Welcome to Talks and Walks Nature Blog!

by Russ on August 17, 2012

Welcome to Talks and Walks!                       And Welcome to our very first blog post!

Encounters with wildlife, such as this male chaffinch, are why I set up Talks and Walks.

This is the area of the site where you will be able to find all the latest news on where we’ve been and what wildlife we’ve seen. It’ll also cover current news on nature, conservation, sustainability and other natural topics from across the globe to right here in Britain. Our blogs will be packed with information, pictures, news and videos too.

The story of Talks and Walks begins with the huge world of wildlife, with over 8 million different species currently in existence. Along with this is a great passion to discover, explore and enjoy anything and everything to do with wildlife and share it with as many people as possible. With so much to see though, where do you start? The easiest place is actually right on our doorstep.

Daisies come in different sizes and all are brilliant for attracting pollinating insects.In every garden, every town park, every back yard there is always the potential to find something amazing whether it’s daisies in the lawn, a scorpion fly in the trees or a hibernating hedgehog in the compost heap. Nature spotting is a pastime that Britain is well known for but the draw of the computer and the television is a strong one to fight in the 21st century. However what lies beyond the garden gate  is still well worth discovering for all the family. Our wildlife is incredibly important to our daily lives, more so than we could ever imagine, both for us and our future generations.

This blog is not only about what we’re doing though, it’s also about what you’re doing. If you’ve been out and about or been at home enjoying the sunshine (sunshine in the UK?) and you’ve seen something you don’t recognise we invite you to send in you pictures or videos and we’ll try our best to identify the animal, plant or fungus in this blog. You can also send funny or interesting pictures and stories of wild animals you’ve encountered which may also appear in the blog.

You can send your pictures to [email protected].

And with that I can declare our blog officially open. Remember to favourite this page and keep checking back for regular updates. If you have a suggestion of a topic you’d like us to cover or location you’d like us to report on please feel free to leave a comment below.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

bernie August 26, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Hi, love the website – great idea for people to share interesting nature sightings.

I was walking the Bury section of the Manchester Bolton & Bury canal on 22/8/12 and I saw a pair of swans with SIX cygnets. Do you think that’s about the normal number of cygnets or is it high ?

Looks like I can’t attach a photo to this post so I will email you the photo I took of the cygnets. Hope you can use it on the site and I would be interested if you could identify what kind of swans they are.

Would the pair of swans breed in the same place next year do you think?



Russ August 27, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Hi Bernie,

I’m glad you enjoyed our blog.

A pair of swans generally have somewhere between two to eight signets in a brood. Six is a sizeable number and it sounds like your swan family may be the dominant force on their stretch of the canal. Swan parents will even adopt unrelated signets into their family as more swans means they can defend a larger territory. The signets will stay with their parents for approximately six months, after which they will be chased away by their parents.

Assuming the pair are still together after the winter and that they aren’t forced to another location by a stronger couple, there’s no reason they would move to a different area to reproduce next season.

From your pictures these swans are mute swan which are the only native swans to stay in the UK year round. Although you weren’t able to leave the pictures in the comment, I will feature your photos in the next blogpost.

Take care,



bernie August 27, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Thanks Russ, interesting fact about swans “adopting” cygnets. Do they get abandoned by their parents or get lost ? How do you think that happens ?


Russ August 28, 2012 at 2:48 pm

A cygnet would normally find itself alone if it had lost both parents. Swans make very good parents and are very unlikely to reject their own cygnets. Adult swans don’t really have natural predators but can easily fall victim to pollution or human activity. This can come in the form of ingesting poisonous substance such as lead, or becoming trapped in plastics and other materials that prevent natural foraging.

Some swans have been known to be so territorial that they will also kill other swans that come anywhere near them which poses a threat to both parents and youngsters. A recent case of this was documented in 2010 – Hannibal the Swan Killer.



Maggie August 28, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Hi Russ,

Two or three years ago we had ducks in our garden for the first time in 20 years! The first one was a male mallard – he returned the next day with a younger male mallard.
A few days later we had the first two and a female! Eventually the older male didn’t return bur the others stayed and returned the next two summers. We haven`t seen them now for a couple of years.
Why aren’t they visiting us any more?



Russ August 30, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Hi Maggie,

There are a number of reasons why the mallards may not be visiting your garden any more. One possibility is that something happened to the individuals, or perhaps they found elsewhere to forage. Although mallard ducks are known to visit gardens (especially if you have a pond or source of water) they need a larger expanse of water for their permanent home. It would therefore be down to chance and a bit of luck, if you get the ducks returning all the time.

The obvious food you might use to attract wild ducks would be bread. It is important that you always soak bread in water before putting it out for birds as bread swells in water. If birds eat to much raw bread, it swells up inside the bird and can cause damage. It is also best to start putting bread high up – on a bird table. This decreases the chance of attracting too many smaller fury creatures that would quickly eat any food before the birds get a chance.

Unfortunately though, there is no way to know for sure where your ducks went but keep an eye on the skies, the fact you got ducks at all means they liked the look of your garden.

I hope this helps answer your question,




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