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.


While we were walikng across the common we flushed a Snipe, I have never seen one before. I love it when i get to see something off the list on my own patch.

Off the list......

Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

We have been trying to see a snipe for ages, today was the day. We heard a lot of flapping in a bush next to us by a path and the Snipe flew up in the air then down the valley. Snipe make a special call using thier tail feathers, not thier mounths. They fly up in the air and glide back down and the air rushes through thier feather to make a weird sound. Listen to the sound clip here  http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/s/snipe/index.aspx

New Year

Well we had quite a wet christmas with a lot of flooding, we only managed to get out for a couple of walks and it seemed like the wildlife had decided to stay in too.

Our local river burst its banks as you can see in the before and after photos below.......

One bird we did see a lot of was the Robin who made the most of the dry days by singing from the top of the bushes.

On our walk we found a hairy mossy wall..

And some of the few mushrooms you can find in the winter months, the Jelly Ear and the Velvet Shank.

 The Velevet shank gets its name from its brown velvety stalk.

The Jelly Ear gets its name from the fact that it looks like an ear made of brown jelly.

You should only ever touch mushrooms if you are with someone who knows a lot about them, some of them are so poisonous they can kill you!

The Jelly Ear and Velvet Shank are both edible (you can eat them).

We also spotted this gang of Starlings hanging out with a Buzzard

We went on a day trip to Glastonbury and on the way back stopped off at Westhay Moor Nature reserve, we were lucky enough to have good views of a Marsh Harrier hunting. We didnt have a camera with us to get a photo for you though. http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/m/marshharrier/index.aspx

We just made a trip to kenfig pool where we managed to see a Black Necked Grebe.

The water levels were really high after all the rain.

There were lots of Cormorants snoozing on the flooded fence posts.

2 new birds already this year, they are not on my tarka list but i still enjoyed seeing them.