Mysteries of murmuration revealed thanks to you

  • 23 November 2015
  • From the section England
Image caption A murmuration can involve millions of starlings

A starling murmuration is an amazing sight.

At their largest you can get millions of birds wheeling about the sky just as the sun starts setting.

But it's a phenomenon we know surprisingly little about.

Last year I reported on work by the University of Gloucestershire and The Royal Society of Biology to change all that with a citizen science murmuration survey. Twelve months on it's time to report back and to launch phase two of this exciting research we can all help with.

Starling murmurations can occur anywhere and that's the problem scientists face if they want to study them. They end up going to sites where they know murmurations will occur, like Brighton pier.

Read full article Mysteries of murmuration revealed thanks to you

Our rarest wetland habitat is disappearing

  • 4 November 2015
  • From the section England
The pools
Image caption The collection of lakes and pools at Upton Warren is known as the Christopher Cadbury Wetland Reserve

Just off junction 5 of the M5 is a collection of lakes and pools known as the Christopher Cadbury Wetland Reserve.

It's one of the most interesting wildlife sites in Worcester, probably the whole country, and all thanks to what is going on deep under the ground.

Read full article Our rarest wetland habitat is disappearing

A bumper sloe season is a good sign for the countryside

  • 2 November 2015
  • From the section England
Sloe berries
Image caption This year's crop of sloe berries are sweeter due to the late September sunshine

It's a bumper year for sloes and our hedgerows are absolutely groaning with them. Good news for wildlife and for those of us who like sloe gin at Christmas.

I don't actually remember sloes from the my childhood. I think in the autumn I was more focused on picking as many blackberries as possible for my mum's delicious crumbles. So I passed over the small black sloes sharing a hedge with the brambles.

Read full article A bumper sloe season is a good sign for the countryside

Rise of the cheap and cheerful warehouse robot

  • 16 October 2015
  • From the section England
Image caption A Guidance Automation robot using University of Birmingham software navigates the warehouse

There's a bit of a dirty secret about robots in the workplace.

They're really expensive and more often than not you have to build the workplace around the robots rather than the staff.

Read full article Rise of the cheap and cheerful warehouse robot

Inside a major chicken processing plant

  • 16 September 2015
  • From the section England
Media captionThe plant is one of the largest in the UK

I've been trying to film at the Cargill poultry plant in Hereford ever since I arrived in this job, which is more years than I care to remember.

When it comes to agriculture in the Midlands the poultry business is the second most valuable slice of our farming pie. It's behind dairy at number one but at £207m it's worth more than wheat, cattle or fruit.

Read full article Inside a major chicken processing plant

Where should you buy a pint of milk to support farmers?

  • 18 August 2015
  • From the section England
A dairy herd of farmer Mike Gorton make their way home for milking at his farm near Macclesfield in Cheshire
Image caption No-one said being an ethical dairy consumer was easy

It is a question plenty of people ask: "I want to support British dairy farmers so where should I get my milk from?"

The answer is a complicated one and it reveals some of the deeper problems everyone is grappling with in the dairy industry.

Read full article Where should you buy a pint of milk to support farmers?

English pine marten caught on film for first time

  • 31 July 2015
  • From the section England
Image caption Dave Pearce’s original picture of an English pine marten taken in Shropshire.

After five years of dedicated searching a pine marten has finally been captured on video in a secret Shropshire location.

We're not allowed to say exactly where as there is intense interest in the discovery. Perhaps most exciting of all, having looked at the footage, there might be more than one of them.

Read full article English pine marten caught on film for first time

The productivity problem that has economists baffled

  • 17 July 2015
  • From the section England
PP Electrical Systems, Walsall
Image caption Workers at PP Electrical Systems have boosted their productivity by 16%.

So I may be science correspondent these days but I was a real research scientist once, and like many of my colleagues in the lab we always took a bit of a dim view of economics.

Not for nothing is it called the dismal science.

Read full article The productivity problem that has economists baffled

Did Michelangelo make these statues?

  • 6 July 2015
  • From the section England
The bronzes
Image caption A group of art experts claimed the bronzes were by Michelangelo in February

These two bronze statues are amazing pieces of art. But what if they were created by Michelangelo?

They would then be the only surviving Michelangelo bronzes we know of anywhere in the world. Well, in February that's what a group of art experts claimed, turning some fantastic pieces of art into something very special indeed.

Read full article Did Michelangelo make these statues?

The ZX Spectrum is back including those spongy keys

  • 2 July 2015
  • From the section England
Computer game
Image caption All those computers in bedrooms gave the British video game industry a huge head start over the rest of the world

He was the Saturday job tea-boy who created a game that sold thousands of copies.

Just one of the success stories from the 1980s home computer boom - and 30 years on, I finally get to meet Nigel Alderton.

Read full article The ZX Spectrum is back including those spongy keys