The oystercatcher is a large, stocky, black and white wading bird. It has a long, orange-red bill and reddish-pink legs. In flight it shows a wide, white wing-stripe, a black tail and a white rump that extends as a ‘V’ between the wings.

Because it eats cockles, the population is vulnerable if cockle beds are overexploited.

They breed on almost all UK coasts. During the last 50 years, more birds have started breeding inland. Most UK birds spend the winter on the coast where they are joined on the east coast by birds from Norway.

Oystercatchers’ nests are a scrape in the ground made by the male. It may be lined with shells, fragments of rocks or small mammal droppings.

Oystercatchers lay 2-5 camouflaged eggs which are incubated by both male and female for 24-35 days. Chicks are covered in down and are fed by both parents. They fledge around 33 days but will still rely on their parents for food for some time.

Did you know?

There are 12 species in the world, all of which look very similar, being either pied or plain black, with a red bill and pink legs. A further species of oystercatcher became extinct in the 20th century.

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Acknowledgements: Extract taken from The Wildlife Trust more...

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Restorative yoga is suitable for practitioners of all levels. By definition, restorative yoga is a restful practice that holds yoga poses (asanas) for a longer duration using props like yoga blocks, blankets, and bolsters. It is a practice of deep relaxation that emphasizes the meditative aspect of yoga – the union of body and mind. Through the use of props for support, many of the postures are held almost effortlessly.

When the body enters a state of relaxation the mind can also consciously relax as tension is released from both body and mind. The only work that’s required on your part during a restorative yoga practice is to pay attention to your breath and become aware of any sensations or thoughts that may arise.

The general trend in Western yoga is to make it a practice geared toward the athletic, aerobic, and acrobatic styles of the practice. During typical vinyasa classes, for instance, you move quickly from one pose to another as you build heat and increase your strength and flexibility over time. While these energetic styles of yoga focus on muscular engagement, restorative yoga relaxes the muscles by using props to support the body. In some restorative postures, you will also receive a gentle stretch. Restorative yoga poses are held anywhere from 5–20 minutes.

Restorative classes are typically mellow and low-energy, making them a great complement to more active practices (as well as our busy lives) and an excellent antidote to stress. Stillness is a powerful practice.

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Acknowledgements: Extract taken from verywellfit.com

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The Speckled Wood butterfly occurs in woodland, gardens and hedgerows. Butterflies often perch in sunny spots, spiralling into the air to chase each other.

The aptly named Speckled Wood flies in partially shaded woodland with dappled sunlight. The male usually perches in a small pool of sunlight, from where it rises rapidly to intercept any intruder. Both sexes feed on honeydew in the tree tops and are rarely seen feeding on flowers, except early and late in the year when aphid activity is low.

The range of this butterfly contracted during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but has spread back since the 1920s. It has continued to spread over the past two decades, recolonizing many areas in eastern and northern England and Scotland.

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Acknowledgements: Extract taken from: butterfly-conserv more...

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Now the commonest and most widespread UK bird of prey. The buzzard is quite large with broad, rounded wings, and a short neck and tail. When gliding and soaring it will often hold its wings in a shallow ‘V’ and the tail is fanned. Buzzards are variable in colour from all dark brown to much paler variations, all have dark wingtips and a finely barred tail. Their plaintive mewing call could be mistaken for a cat.

Greatest numbers of buzzards can be found in Scotland, Wales, the Lake District and SW England, but now breeding in every county of the UK. They are found in most habitats particularly woodland, moorland, scrub, pasture, arable, marsh bog and villages. Buzzards can even be seen in towns and cities including Glasgow. Look for birds soaring over wooded hillsides in fine weather, or perched on fence posts and pylons. In some areas they are known as the tourists’ eagle, often being mistaken for this larger bird of prey.

Buzzards, like many other birds of prey, were also affected by the use of organochlorine pesticides in the 1950s and 1960s, reducing their ability to reproduce. Populations and range remained restricted until the late 1960s when these pesticides were withdrawn. At the same time, there was a reduction in illegal killing, as gamekeepers in many lowland areas came to appreciate that buzzards pose a very limited threat to game shooting interests. As these threats lessened, buzzard numbers started to slowly increase in Britain and Northern Ireland.

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