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.

A nice Suprise

The fish on my list are very hard to see so I was very happy when my uncle turned up at the house with this -

Its a fish from my list!! My uncle found it dead on the beach and dropped it round the house for me to see, lucky it was still fresh so it was not smelly!

Plaice (Pleuronectes platessa)
Is a flat fish found in the sea (you might also find some unlucky ones in the fish and chip shop!).

It is a common flatfish, occurring on the sandy and muddy bottoms of the European shelf, usually at depths between 10 and 50 m, where they tend to burrow in sediment during day time and remain stationary for long periods. They can be found at depths up to approximately 200 m. Young fish in particular come right inshore in very shallow water. They are able to survive low salt concentrations and may occur in some cases in brackish water or even in freshwater. The European plaice is characterised above by their darkgreen to darkbrown skin, blotched with conspicuous, but irregularly distributed, orange spots. The underside is pearly white. The skin is smooth with small scales. They are able to adapt their colour somewhat to match that of their surroundings but the orange spots always remain visible

Its been a while.....

Its been a while since I have updated my blog but I have been really busy with my conservation work. So here is a summary of what I have been up to -

We have been busy at Parc Slip nature reserve (http://parcslipnr.blogspot.co.uk/) clearing ditches and sowing wildflower mixes.  And riding around on the resident giant Brian the Badger

I have made an appearance in the international Venture Travel Magazine who interviewed me about my challenge.
I won the South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre (SEWBREC) (http://www.sewbrec.org.uk/) young wildlife recorder of the year which include gift vouchers for the NHBS website (I still haven't decided what to spend them on).
I have joined the Glamorgan Fungus Group and this year will be recording all my fungi finds at my local nature reserve with the help of my dad (currently 24 species). I'm not the only one at the reserve who likes fungi, you can see Door snails snacking on jelly ears in the photo above.
I have been busy enjoying the signs of Spring after a long winter.
And coppicing with Butterfly Conservation to help the High Brown Fritillary at its last known site in Wales.
Throughout March I have been out with my local amphibian and reptile group helping toads across the roads to their breeding sites. And some frogs as well (see below)
It hasn't all been hard work I have had chance to try out my new Trangia Camp stove that I had for Christmas. It cooks my favourite Chicken Tikka Massala well.
And took some time out to snooze in a tree.
I was interviewed by ITV Wales Coast & Country about my challenge and signs of spring (Series 2 Episode 2).
And I have been interviewed by The Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales for their podcast -   http://youtu.be/y-2J_yG9tbk
Enough of all that, on with the challenge!
I stumbled across this Spindle tree in my local woods which is another tick off my list.
Spindle (Euonymus europaeus)
 The Spindle gets its name from the fact that it was used for hand spinning wool before the spinning wheel was invented. Its other names of "prickwood" "skewerwood" and "pincushion shrub" give you a clue that wood from this bush was also used for skewers, toothpicks, pegs and knitting needles. The tree has bright pink berries which were once dried and powdered and rubbed into children's hair as a cure for headlice.

Glow worms

Here is the short film I made for our Wildlife Trust Group Christmas meeting, its all about Glow worms

Summer of 2013 - Part 2

Just realised that not all of out photos uploaded so here's part 2.........

Chips for table 24!!!
I came home from school on Thursday to find a pot on my doorstep with this dead dragonfly in it, I don't know who left it but I identified it as a male Southern Hawker

A large Parasol mushroom

The Comma I found in my bathroom

A Small Copper (from above)

A Small Copper (side view)

A Wall Brown

A Holly Blue

A refreshing bottle of Tarka mineral water

A Harvetsman with some red mites on its back

Sunflowers on the heritage coast

Froglets in my garden

A common lizard

A Cuttlefish at Anglessey aquarium

A Common Blue

A warty Toad

An Elephant Hawkmoth caterpillar eating Himalayan Balsam

This is the inside of a Bass's moth, my uncle caught this when fishing in the sea

A Chanterelle mushroom, very tasty

Found this in the garden, its the fattest frog I've ever seen

Another Common Blue

A cool Hoverfly

Another Common Blue

Close up of a butterfly's eye
A Ringlet

The bug hotel we helped to make at Parc Slip

A Sea Slater, this thing was huge

Lenny the Blenny

A Brimstone Moth

A butterfly larvae

A thick thighed flower beetle

A wooly thistle growing on the coast

The glowing abdomen of a Glow worm

A grasshopper on the side of my house

Summer of 2013

Well I know its been a while but I have been out and about all summer enjoying myself and i'm only 10!

Anyway I thought I would post our photos from the summer to show you what i've been up to so here we go................

Me, my brother and Dad spent 6 weeks studying our local Glow worm population. I will be making a short film about this for our local wildlife groups Christmas meeting so I will post the film here when its done so you can learn more about these cool bugs.

We live near the beach so I spent a lot of time down there rummaging about in rock pools looking for interesting things like Hermit Crabs

Its hard work looking for interesting things so sometimes you have just got to relax

Glamorgan Heritage Coast where we watched the Choughs throughout the summer

You don't have to go far to see nature, frog in my garden pond

A male and female Glow worms

A mackerel I caught whilst fishing with my Grandad

Lesser Bur-reed

My Grandad found a cocoon in his garden which he gave to me and I hatched it out into this huge Oak Eggar moth and then set him free into the night

Lenny the Blenny

The Beach

Even had time for a bit of surfing at the Gower

I went on holiday to North Wales, here I am getting my first ever views of Ospreys

At Gelerts grave in Beddgelert

Otters are frequent visitors to this pool but unfortunately, not when I was looking for them

Check out the camouflage on this moth, see below for a close up

Chicken of the woods fungus in North Wales

Beefsteak Fungus

Wolf Fish at Anglessey aquarium


Watching Bass, mullet and sharks at the aquarium
Waiting for the tide to drop so we can go for a swim

A spot of climbing in trees is good fun

A quick visit to South Stack nature reserve but the Choughs were not about

The heather was alive with insects

A magpie moth in the country lane

I felt bad about catching these prawns in the rock pools but they tasted sooooo good

A chaser at Parc Slip Nature Reserve

A close up of a common darter

Fox moth caterpillar on the heritage coast

Chilling in the woods

Chilling in a rock pool

We found this dead trout in a river which had been dry all summer and have no idea how it got there, weird

This is my new pet lizard that I had for my birthday

I spent all summer trying to see a Comma butterfly then I was brushing my teeth one night and this one flew straight past me and landed on the edge of the bathroom sink