Hi, I'm Rudi, i'm 8 years old and my favourite book is 'Tarka the Otter' by Henry Williamson. Its about the life of an otter named Tarka and British Wildlife. One night i was reading the book with my dad and i said that i wanted to see all the animals in the book, he said i should do it and call it the Tarka Challenge. My Tarka Challenge started on 1st January 2012. The book contains 89 birds, 54 land based animals, 120 plants and 56 aquatic organisms.

The rules are simple, i must either see each thing myself or photograph it using my trail camera. I will try and see each thing on my local patch (Ogmore River Catchment) but may need to look somewhere else in Britain.

Some Plants

We went to the Wildlife Watch Group at Margam Discovery Centre this morning. It was really fun, we went pond dipping and found leeches, mayfly larvae, water mites, water hoglouse and saw a Coots nest with 4 eggs in it.

The list of plants is pretty long so its time to start ticking them off

Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
Nettle (Utrica dioica)
Gorse (Ulex europaeus (Fababeae))
Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum)

Hawthorn is a small tree that is common in hedgerows. the berries are called haws and provide food for a lot of animals and birds in the autumn. The flowers on the tree are called may blossom as they usually come out in may. The flowers are pollinated by flies so the flowers smell a bit 'gone off' to attract them.

White Hawthorn flowers at the top and Stinging nettles at the bottom.

Everyone knows about stinging nettles, because they sting if you touch them. But did you know you can eat them? If you pick them carefully (wearing gloves) and cook them they loose their sting. My dad sometimes makes nettle soup which is actually quite nice.

We live in an area with a lot of Gorse. The bright yellow flowers are everywhere. These are prickly bushes and if we are out for a walk and i have a pain in my foot its usually because a bit of gorse has got in my shoe. Sometimes the flowers smell a bit like coconut.


One of the other plants we have a lot of in our area is bracken. It can take over huge areas and grows from a creeping root called a 'rhizome'. The plants are just coming up this time of year and they are sometimes called 'fiddle heads' or 'shepherds crooks' as they can look like the tops of fiddles or shepherds crooks as you can see below


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