Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Love is in the air, or at least amplexus!

So not long after valentines day theres still a little loving going on, well i say loving primal instincts! (don't worry its not me) its my population of Common Frogs that have been in my garden for well over 10 years since i put in a pond and last year i extended it have a gradual decline and deeper area for hibernation. I also put plenty of water plants in which provides cover and keeps the water clear.

Ponds are without a doubt the best way to attract wildlife to your pond

Rocks provide shelter for the frogs and the bare patch of soil behind the pond has been sowed with wild flower seeds so in the spring and summer plenty of inverts for them to eat.

The frogs tend to be mainly nocturnal so going at night often means you see more 

On some of the rainy nights i could find them in Amplexus (latin for embrace) where the male holds on until the female releases the frogspawn which can be a few weeks depending on temperature.

The reddish skin colour is one of many colours they come in
Despite there name common frogs aren't all that common any more with a estimated 1 million ponds being lost in the last century in the UK these frogs prefer shallow weedy areas to hide from predators and give there young the best chance. One point with my frogs is a good few are reddish in colour a genetic quirk, these frogs come in all kinds of colours from black, brown to greenish tints.

Once together the frogs become very approachable with all thoughts on breeding

I have fond memories as a child keeping tadpoles in a tank and watching them grow and each year still get like a little kid watching them grow in my pond.

BBC Wildlife Local Patch Reporter
Jack Perks

Facebook: Jack Perks Photography
Website: www.jackperksphotography.com

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Flooding and UK Wildlife

Locally here in Nottingham the flooding has been fairly mild with most rivers certainly running high but no real risk at the moment of flooding like in Somerset. Its not great for my photography as i spend most of my time in rivers and need clear water to get images. The murky water also proves difficult for species such as kingfishers and prolonged periods of floods can hit them hard not being able to see small fish as easily as in clear water but what does all the wet weather do to are wildlife and are there any positives of them?

Kingfishers breed all over the Trent valley but the floods do them no favours


The wet weather causes areas below sea level (such as the Somerset levels) and lowland rivers to flood which can have a detrimental effect on some of our wildlife. Barn owls can be hit hard as with the flooded fields it stops them being able to hunt and recently they have dropped in numbers all over the country. Closer to home with my rivers all kinds of man made rubbish gets washed in as well as road run off and farm run off which increases the pollution into rivers (despite rivers getting better there are no rivers in lowland England or wales that are unaffected by pollution with most falling below EU standards)

Barn Owls struggle with the flooded fields


You might think that there is no up sides but you'd be wrong! Despite the pollution being washed in the fast water washes shallow gravels clean and clears them of silt which provides great spawning habitat for fish such as salmon and trout and the silt which will get deposited further down stream provides habitat for invertebrates and rare fish like lamprey and spined loach. When the rivers burst there banks and floods fields it opens new feeding grounds for waterfowl which are flat enough to see predators coming from a far and food that would not normally be available vital for migrating birds. Fish can get stranded which is bad for the fish but feeds birds like herons which can struggle in the fast flowing murky rivers. One fish that can benefit from floods in the eel which can come out of the river much easier and into dyke's, ponds and canals that otherwise would be hard to get into and provide a safer home then the river.

Brown Trout can benefit with shallow gravels being washed clean

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Freshwater fish project funded!

Well I'm delighted to announce my kickstarter campaign has worked and my freshwater fish project will be going ahead!

Link to Kickstarter

The aim of the project is to put fish in the limelight and show them off as a valuable and interesting part of are natural fauna rather then just a meal for other wildlife. We have 54 species swimming in are freshwater (give or take a few migrant sea fish and alien species) the main focus will be filming our native species underwater showing behaviour we rarely get to see.

The money donated will go towards me travelling to venues all over the UK including Norfolk for Brook lamprey and Crucians, Welsh Boarders for Shad and the lake district for some rare glacial species. Themes for the film will include showing children mini species, helping a well known nature reserve uncover its fish species, catching a alien fish and sharing the plight of eels.

The film will be shown at a private cinema in Nottingham when completed and already having a few possible TV opportunities.

A short film highlighting threats and showing whats being done to combat them as well as experts talking about the state of our freshwater habitats. The main aim to film as many species as possible as species like Salmon and Pike are often shown but lots of other species rarely get a mention like spined loach or gudgeon?

Here's 28 species I've already filmed

If you'd like to get involved theres a number of ways

  • Donate/Sponsor - if you have a company that would like to sponsor us you can still give and have the option to have your company appear in the end credits of the film. If you'd still like to give money just to support the project then you can still give directly to me

  • Locations - If you know of a good clear water venue to film fish (particularly the rarer species) then chances are I'd be interested in knowing!

  • Media - I'll be doing allot of filming but would be good to have a second camera so if you want the experience to work on this project then get in touch. Editors, Researchers and other roles welcome!

  • Spread the word! - This ones free and little effort, just tweet, facebook, email ,blog or good old fashioned chat to people about the project and see if others can help!