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.

Parc Slip Visitor Centre

The new Parc Slip Visitor Centre (http://www.welshwildlife.org/) was opened this weekend by the First Minister for Wales. Its a great place to see Welsh Wildlife and after your walk you can now buy an ice cream in the cafe.

As part of the opening i was lucky enough to meet the First Minister for Wales, Huw Irranca-Davies MP and one of my heroes Dr Rhys Jones (if you have not seen his T.V. show look here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01rsfbs).

As part of the celebrations we went on a Reptile Ramble and saw 6 grass snakes and an adder

Rhys teaching us to love our native reptiles.

Showing us that Adders are cool
I also got the chance to smell grass snake poo which is pretty stinky.

We had a great time, British wildlife is amazing, if you get the chance you should visit too.

Coastal Walk

Sometimes you just have to keep your eyes open when you go for a walk, its amazing what you can see
Some honeycomb from a wild bee hive

Coot parent

Baby Coot



Hunting Kestrel

Spider Eats Wasp

Right outside my kitchen window

Wildlife Trust Walk

We went on a walk with our Wildlife Trust Group to look at some plants with a local botanist (plant expert). We saw lots of interesting things and some lovely frogs

Common Frog


And another

And more
This plant is called Butterwort and eats insects

A Glow worm larva

Flowering Bog Bean

A female Orange tip butterfly

A Nursery Web Spider which wouldn't stay still for a photograph.
It was a really interesting morning out and i really enjoyed it.


An evening walk round the lanes and everything seemed yellow. The fields and the birds.

Windy Walk

We went for a quick walk down the beach, it was quite windy so we didnt see much but 3 Choughs flew straight over our heads. The cliffs looked really good in the sunshine.

Bloody Nosed Beetle

We have been looking to see one of these for a long time.

Its a Bloody-nosed Beetle, when they are scared they squirt a bloody substance as a defence mechanism. I think this one liked me because he didn't squirt any blood. Find out more - http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/species/bloody-nosed-beetle

We explored this stream before stopping at the pub for a drink and bag of crisps.

Bank Holiday Walk

We went for a walk up the common and the first thing we saw was a horse scratching its bum on a barbed wire fence, it looked painful, he must have had a big itch.

We went looking for Lizards and eventually we found one, they are really difficult to see

We recorded the sightings on iSpot but my book must have been out of date because the scientific name i used was wrong. My book said it was called Lacerta vivipara but someone told me this had changed to Zootoca vivipara.

I also found some more bugs which i wasn't sure about and people on iSpot identified them for me.


Clausilia (Clausilia) bidentata

Silpha tristis

We had a break from bug hunting to have a picnic and so some rock climbing

After lunch we found this

Its a Green Tiger Beetle and it is a fast predator. The Tiger in its name doesn't come from its colour though it is named that because it is ferocious.

Lastly i crossed something off my list which i should have crossed off a long time ago because you can see it everywhere, you have probably got them in your garden.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Dawn Chorus Walk

We went out for a Dawn Chorus walk this morning and saw quite a lot of birds. Linnet, Yellowhammer, Raven, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Cole Tit, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Wren, Black Cap, Whitethroat.

We also found a couple of Beetles that i have never seen before. We used iSpot to identify them. You can put pictures on of what you have seen and experts will help you try and identify it. It is really good, you should take a look http://www.ispot.org.uk/

Anyway, we found a Bee Fly which i wrote about last year....

And a Black Oil Beetle, which looked blue in the sun. I have never seen them before but looked on the Buglife website and they are doing a survey on them so i filled out an observation form.

Learn more about oil beetles - http://www.buglife.org.uk/getinvolved/surveys/Oil+Beetle+Hunt

This is my Oil Beetle -

Then we found another beetle which had horns on it......

This is a Minotaur Beetle and was my favourite. The horns are for fighting with other beetles.

Find out more - http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/species/minotaur-beetle

Off the list was Beetle

Minotaur Beetle (Typhaeus typhoeus)

Parc Slip Reptile walk

We went to Parc Slip for a walk with Rose from the Wildlife Trust for South and West Wales. We have been trying to see an Adder for a while now and quite a few people have said that they would try and help us.

The walk around the reserve was good and the sun even came up by the time we finished. Rose showed us 5 Grass Snakes, one of them was huge, this was the first time i had seen them alive (i saw a dead one last year).

We found an Adders skin, when adders are growing the old skin comes off, its called slough. We took some home and had a look at it under the microscope

Adder skin under the microscope.

We saw quite a few small mammals, a common shrew a water shrew and a Bank Vole. A vole is on the list so that was my first tick of the day.

We were nearly at the end of the walk and we still hadn't seen an adder then Rose spotted this

It was my first ever Adder and i was surprised by how big it was. It was sitting on a bank warming up in the sun.

Off the list -

Bank Vole (Clethrionomys glareolus)
A small mammal with a blunt nose. Mostly active at night, eats buds fruits and seeds. Favourite food of birds of prey.

Adder (Vipera berus)
Also known as the viper. It is the only poisonous British snake. Its venom can cause swelling and fever but does not usually kill humans. If you get bitten by an adder you should go to hospital and maybe they will give you some anti venom. It sounds scary but adders are shy and try to keep away from people. They are active in night and day and like to eat voles, mice, lizards and frogs. One meal vole or mouse eaten by an adder means that it doesn't have to eat again for a week. It kills its prey with a bite from its fangs that inject venom. Baby adders are born live and once born they are independent, the mother doesn't look after them at all. Identification of an adder is by the black zig zag pattern down its back and a dark v shape on its head. Adders are cool.

After this we went to Rhoose point by Cardiff for a walk along the beach. We found some fossils in the cliff.

These fossils are Gryphea which are shellfish that used to live in the sea. They are also called devils toenails because they look a bit like a scabby toenail.