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.

Skomer - Cancelled

We were going to go to Skomer Island ( http://www.welshwildlife.org/skomer-skokholm/skomer/)today but the weather was bad so we decided not to, it was a good job because the boats were cancelled due to the wind. Instead we went for a trip to Usk.

First of all we stopped off at the Cwmcarn Forest visitor centre and watched the Goshawk chicks on the nestcam http://your.caerphilly.gov.uk/cwmcarnforest/content/goshawk-nestcam.

Then we called in at the Owl Sanctuary in Ebbw Vale (http://www.theowlsanctuary.co.uk/). This place rescues abandoned owls that people have bought as pets and helps injured/abandoned wild owls get better so they can be released back into the wild.

The people there were very friendly and showed us a juvenille Little Owl they had just rescued, unfortunately this Owl was allready too tame to be released back into the wild....

They had lots of owls including a hooting Great Grey Owl. Its sounded just the same as the one in 'The Big Year' which is one of my favorite films about bridwatching in America. Its got Jack Black in it who is really funny.

Juevenille Little Owl

Great Grey Owl

Barn Owl

Tawny Owl

Tawny Owls
 And some other birds of prey


American Kestrel

They had a Captive Snowy Owl, this is on the Challenge list and is the most difficult thing on the list to see in the wild. I think there is only one that visits a remote island in Scotland in the winter. I dont know if i will ever see this bird in the wild, i hope some day i will....

Snowy Owl

We had a sausage roll for lunch and went to Usk. We parked the car by the river and as we walked out of the car park we spotted a Kingfisher zooming past. The Kingfisher in Tarka is called Halcyon, i'm not going to cross him off my list untill i have seen him on the river Ogmore. We walked along the river looking for Otters but didnt see any, the water was quite high after a lot of rain.

Otter hunting on the River Usk


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  2. Another great post, I love the pictures!