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.

Laver Toad

First of all, i have had some visitors to my house recently, the wildlife seems to be coming to me......
Millipede in the garden

Moth in the hall

Red Admiral in my bathroom

Grasshopper on the front wall

And a Snail on the wall

Laver Toad is not actually an evil cartoon character, they are to of the things we saw when we recently visited our friends.

Laver is a type of seaweed that grows on rocks. You can cook it by boiling it for hours and the mush that is left is called Laverbread. It tastes quite nice, dad sometimes puts it in mash potato but you are supposed to eat it with bacon and cockles for a true Welsh breakfast.

We also find some Kelp washed up on the beach as well, this is also a type of seaweed that grows in big underwater forests.

My friend also showed me the Toad that lives in her garden. its the first time i have seen one, they are quite big compared to frogs.

We stayed for Mikey's 40th birthday party. I met a cool guy called Dafydd who showed me how to play the bagpipes, they are my favourite instrument because they remind me of Scotland.

We also headed to the estuary in search of a funny plant called Glasswort.....

Eventually we found some growing in the mud....

We found these footprints in the sand, they are from Canada Geese...

We found a couple of plants we couldnt identify but they were really pretty. The seed head on this was like a dandelion but it was massive....

On the way back we found loads of Dewberrys growing in the dunes, we couldn't resist eating some...

I think my brother ate more than me.....

We also found this plant a couple of weeks ago and was wondering if it might be a Marsh Orchid, if anyone knows what it is please let me know...

When we were out we were watching the Swallows fly around, drinking water from the river without landing which was amazing. They seem to be everywhere but the will all soon disappear back to Africa...

Laver (Porphyra linearis)

Laver is unusual  for a seasweed because it doesnt need to be covered by water all the time, it can live in the area between high and low water.

Toad (Bufo bufo)
Toads are cool, they are warty and dont hop, they walk. Unfortunately a lot of toads die when they come out of hibernation and travel across roads to get to thier mating grounds many are run over. Gardeners like toads because they eat slugs protecting vegtables from slug attacks.

Glasswort (Salicornia europaea)

Glasswort is also known as Samphire (pronounced 'Samphur'). Its a funny plant because it looks like a cactus with no spines growing out of the mud. You can eat this plant too, it tastes quite salty but nice.

Moth (a moth)
I dont know what moth is in the picture but they can be really pretty and you hardly ever get to see them as they fly around at night. There are loads of different moths in this country, maybe i will learn them one day. Moth experts us lights to attract moths at night and then identify them before letting them go. If you are interested to find out more about amazing moths have a look at http://gmrg-vc41moths.blogspot.co.uk/


  1. David who writes "Orchids, Nature, and My Outdoor Life" (http://orchidcrossley.blogspot.com/2012/09/400-years-ago.html) should be able to tell you if that is a marsh orchid or not.


    1. Thank you. i will try to ask him.

  2. Hi Rudi

    The plants you spotted were:
    Goat's Beard (the giant dandelion seed-head)
    Viper's Bugloss (the blue one)
    and the one underneath the purple Finn is (as you correctly guessed) is Southern Marsh Orchid (that's another crossed off your list!)

    Adam @ SEWBReC

    1. Thanks Adam, I was hoping it was a marsh orchid, i will cross that off the list now.