Treasures of our seas revealed- As winners of underwater photography competition announced

Posted on 17th November 2011

Treasures of our seas revealed
As winners of underwater photography competition announced

A tiny sea slug, no longer than two inches long, has stolen the show in one of the UK’s most celebrated underwater photography competitions.

As the British Society of Underwater Photographers (BSoUP) announces the winners of the 2011 BSoUP/DIVER print competition, The Wildlife Trusts declare Trevor Rees’s sea slug image as the overall winner of the British and Irish categories, which they judge.

The sea slug, or nudibranch, Flabellina lineata, has delicate tentacles with white tips. It is widespread around much of the UK coastline. As well as being enchanted by the subject, judges were impressed by the technical skill involved in capturing a quality close up of such a small species underwater.

Trevor said: “Flabellina lineata is a great example of how attractive an underwater slug can be compared to a land slug.

“My image was taken in Loch Creran on Scotland’s west coast in about six metres of water. During the dive there were a lot of these creatures feeding in the rich current swept waters of the loch. They were present on rocks and weed with this one found on kelp. A low angle enabled me to get a striking head on portrait using a housed SLR camera with a macro lens.”

Judging took place at the Dive Show in Birmingham (on Sunday 23 October). The Wildlife Trusts looked for photographers who captured the essence of Living Seas – the fascinating and colourful wildlife and habitats found around our coasts.

Robert Bailey secured runner-up status with his portrait of a rare yarrell’s blenny. This fish has bushy tentacles and is uncommon around the UK’s coastline. Judges were delighted to see such a beautiful portrait of one.
Robert said:

Watch the talon show

Posted on 14th November 2011

Birds of prey at Wildlife Trust nature reserves

They are among nature’s most deadly assassins, equipped with razor sharp talons and even sharper senses. Watching birds of prey is a thrilling experience, and finding a spot to see them just got easier thanks to The Wildlife Trusts’ guide Great places to see raptors.

Three to see in winter

Winter is the perfect time to watch raptors. They can be seen surveying the lie of the land from skeletal trees or coasting low over bare ground to swoop on unsuspecting mammals.

Species to look out for include:

Short-eared owl
The short-eared is a day-flying owl. At the Portrack Marsh, managed by Tees Valley Wildlife Trust, short-eared owls can be seen patrolling over wet grassland during late winter afternoons.

Peregrine falcon
Large flocks of wildfowl and waders attract the peregrine falcon, the world’s fastest animal, in winter. Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Wheldrake Ings is a haunt of peregrines as they seek out prey from the huge flocks of golden plover, lapwing, teal and wigeon.

Nature writer, author and journalist, Simon Barnes, said:

“A red kite, twisting his tail as he steers with insolent ease across the sky. A kestrel hovering over the motorway verge. A marsh harrier – they were once down to a single pair in this country – quartering the reedbeds. A peregrine making the anchor silhouette in the sky as he turns into the fastest living thing on the planet. Birds of prey are special alright.”

Simon Barnes’ full feature on birds of prey and The Wildlife Trusts’ downloadable guide to where to see them can be found at


Contact information:

Tanya Perdikou (Media & Campaigns Officer)
Office: 01636 670057
Mobile: 07887 754657

Images are available for use with this news release. They are granted on a one-time use basis, in association with this release and the photographer must be credited.

Marine Conservation Zones at risk

Posted on 8th November 2011

Marine Conservation Zones at risk
Big Society has spoken up for our seas – but will Government listen?

The wildlife in England’s seas is facing a serious threat, warns The Wildlife Trusts.

The long-awaited network of Marine Conservation Zones, promised by Government for 2012, is in danger, according to the conservation organisation, which has been instrumental in marine campaigning and research. It is urging the public to write to Under-Secretary for Natural Environment and Fisheries, Richard Benyon MP, in support of Marine Conservation Zones.

After years of pressure from NGOs, and with huge public support, the Marine and Coastal Access Act of 2009 promised a coherent network of protection around the coast of England by 2012. Now 127 marine sites around England’s coast have been recommended by four regional stakeholder groups to become Marine Conservation Zones next year.

The recommendations are the result of two years of consultation with more than one million stakeholders involved including fishermen, conservationists and businesses. This has been the first ‘Big Society’ experiment where local stakeholders have decided together which areas of the sea should be protected.

There is concern that Government’s Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies (Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee) will recommend to Government that only a fraction of the 127 recommended sites are designated. This would result in a much smaller and less effective network of Marine Conservation Zones, leaving vulnerable and precious areas unprotected.

Toad Appeal

Posted on 3rd November 2011

The Royal Horticultural Society and The Wildlife Trusts are asking bonfire night celebrators to look out for toads and frogs before they light their fires.

“People tend to check for hedgehogs in the wood they have gathered for their fire,” says Andrew Halstead, Principal RHS Entomologist. “But it is equally likely that toads, frogs and newts will have found shelter in these piles and might be missed. Toads and frogs play an important role as predators in the garden and should be encouraged.”

In Autumn hedgehogs, frogs, newts and toads search for places to hibernate and piles of wood for bonfires can appear to be ideal hibernating spots. Both charities advise that fires should be built on the day that they are to be lit. Wood piles can be made before this but the wood should be moved to a clear, debris-free final spot only on the day.

“Bonfire organisers can divert amphibians away from the bonfire site, and give them safe shelter, by having smaller log piles, or heaps of leaves, away from the main pile,” says Morag Shuaib of The Wildlife Trusts. “And before lighting the re-built bonfire pile, it is a good idea to make a final check by torchlight, to make sure nothing has sneaked in.”

The Wildlife Trusts and the RHS are jointly running the Big Wildlife Garden competition which is funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. How gardeners help protect wildlife in their gardens will be one of the considerations taken into account by the judges. Gardeners interested in entering can do so by visiting

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For more information contact Eoin Redahan on 020 7821 3044 or or Anna Guthrie on 01636 670075 or

Notes to the Editor:
About the RHS