Robin singing surrounded by blossom

Five minutes in nature: Tea break window watching

Museum Research Assistant Matt Hayes writes: With many of us currently having to work from home, spending our days sitting and staring at screens, it is important to take breaks, get up and look to the outside world when we can. Since lockdown, the kitchen table has become my new office and I am very lucky to have a small garden, which the kitchen backs … Continue reading Five minutes in nature: Tea break window watching

Daffodils and helebores in the Botanic Garden

Wildlife Diaries from the Botanic Garden: March 6-12

Welcome back to Wildlife Diaries. This is a collaboration between the Museum of Zoology and Cambridge University Botanic Garden, sharing the wildlife of the Garden as spring arrives. Catch up with last week’s post, with its flowers and fragrances, hibernating ladybirds and singing robins, and join us for a special livestream at 5pm on April 1, when you can ask your questions to our panel … Continue reading Wildlife Diaries from the Botanic Garden: March 6-12

Snowdrops with open flowers

Five minutes in nature: The Joy of Winter Fragrance

Dr William Foster, Emeritus Curator of Insects, writes: It is the world of smells that is most cruelly crushed by the cold of winter. Even on the chilliest days our eyes and ears have something to feast on. The bare branches still pattern the sky, the holly berries glow against the glossy leaves, and the blackbirds sing. But for our nostrils the diet of odours … Continue reading Five minutes in nature: The Joy of Winter Fragrance

Primroses in flower

Wildlife Diaries from the Botanic Garden

Welcome to Wildlife Diaries. This is a collaboration between the Museum of Zoology and Cambridge University Botanic Garden, sharing the wildlife of the Garden as spring arrives. Join us for a special livestream at 5pm on April 1, when we will be joined by a panel of wildlife experts ready to answer your questions: We have been inspired by the naturalists of the past – … Continue reading Wildlife Diaries from the Botanic Garden

Gorse shieldbug on a branch

BioBlitz Cambridge 2020: The Results

During March we are working with Cambridge University Botanic Garden to bring you a series of blog posts documenting Spring arriving in the Garden. This will be culminating in a Wildlife Diaries livestream at 5pm on Thursday 1 April on YouTube: https://youtu.be/RScsiUeR5aQ We will be live in the Garden with a panel of wildlife experts ready to answer your questions. To whet your appetite for … Continue reading BioBlitz Cambridge 2020: The Results

Black-headed gulls and a mute swan swimming on a lake at Cherry Hinton Hall

Five minutes in nature: Black-headed gulls at Cherry Hinton Hall

Museum Volunteer Anne French writes: Cherry Hinton Hall park, a short walk from where I live, is blessed with a chalk stream that used to power a water mill. The chalk stream supports many forms of wildlife such as kingfishers, water voles, sticklebacks, chubb and perch. But recently, I have found myself heading down there to see some birds I thought were terns but it … Continue reading Five minutes in nature: Black-headed gulls at Cherry Hinton Hall

Cloud formation above a country path

Five minutes in nature: Taking time to ‘stand and stare’

Museum Marketing Assistant Tricia Harnett writes: Since the first lockdown I have discovered a walk right behind my house which I didn’t know was so beautiful. I had walked it many times before. I had hurried round, trying to get my health app to register more km than the day before, thinking about my next task, the weekly shopping, the dinner, work….. I hadn’t really … Continue reading Five minutes in nature: Taking time to ‘stand and stare’

Swan on the river viewed through willow branches

Five Minutes in Nature: A mindful journey through art and nature

Museum Volunteer Tani Gill writes: Art and classical dance have been the core of my education and passion. In order to explain how art and nature keep me mindful and grateful for the life I have, it is important for me to remind myself of what inspired me in the early years of my life. It is these influential years that form our character and … Continue reading Five Minutes in Nature: A mindful journey through art and nature

Five minutes in nature: A river near me

Museum Volunteer Charlotte Dufferwiel writes: A short journey from the centre of Durham, the River Wear meanders through the open fields and wooded glades on the outskirts of the city. Walking along the country lane, the stubby green shoots of winter barely tentatively pop through the earth on either side. Skeletons of hogweed act as gateposts along the farmer’s fields and frozen droplets cling to … Continue reading Five minutes in nature: A river near me

Black locust tree in summer and autumn

Five minutes in nature: Certainty in trees

Museum PhD student Kate Howlett writes: As we approach having been in lockdown, in some form or other, for almost a year, I’ve come to be incredibly grateful for the gentle giants I can see through the windows of my flat—the trees. There is something comforting in watching the same trees every day for a whole year; watching them change colour through the seasons provides … Continue reading Five minutes in nature: Certainty in trees

Portals to the World: resources for adults with dementia and their care partners

Join us as we explore five species with Museum staff and Department of Zoology researchers, then have a go at a different art activity inspired by the featured animals. These videos and resources have been created in partnership with Dementia Compass, for adults with dementia and their care partners in mind. While they were initially created for participants of our Portals to the World course, … Continue reading Portals to the World: resources for adults with dementia and their care partners

A muntjac in the receding water

Five minutes in nature: A daily, identical photo

Assistant Director Jack Ashby writes: Like many people, since March 2020 I’ve been spending a lot of time in whatever countryside I can find near my home. When the UK government specified in those initial, strict covid lockdown guidelines that we were permitted just one hour of exercise outdoors a day, something psychological was triggered in me that made me eager to make sure I … Continue reading Five minutes in nature: A daily, identical photo

Starling on a branch

Five Minutes in Nature: Starlings

Winter is a tough time of year, with its short days, long nights, and often overcast skies. But there is still wildlife to be enjoyed, and spending time in nature has been shown to improve wellbeing. With these posts, the team at the Museum of Zoology are sharing how they like to spend five minutes in nature and get reacquainted with the wildlife on their … Continue reading Five Minutes in Nature: Starlings

Owl pellet dissected to show the bones and fur of its prey

Owl Pellets

Museum Volunteer Ian Harvey writes: We’re all familiar with owls and for many people, they’re their favourite animal. And we know owls from literature; the owl and the pussycat, owl in Winnie the Pooh and the owls in the Harry Potter books. Owls are birds of prey or raptors meaning they feed on other animals. They have certain features making them great hunters; excellent eyesight … Continue reading Owl Pellets

Herbie the Hedgehog’s winter hidey hole

Matt Lowe, Collections Manager at the Museum of Zoology, writes: A couple of months ago my wife and I were tidying up the pots of herbs we keep next to kitchen door when we heard a shuffling noise and what sounded awfully like snoring. That was when I realised I had succeeded in giving an overwintering hedgehog a home. In 2019, not long after we … Continue reading Herbie the Hedgehog’s winter hidey hole