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The Armchair Naturalists
35 minutes | 7 months ago
Podcast Episode 8: Make Nature Your Playground and “Consider the Colours”.
Welcome to autumn: Simon, John and Margaret join forces this autumn/winter with the wonderful team at Haith’s wild bird food (https://www.haiths.com/) to launch their new project – “Make Nature Your Playground”. Gemma Saunders (Customer Care Manager) introduces herself and explains more about the project and how Haith’s aim to encourage parents and grandparents to get out and about and surround themselves and their children/grandchildren with nature’s playground. “We want to provide listeners with the information on what to look out for during the autumn/winter months and share activities in which families can get involved,” explains Gemma – who makes a wonderful addition to The Armchair Naturalists Podcast. John and Margaret Cooper share their ideas and knowledge with listeners and whet our appetite to observe nature’s natural flush of “leaves changing colour, berries and fruits, mosses, ferns, fungi, winter birds congregating, tracks and signs of mammals, end-of-summer insects e.g. crane flies, wasps…” Podcast edited by Edward King. Thank you! Show notes: Find out more about the great work Haith’s do at https://www.haiths.com/ Ode To Autumn – John Keats Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;Conspiring with him how to load and blessWith fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shellsWith a sweet kernel; to set budding more,And still more, later flowers for the bees,Until they think warm days will never cease,For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells. Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may findThee sitting careless on a granary floor,Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hookSpares the next swath and all its twinéd flowers:And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keepSteady thy laden head across a brook;Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours. Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—While barréd clouds bloom the soft-dying day,And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mournAmong the river sallows, borne aloftOr sinking as the light wind lives or dies;And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble softThe red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
43 minutes | 10 months ago
Podcast episode 7 – An Anniversary (Maxwell Knight’s) and an Armchair Assessment.
Podcast episode 7: “An Anniversary (Maxwell Knight’s) and an Armchair Assessment” Simon, John and Margaret’s theme for today’s podcast is “An Anniversary and An Armchair Assessment” and marked the fact that the 9th of July (when the podcast was recorded), is the date of birth of Maxwell Knight whom the FFON Maxwell Knight website is named. John and Margaret – who knew Maxwell Knight – share their memories about him as a person and his influence on a whole generation of naturalists. Maxwell Knight and The Frightened Face of Nature (FFON) But first, the FFON team talk about taking walks, the ever-changing natural world and John has a few things to say about the word ‘succession’ and ‘legacy’, insects and flowers plus the growing importance of photography (Margaret announces she has a surprise to share later in the broadcast). Simon shares a brief assessment of what the FFON team have covered since the very first podcast on the 9th of April 2020 – all of which can be listened to here. The podcast team agree to take a half-term break and promise to return in September IF enough people miss the podcasts. If not, they might return anyway… As usual, Margaret has been busy collecting feedback and messages… and shares an interesting tale about a snake: here’s the YouTube video / link to the spitting cobra mentioned in the podcast: Spitting cobra. John’s memories of Maxwell Knights starts with a mention of Wikipedia and he changes the order and sequence of how Maxwell Knight is described – believing he was first and foremost a ‘naturalist.’ Margaret shares her memories of Maxwell Knight and shares the story behind naming their son ‘Max.’ Simon explains how his Maxwell Knight story started on October 2014 and how it took a unique turn in 2015 when he broke into his (Knight’s) personal filing cabinet! You can read more about that here. He also mentions how Maxwell Knight took clarinet lessons from Sidney Bechet: Sidney Bechet All three discuss the Maxwell Knight Symposium and John Cooper’s can be read in full here, and Simon King’s here. Read Simon King’s ‘Spectre of Destruction‘ on The Guardian’s website. Read MI5’s account of Maxwell Knight here. MI5’s leading agent-runner, Maxwell Knight (later a well-known BBC naturalist) also had considerable success in penetrating British fascist movements. MI5 was hampered, however, by the unwillingness of successive pre-war Home Secretaries to sign a Home Office Warrant (HOW) for the interception of the communications of Sir Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists, apparently because of the belief that he was, at root, a sincere patriot who posed no threat to national security—despite the fact that he married his second wife at a private ceremony in Goebbels’s drawing room, attended by Hitler.source: https://www.mi5.gov.uk/the-inter-war-years Take-home messages: John discussed ‘succession’ in more detail and the legacy of Maxwell Knight including his reputation and his Young Naturalists’ Library at the NHM. Margaret’s take-home message was to encourage all of us to – as we return to ‘normal’ – after COVID-19 – not to give up on natural history… to slow down on your walks… and to Pause and Ponder! Thanks to all who’ve listened to The Armchair Naturalists Podcast from the FFON team. We hope to assemble again in September. In the meantime, keep safe Simon, John and Margaret – FFON. “John and Margaret Cooper. Two Armchair Naturalists who sometimes take their “armchair” out into the field”“John and Margaret Cooper. Two Armchair Naturalists who sometimes take their “armchair” out into the field”Simon H King Recorded 9th July 2020 at 19.00. Podcast edited by Edward King.
35 minutes | a year ago
Podcast episode 6 – Bees, bugs, ponds and water-bowls.
Episode 6 Simon, John and Margaret’s theme for today’s podcast is “Bees, bugs, ponds and water-bowls.” The FFON (www.ffon.co.uk) team discuss Sean Wensley’s timely blog “Growing close to nature during lockdown” and one specific quote, which caught the attention of a number of people on twitter: “I join, passionately and emphatically, all those who want our post-Covid 19 regeneration to be undertaken with biodiversity and a greened economy at its heart.” It won’t come as a surprise to hear that Simon, John and Margaret agree completely with the blog’s sentiments. Margaret has been busy collecting feedback from podcast listeners around the world and shares an interesting tale involving garter snakes crossing the road. John and Margaret focus on the tiny creatures, on land and in the water, that arguably rule our world…and explain what we can do to help them. They also share their thoughts on a close up slow motion video from Lucy King of a bee landing on a ‘Practically perfect poppy.‘ The team also discuss garden birds and their reliance on water and mention the world famous bird food company www.haiths.com (Simon’s the Associate Director of Haith’s). Talk of ponds reminded Simon of the Maxwell Knight Symposium (2018) and he discussed a piece written about a pond from Maxwell Knight’s unpublished manuscript The Frightened Face of Nature – where the inspiration for the FFON project name heralds – which the team re-enacted at the Symposium, and on the podcast agreed how sad it is that many a village pond has been lost forever. To complete the podcast, the team give their take-home messages and Simon explains the team invitation to young nature enthusiasts, which can be found here. “John and Margaret Cooper. Two Armchair Naturalists who sometimes take their “armchair” out into the field”“John and Margaret Cooper. Two Armchair Naturalists who sometimes take their “armchair” out into the field”Simon H King Recorded Friday 19th June at 19.00. Podcast edited by Edward King.
36 minutes | a year ago
Podcast episode 5 – “Where have all the flowers gone”
Podcast episode 5 Simon, John and Margaret’s theme for today’s podcast is “Wildlife – Interactions and Relationships.” The FFON (www.ffon.co.uk) team discuss John and Margaret’s recent blog post about their delightful village lane and how things took a turn for the worst (as far as nature was concerned) when they were confronted with a “Grass Cutting” sign. Also, John encourages Armchair Naturalists to ‘linger and look’ in more detail at nature whilst Margaret, as always, shares messages from around the world. The team discuss ‘AntBoy’s’ good work and play a short snippet of his YouTube video (thanks, Xander Johnston – AKA “AntBoy”) plus play Joan Baez’s – “Where Have All The Flowers Gone“. “John and Margaret Cooper. Two Armchair Naturalists who sometimes take their “armchair” out into the field”“John and Margaret Cooper. Two Armchair Naturalists who sometimes take their “armchair” out into the field”Simon H King Recorded Wednesday 3rd June at 19.00. Podcast edited by Edward King.
37 minutes | a year ago
Podcast episode 4 – ‘Don’t keep your natural history to yourself’
Simon, John and Margaret’s theme for today’s podcast is “Records and Rapport”. But first, they share messages from a variety of places including India, the Caribbean, Scotland and a safari company based in East Africa. “John and Margaret Cooper. Two Armchair Naturalists who sometimes take their “armchair” out into the field”“John and Margaret Cooper. Two Armchair Naturalists who sometimes take their “armchair” out into the field”Simon H King Recorded Wednesday 6th May at 19.00. Podcast edited by Edward King. Episode show notes: Since recording the podcast, The Map’s Edge safari company (East Africa) kindly sent us a few photos and a link to their YouTube channel. Photos courtesy of The Map’s Edge safari company (East Africa) See http://www.maps-edge.com to see what you’re missing or, email email@example.com for more information about their unique offering.
31 minutes | a year ago
3 – “The Four (Changing) Seasons”
Episode 3 of The Armchair Naturalists Podcast Simon, John and Margaret’s theme for today’s podcast is “The Four (Changing) Seasons”. They take a look at spring in terms of natural history – referring to Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” – and then discuss the ever-present art and science connection. But first, we discuss the increasing numbers of FFON readers and contributors. Blogs we refer to: “Wooing the birds” – Beatrice Bray “A more optimistic long view of our place in nature” – Dr Valerie Jeffries. “From a friend in Kinross-shire, Scotland” – Author undisclosed. “Our feeders are a magnet for the sparrows and the hawk.” – Graham Wellstead “Over 1 in 10 UK species faces a real risk of extinction” – Oliver Cottis. International Dawn Chorus Day 2020 bird song recording – Recorded by Simon King. Nature notes from “our Care Home Correspondent” – anonymous. Helen Jeffries and her “London in lockdown” blogs such as “Tales from the Riverbank” And we mentioned a new way readers / contributors / listeners can get involved via the FFON website page entitled “Can our readers help?” – we’re looking for wise owls to answer some of the questions the FFON team receive and we invite YOU to get involved. Stay safe; keep well. Simon, John and Margaret. Podcast edited by Edward King
14 minutes | a year ago
International Dawn Chorus Day 2020
Recorded at 5 am from the Lincolnshire Wolds, UK Lincolnshire, UK International Dawn Chorus Day is a super opportunity to celebrate nature – specifically birdsong, and what a symphony it was this morning at 5 am. On the first Sunday in May, people from all around the world throw off the bed covers and head outside to tune in to the beautiful sound of tweeting birds. This year’s Dawn Chorus Day will be a day to remember, of course, because of the current lock-down situation and – although I may have imagined it – the birds seemed brighter and sharper than usual, but I’ll let you be the judge of that. Stay safe; keep well. Simon King FLS
27 minutes | a year ago
2 – What’s going on out there?
Episode 2 of The Armchair Naturalists Podcast, for easy-going naturalists. Episode notes: Simon, John and Margaret’s theme for today is “Resources and help for Armchair Naturalists” and they take a look at the useful equipment for natural history, but not before discussing the exciting comings and goings of wildlife during the international lockdowns. Please visit http://www.ffon.co.uk to find out more about our ‘Armchair Naturalists’ project or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. Thanks for listening and make time and space for nature. Show notes and links: For all your garden bird feeding needs visit www.haiths.com and useful garden bird ID page at https://www.haiths.com/shop-by-bird/ Many natural history and biological organisations are providing information, species identification and activities for the unprecedented circumstances of the Coronavirus Lockdown 2020. While these are often devised to entertain and educate families, they can be fun and informative regardless of age, ability and location. Participation in citizen science projects is also rewarding. Information, identification and activities are available on the following websites and many others. Linnean Society of London Indoor and outdoor activities during the coronavirus lockdown https://www.linnean.org/learning/at-home Special species competition – invent your own new species and name it! https://www.linnean.org/learning/special-species-competition Plantlife https://www.plantlife.org.uk/ Recording wild flower https://www.plantlife.org.uk/wildflowerhunt/ Identification sheets to download https://www.plantlife.org.uk/uk/discover-wild-plants-nature/spotter-sheets Butterfly Conservation https://butterfly-conservation.org Various participatory surveys and recording Identify a butterfly https://butterfly-conservation.org/butterflies/identify-a-butterfly Identification chart to download https://butterfly-conservation.org/sites/default/files/garden_butterflies_chart.pdf British Trust for Ornithology https://www.bto.org/ Bird identification videos https://www.bto.org/develop-your-skills/bird-identification Buglife https://www.buglife.org.uk/ Identify bugs https://www.buglife.org.uk/bugs/bug-directory/ bumblebee Conservation Trust https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/identify-a-bumblebee/ Bee identification https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/identify-a-bumblebee/ Margaret E Cooper 24 April 2020
33 minutes | a year ago
1 – It’s a great time to be an ‘Armchair Naturalist’
Episode notes: Simon, John and Margaret launch The ‘Armchair Naturalists’ podcast and discuss the art and science of natural history, and they encourage everyone to get involved and explore the natural world – even if that’s only possible from the comfort of an armchair. Please visit http://www.ffon.co.uk to find out more about our ‘Armchair Naturalists’ project or email email@example.com with any questions. Thanks for listening and make time for nature. Show notes and links:
1 minutes | a year ago
When the traffic stops…
We can hear what’s always been there: birdsong.
1 minutes | a year ago
New Podcast Trailer
Launching soon: The ‘Armchair Naturalists’ Podcast A new podcast, from the co-founders of popular natural history blog The Frightened Face of Nature (FFON). https://thefrightenedfaceofnature.com/ Join Simon H King FLS plus one of the world’s leading veterinary experts, Prof. John E Cooper, and wildlife lawyer, Margaret E Cooper and occasional special guests. Together, we’ll help you get through the coronavirus outbreak and impending isolation sessions. Never have we needed nature more. Long periods of isolation will test everyone’s willpower, but turning our attention to the natural world’s comings and goings this spring will help guide us through the unchartered territory we find ourselves in. Are you ready to join us and your fellow ‘armchair naturalists’? Are you ready to become an ‘armchair naturalist’? Sponsored by Haith’s the bird food specialists – http://www.haiths.com Transcript: Hi, I’m Simon King and this is the ‘armchair naturalists’ podcast for people like you who love the natural world. Actually, it’s the trailer for the ‘armchair naturalists’ podcast. And we start soon so find a comfy armchair, sit back and put your faith in nature. Never have we needed nature more than now. Long periods of isolation will test everyone’s willpower but turning our attention to the natural world’s comings and goings this spring will help guide us through unchartered territory and beat the coronavirus. Being isolated can be a wonderful opportunity to observe Nature through the window. ‘A good “armchair naturalist” will spot the first Spring butterflies and bumblebees and possibly hear the first chiff-chaff. Be sure to join me and – from time to time – special guests including world-leading veterinary pathologist Professor John E Cooper and his wife, wildlife lawyer Margaret Cooper who are both life-long naturalists and have many wonderful tales to tell. Are you ready to become an ‘armchair naturalist’ and beat coronavirus isolation with nature’s help?
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