, at 9am today my piece on CBBC Wild will be broadcast. I haven't yet seen the final version, so I hope you like it ! It all began a couple of months ago when a friend on Twitter sent me a tweet saying that the CBBC (children's BBC, if you're outside the UK) wildlife show were looking for young naturalists, and suggested I put my name forward. I've been on TV before (most recently on Winterwatch this year) and it sounded interesting, especially if it got more people my age interested in bone collecting. 

I got an email back saying that I was already well known at the BBC's Natural History Unit in Bristol (where most of the wildlife programmes are based, including Winter/Spring/Autumnwatch, and Ben Garrod's Secrets of Bones), and  I'm not sure what the exact selection process was, but a few weeks after that my parents got a call to arrange a date for filming. There were lots of forms to fill out, and the BBC got permission to film in one of the woods around my village, then in the middle of August, at 9am, the three person crew of Ruth, Abi and Steven arrived !

Look out for me on CBBC Wild this Saturday !


So my news for this week is that I'm appearing on the first episode of the new series of CBBC Wild this Saturday ! It's on at 9am on the CBBC Channel, and my bit is one of the weekly segments about young naturalists.

I spent two days filming with Wild last month at my home and the woods around it. I've done filming before, but it was really exciting going out with the crew and narrating a typical day for me. I was filmed finding two skeletons, cleaning bones, working with my trail camera, rearticulating part of a skeleton, and laying out Roger (the skeleton I blogged about last week).

The three skeleton mystery


This week's post is about age indicators on bones. Telling an animal's age can be easy when they are young, because there are lots of indicators with teeth (like my one), bone size and unfused bones, but the exact age of adult skeletons can be very difficult to say exactly. Even for deer, where I have lots of comparative skulls, teeth wear at different rates whether the deer eats grass or heather, so generally you can only say whether a deer is "very young", "juvenile", "adult" or "old" rather than a precise age.

But this week's post is a mystery too, and I'm hoping some experts have some ideas. If you're in a rush, just go down to the very end of the post, where I put the question I would like ideas about !

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