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.

Nature Bites Back

We spent this week at home on the Heritage Coast (http://www.visitwales.co.uk/server.php?show=nav.10312). On the way fishing we spotted some Great Mullein....

Great Mullein

Its a really tall plant with yellow flowers that look like a sword.

We did a spot of fishing hoping to catch one of the many fish on the list.......


We didn't manage to catch anything. But i did get attacked by some barnacles which scraped my ankle......


But it was OK because they were on the list....


We also spotted lots of Limpets.....


Then my Dad showed me something i didn't expect to see in Wales, a coral reef.

Along long time ago the bit of land that is Wales used to be in the tropic zone. The surface of the world is covered with plates that float on top of the lava in the middle. These plates slowly move around so that our bit of land used to be where Africa is today. Back then South Wales was a shallow tropical sea full of corals. Over time bits of sediment and dirt fell on top of the corals and over the years the sediment turned into rock and turned the corals into fossils. More recently the sea has worn the rock away and you can now see fossilised corals on the beaches of the Heritage Coast if you want to know more, have a look at this (http://education.gtj.org.uk/en/item1/26445). The ones in my pictures are Caninia. A cool trick to see the fossils better is to rub some water on the stone, this darkens the stone and lightens the fossil so you can see it better.....



We finished off the week camping at the Heritage Coast camp site (http://perfectpitchcamping.co.uk/). It was really good fun, we watched the sun set and roasted marshmallows on the campfire. A Little Owl woke us up in the night screeching but i had my best nights sleep in the wild ever, the owners are really nice and will even cook you breakfast and bring it to your tent in the morning.....

Heritage Coast Campsite

Our camp



Nice and warm by the campfire

Roasting Marshmallows

Thats 3 off the list....

Limpet (Patella vulgata)
These are little things that live in a shell on rocks, they feed by grazing on algae growing on the rocks. When the tide comes in they move around over the rocks feeding. Each limpet has a home which is a small dip on the rock and the limpet always returns to this spot when its finished feeding.

Barnacle (Balanidae)
These little creatures feed on plankton and attached themselves to rocks in the intertidal zone (the area between low and high tide). They have a hard sharp shell which is what cut my ankle.

Great Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)
This is the biggest Mullein, that's why its called Great Mullein. The leaves of this plant look really soft because they are covered in tiny hairs. These hairs catch fire really easily and used to be used to make 'wicks' for lamps in the old days.


  1. Good luck with your challenge Rudi. It looks as though you have made a good start.