If you're interested in finding out more about what you can do to help birds and other wildlife in and around your garden then here's a date for your diary.

The RSPB are running various Feed the Birds Day events over the weekend of the 24th and 25th October 2009. RSPB staff and volunteers will be on hand to tell you about the work of the RSPB and to tell you about what you can do to help our wildlife, even with the smallest of outdoor spaces. 

With winter approaching the food that humans put out for birds and other wildlife can really be a lifesaver. There is a huge amount of information on the RSPB's website as to what you can do to help, and another option is to sign up to their Homes for Wildlife scheme. If you have any outdoor space (even if it's just a window box) then the RSPB can give you tailored advice as to what you can to do make it attractive to wildlife of all kinds. They will also tell you about various surveys that they are running which you can take part in to tell the RSPB about the wildlife in your garden. 

Schemes like this really do help to stop declining wildlife numbers so make sure you get involved.

It's starting to get wet and wild outside as autumn replaces summer and that means it's time for big brown spiders in the bath. Here's one that Penny was delighted to find. Click for scarier, larger version!


A bit of research suggests this is an example of Tegenaria Duellica – i.e. Common House Spider in UK parlance. There seems to be a bit of confusion out there on the web (ho ho) as to the many close varieties of Tegenaria, but I think consensus is that Duellica and Gigantea are in fact the same thing, with Gigantea being the older and now deprecated nomenclature.

This example is about 6cm across the legs, with perhaps a 16mm body. The long legs and slender body suggest it's a male, which makes sense as it's the males out roaming for a mate at this time of year, which is why we see so many of them all of a sudden.