Guest blogs

I’m always interested in publishing guest blogs here. This blog is called ‘Standing Up for Nature‘ which gives a flavour of what I’d be interested in.

I’d be particularly interested in publishing views that are different from my own, or blogs on subjects about which I am particularly ignorant (marine issues, plants, insects for a fairly wide-ranging start!) but anything reasonably well-written and interesting is welcome.  Oh yes – and if you are still at school or university then you count as ‘young’ as far as I am concerned and I feel well-disposed towards young naturalists.

What I write here is my voice – but this site could be your voice too.

Here are some varied examples of recent guest blogs (all are from 2018): Dead from the neck down by David Elias;  Save Mortimer Forest by Nigel Rowley; ELS/HLS Madness by Andrew Carter.

And here are the very simple guidance notes for writing something: click here.

If your photos of wildlife can stand up beside those of Paul Leyland, Tim Melling, Guy Shorrock and others then I would be very happy to publish them here – but I’d want some good words to go with them too, please.





This was nice

Inglorious; conflict in the uplands is nearly three years of age (if publication date = birthday).

I’d have thought that anyone who wanted to read it would have done so ages ago, but that just shows how little I know.  I still get the occasional email from people telling me they’ve just read it, and how much they enjoyed/agreed/liked it.  Here are three examples:

Sunday morning and I have literally just finished your wonderful and eye-opening book, Inglorious.’

I’ve just read your book ‘Inglorious‘ and whilst I am no where near as ‘liberal’ as your good self I congratulate you sir on a devastating analysis of the multiple problems of driven grouse shooting. Well done and judging by the reviews on Amazon you got it right.

I finished Inglorious a few weeks ago and OMG what a read – thank you for writing such an important and instructive book.

If you are going to be at Potteric Carr on Sunday for their birthday then come and see me at a Q&A I’m doing there, and buy some, or lots!, of my books.  I’ll gladly sign them if you’d like that.




I bet you immediately knew where the A’Mhoine peninsula in Sutherland is didn’t you? It’s where we might build a UK space port.  It is described as a remote boggy stretch of land by the BBC,

The site may initially host rocket and satellite launches but commercial passenger travel could then follow according to the Daily Record.  Pretty handy to get to!

UK Space Agency selected the Sutherland site because Scotland is the best place in the UK to reach highly sought-after satellite orbits with vertically launched rockets according to the UK Space Agency, Department of Business and the Scottish Office.  Is Sutherland closer to the sky than anywhere else then?

Charlotte Wright, chief executive of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said ‘The decision to support the UK’s first spaceport in Sutherland is tremendous news for our region and for Scotland as a whole.

The international space sector is growing and we want to ensure the region is ready to reap the economic benefits that will be generated from this fantastic opportunity.‘.

Will Whitehorn, non-executive Chairman of Clyde Space said ‘From designing and building the very first satellite in Scotland, Clyde Space has grown and become a front runner in small-satellite manufacturing. Having a spaceport located in Scotland will bring about a whole host of commercial advantages and not only to our operations in Glasgow, but to the entire space sector in the whole of the UK.‘.

Peter Platzer, CEO of Spire Global, said ‘A spaceport in Scotland and the UK is fantastic news! Launch continues to be the most unpredictable part of the overall supply chain, with delays, often for months and sometimes years, being the norm. In Spire, Scotland already sports Europe’s most advanced and prolific satellite manufacturing capability, and with a space port right next door, enabling clockwork like launches, we can finally get our space sector supply chain to be truly integrated!

Graham Turnock, chief executive of the UK Space Agency, said ‘This grant will help to kick-start an exciting new era for the UK space industry, and this is only the beginning of our LaunchUK campaign. We are committed to supporting a commercial market for access to space in the UK, and we will continue to engage with any company who seeks to operate here.‘.

The plan has been described as ‘ground-breaking’.  Aye, and there’s the rub, but it will be a lot easier to push through if we ditch the protection afforded by the EU Birds and Habitats Directives.

Large parts of this remote and boggy area are protected by domestic UK legislation – it’s an SSSI:

And this area was selected as a Special Protection Area by the UK to meet our obligations under the the Birds Directive:


And this peninsula was selected as a Special Area of Conservation by the UK to meet our obligations under the Habitats and Species Directive:


It will be interesting to see what the Wildlife NGOs say about this.


Thunderous Mr Wilde


The thunderous Findlay Wilde has a thunderclap going. It will go out on 12 August, the Inglorious 12th, a while before he gets his GCSE results!

It seems as though Findlay has been around for ages, he’s an established figure – an established figure and he hasn’t got to the sixth form yet.

Well done Findlay!

Please add your support through following this link.




Paul Leyland – Ruby-tailed Wasp

This beautifully coloured wasp usually appears at this time of year exploring the bee hotel in my garden. Ruby-tailed Wasps, also called Jewell Wasps, parasitize the nests of solitary bees and wasps. The female enters the host’s nest and lays an egg in each cell, the lava will then eat the egg or young larva of the host, plus any stored food in the cell.

They are quite small wasps, around 10mm long, but their bright colours and rapid movement easily catch the eye, especially on a sunny day. I was lucky with this one which I saw this week. It was quite sedentary so gave me a chance of some decent photographs. Normally they are constantly flitting around, so that photography is very difficult.

There are several different species of Ruby-tailed Wasp, family Chrysididae, in various shades of blue, green, purple and red. They all have the same armoured shell to protect themselves from the stings of their adversaries. When threatened they will often roll up into a ball. The species are very difficult to tell apart, unless specimens are taken. This one belongs to the genus Chrysis and is most probably Chrysis ignita, the most common of the different species. They can be seen anywhere where solitary bees or wasps occur, garden bee hotels are good places for spotting them.