Ellesmere herons race for survival

  • 26 May 2015
  • From the section England
Herons on a nest in Ellesmere
A colony of about 25 pairs of herons nest at Ellesmere

Herons are recognisable birds and many of us will have seen one launching gracefully into the air from the edge of a river. They tend to fly fairly slowly, retracting their long necks into a distinctive s-shape while airborne.

Since we often see them in the distance you may be surprised to learn just how big they really are.

After the swan they are our largest common bird, standing a metre tall with a wingspan that can be twice that. You only really get a sense of their size if you can get close to one.

And this week for Springwatch on BBC Midlands Today that's just what I was able to do.

'Huge gamble'

I went to Ellesmere Heronwatch in Shropshire to get up close with one of my favourite birds. The project allows visitors to see right inside the heronry itself and it's currently celebrating its 25th birthday!

Read full article Ellesmere herons race for survival

Goodbye from BBC Reality Check

  • 6 May 2015
  • From the section England

We hope you have found our BBC Reality Check service useful over the course of the campaign, and before we go, here are some final questions you have sent in via social media.

Did Labour bankrupt the country?

Christopher Oxford tweeted: "Mr Cameron has repeatedly claimed that Labour 'bankrupted the country'. Is this in any way true?"

Twitter screen grab

Read full article Goodbye from BBC Reality Check

Reality Check: 'Health tourism' under spotlight

  • 24 April 2015
  • From the section England
Hospital corridor
"Health tourism" could cost the NHS £200m a year, according to government figures

One of my friends is moving to a new job in another European country.

He has a repeat prescription for medication and he went to see his doctor to ask for some extra pills to tide him over while he sorted things out in his new job.

Read full article Reality Check: 'Health tourism' under spotlight

Getting behind the political soundbites

  • 10 April 2015
  • From the section England
Dr David Gregory Kumar
I've been looking into politicians' claims ahead of the election

It's the end of my first week working for BBC Reality Check.

I've popped up all over the BBC discussing numbers and statistics and how politicians use them and I've learned a lot too.

Read full article Getting behind the political soundbites

Baby boom brings barn owls back from the brink

  • 6 February 2015
  • From the section England
Molly, a rescue barn owl
Barn owl numbers have been in decline but what can be done to help?

I love barn owls.

The little owl may be more adorable and the eagle owl more impressive but watching a pale barn owl floating silently across the fields is one of the UK's nature wonders.

Read full article Baby boom brings barn owls back from the brink

West Midlands medic trials sugar remedy

  • 9 January 2015
  • From the section England
Moses Murandu
Moses Murandu is a senior lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton

Can ordinary sugar be used to heal wounds that haven't responded to years of traditional treatment?

It's an extraordinary idea, but one I've been tracking for five years now. And it all started with a man called Moses Murandu.

Read full article West Midlands medic trials sugar remedy

University of Birmingham water fleas in space

  • 19 December 2014
  • From the section England

Water fleas taken from a pond at the University of Birmingham have been selected for a space mission.

The idea is to see how they react to life in space on the International Space Station (ISS).

Read full article University of Birmingham water fleas in space

Mysterious starling murmuration secrets unlocked?

  • 29 October 2014
  • From the section England
Starlings
Murmurations can involve up to 50,000 birds or more

A starling murmuration is an extraordinary sight.

Seen at dusk the sky darkens as thousands of birds flock to form complex shapes overhead - the only sound the beating of thousands of pairs of wings and the soft splot of droppings meaning a visit to the car wash and an umbrella if you get up close.

Read full article Mysterious starling murmuration secrets unlocked?

Farm subsidies: does the CAP still fit for farmers?

  • 24 October 2014
  • From the section England
Farmer at work
It's hard to get on with your job without a clear idea of how the new Common Agricultural Policy will work

I do love a big pile of data and frankly they don't get bigger than farmsubsidy.org.

It's a website run by the European Fund for Investigative Journalism that allows you to search for cash paid out from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Read full article Farm subsidies: does the CAP still fit for farmers?

Are urban badgers a problem or a boon to city life?

  • 30 September 2014
  • From the section England
Peter Wall's garden
The badgers have found larvae and insects underneath the turf

So, badgers have invaded a garden in a Birmingham suburb and done a fair bit of damage to what should be a nice piece of lawn.

Owner Peter Wall got in touch with BBC Midlands Today, and he is certainly unhappy.

Read full article Are urban badgers a problem or a boon to city life?