The purpose of this blog is primarily to promote interest in my local natural environment, Sussex, and to promote conservation and environmental-friendly nature engagement. It is also a reminder for me of enjoyable nature days out; a resource that enables me to savour past positive experiences when the going gets tough. Most posts are about one-day nature journeys; although some posts are about environmental issues, nature and art, or nature and wellbeing. In the nature journey posts, I describe briefly how I got to the destination by public transport.
I am an amateur naturalist; interested in the relationship between the ecology of local landscapes; conservation strategy; environmental policy; philosophy; art and well-being. My main interests are birds, lichens and bryophytes, but I am also interested in insects and wildflowers and the fungi of Sussex. I am particuIarly interested in the South Downs, the Weald's ghyll woods and river/estuary/saltmarsh environments in Sussex. I am predominantly a "patch" naturalist, who visits specific locations repeatedly, in an attempt to understand, from lived experience, the relationships between the flora, fauna and funga in particular locations, and how those environments change through the seasons, and how they are affected by global warming and land use.
I take record shots. I do not aim to take great photographs; although I am always pleased to get a good photo.
I do not have a car, and I travel mostly by train and bus. I live in Brighton, so most of my journeys into nature are in East or West Sussex
I hope you find my posts enjoyable, and I hope they extend your enthusiasm for and knowledge of the natural world; and hopefully they may provide suggestions for walks that you could undertake, reached by public transport
I submit significant observations of insects to iRecord, the online recording portal of the Biological Records Centre (BRC), part of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), which monitors and models environmental change. I record lichens & bryophytes on iNaturalist (user name: sim_elliott); and I submit records to the national recording schemes of the British Lichen Society and the British Bryological Society
I am a member of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Butterfly Conservation, BugLife, PlantLife, the British Naturalists Association, British Entomological and Natural History Society, the Sussex Botanical Recording Society, the British Mycological Society, the British Lichen Society, the British Bryological Society and the Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland
I am a keen amateur ornithologist, but I focus on watching birds in my own patch; I do not travel to see rare birds (vagrants). I am a volunteer with the RSPB at Pagham Harbour, where I work in the visitor centre and co-lead guided walks. I co-ordinate the Shoreham and District Ornithological Society's garden bird watch scheme. Significant birds I encounter I enter on the British Trust for Ornithology's BirdTrack; the main database of bird diversity and abundance in the UK. I am a member of the RSPB, British Trust for Ornithology, the Shoreham and District Ornithology Society, the Sussex Wildlife Trust, the Sussex Ornithological Society, the British Trust for Ornithology, and BirdLife International.
I do my best to ensure that none of my photographs harm animals in any way. I try to take photographs of animals showing their natural behaviours in their typical habitats. I keep at a distance (except with insect photography) so that I do not effect the behaviour of the animals that I am photographing. I do not bait animals to attract them (except in my back garden bird feeders), nor do I set up shots in any way. I do not use flash photography, due to the potential damage to the retinas of animals, and the impact of flash photography on animal behaviours in their environment; although I use diffuse LED lighting (a lighting ring) to support closeup macro photography of insects (taken with an Olympus Tough TG-6)
I am a Quaker (I attend Brighton Local Quaker Meeting and I a member of the West Sussex Local Quaker Meeting); and I support asylum seekers with Brighton Quaker Meeting's Sanctuary Group
I am a volunteer for Speak Out Brighton and Hove (advocacy for adults with learning disabilities).
Before retiring I was a teacher and local authority service manager (special educational needs and disabilities).
I have a degree in Music (BMus, University of Sheffield) and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE, Bulmershe College of Higher Education, University of Reading). I have masters degrees in the History of Art (MA, University of Sussex) and Applied Positive Psychology (MSc, University of East London).
All of the photos on my website are my own (unless otherwise stated). and were taken with the following:
- a Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 mirrorless four-thirds camera with a Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 8-18mm f/2.8-4 ASPH zoom lens and a Panasonic Lecia DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4-6.3 ASPH Power O.I.S. zoom lens
- a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
- an Olympus Tough TG-6, a compact camera with variable macro system/Microscope
This website is entirely non-commercial; I do not sell anything. The purpose of this website is to provide an opportunity to share my writing on nature, conservation, philosophy and psychology.
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