29 May 2015

30 Days Wild

This June, can you do something wild every day for a month? ask The Wildlife Trusts.   They have set a month-long challenge taking place during June, asking people to do something wild every day thereby making nature part of everyday life.

Sounds like a wonderful idea so we (that being the royal we) signed up, and promptly had a mild freak out about finding something new and different to do every day.  Bearing in mind we're out and about at least once a day and are surrounded by the wonderful North York Moors the thought of having to find something new each day was a scary one.  Then the challenge pack arrived.  It's full of fantastic ideas and suggestions and after reading through it all we banished the idea of adding to or creating a 'life-time' list or a spotters check-list. So here we are only a few days before it starts, keen and raring to go.  We've created a blog specifically for the challenge which we aim to update, if not daily, then several times a week, there's a dedicated flickr stream too.
If you'd like to join us in the challenge find out more and sign up here.

Today, to give us an extra incentive and make us feel like wimps for freaking out over 30 days the John Muir Trust have published the story of Hannah Norton, one of their award participants, who has taken time for nature not just for a month but a whole year, clocking up a staggering 502 hours and 48 minutes of wild time.  The incredible achievement was brought to the attention of Robert Hanna - John Muir's great-great-grandson - who sent Hannah a personal message of congratulations. More here.

26 May 2015

Now published: CJS Focus on Marine & Coastal Environments in association with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS)

Our first look at this section of the sector runs to 16 pages in total. Marine Conservation Society (MCS) lead with an article on marine pollution, they describe some of this year’s initiatives to try and tackle the problem including beach cleans and the Plastic Challenge in June. The article also details some of the recent published scientific studies in to marine plastic litter. Bass Rock is home to the largest Northern gannet colony in the world; Maggie Sheddan from the Scottish Seabird Centre explains why it is the perfect habitat and a bit about the lives of the gannets on the rock. Paul Naylor takes photos of marine species and environments in a bid to highlight British marine life, hear about the work he does as part of marinephoto.co.uk. Dorset Wildlife Trust talks about Studland Bay’s seagrass meadows, the species they support and how important the threatened habitat is. Seawatch Foundation has been involved in marine mammal monitoring for over 40 years; they describe how important monitoring is to conservation efforts and how to get involved. Steart Marshes is a recent wetland creation by the Wildfowl & Wetland Trust; Marks Simpson details its creation, the issues encountered and the already evident benefits reaped from this newly created habitat, and the management of a coast path is something South West Coast Path National Trail Partnership know all about, they write about some of the issues encountered. This edition also includes adverts for projects, websites, services and training. Read it here 

19 May 2015

Are you developing the next generation of employees? What skills do you need?

Why are we asking these seemingly random questions?

This week is Learning at Work Week.  Which is all about highlighting the importance of learning and development supporting all opportunities to learn.
It's all organised by the Campaign for Learning, the first event was in 1999 when it was a single day.

Each year has a theme and this year it is "Shaping our future" looking at the vital role of learning and development in creating resilient workplaces that look to the future.  Countryside staff are by the very nature of their jobs looking to the future in one way or another. Pretty much everyone who works in the countryside knows that a ten year plan is a short term one! (even when it turns out to be an essential if aspirational one -  what with current funding strictures) we don't plant trees expecting today them to be full size tomorrow. But how does this forward looking focus affect the staff and your team when it comes to learning at work?
The Learning at Work week website has highlights of a few specific areas to focus on for this year's theme and has ideas on how to implement them.
The one that strikes us as being of particular relevance to the countryside sector is Developing the future workforce: building links with groups and organisations outside the main business to help develop the next generation employees (volunteers anyone?); offer activities "designed to engage and inspire employees to learn" sounds like a corporate volunteer day (offer your services?) and of course "Promote opportunities for employees to develop their roles and careers within the organisation"  (sounds like CPD). CJS can help with that one, look at our Training Directory to find courses that will do just that or to refresh current certifications.

Our Training Directory has over a thousand listings for short courses not to mention those for longer courses and providers and is updated weekly (sometimes more frequently), searchable by date, location, type etc.
And just in case your office is need of a Team Building exercise see our list of voluntary organisations, and if you're not on there then why not? Send us the details it's free - of course it is, it's CJS!

15 May 2015

Have you? We have.

And (at the time of writing) so have at least 84 thousand others. Join us and them in telling the European Commission to keep the Habitats and Birds Directives in place so they carry on protecting our wildlife and natural places which all depend on these important pieces of legislation.  The Commission is asking for our views and opinions on these laws so now is time to stand up for nature and take a few minutes letting the Eurocrats know how we feel about these vital statues.
To make it easier a group of 100 voluntary organisations from across the UK have done most of the hard work for you, just click through, fill in your details and that's it you're done (here:https://www.naturealert.eu/en).  It really is as simple as that  - assuming you agree with the pre-written answers although if you'd like to write your own, you go for it! you can do that here: https://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/EUNatureDirectives
If you have more than a passing knowledge of the directives completing the survey on the EC Europa site means you have the option to complete a second more in-depth analysis of the directives.

There are details of what's going on in our news (you may need to track back a day or two) and of course we'll keep an eye on the situation and eventually bring you the results of the survey and reactions.

As we're thinking about nature in all its glory here are few phenological notes for you: the swifts have returned, last weekend, AW has seen the first bracken crooks (already 4" high) on the moor and her father-in-law reports an osprey flying over, a house on the moor edge has owls in the owl nesting box for the first time in 12 or so years (one chick from a clutch of three), the lords-and-ladies that we photographed earlier in the year is now in full flower, and it seems that it will be "oak before ash" which has absolutely nothing to do with El-Nino!

And finally another monster edition of CJS Weekly has gone to press, 30 pages again this week with adverts for 74 jobs and 17 for volunteers plus the training calendar of courses and events occurring in July.  Another week like this and we'll published 1500 adverts since January! If you don't want to miss out you'll need to subscribe.

14 May 2015

CJS Professional: May edition, 47 pages!

The latest edition of CJS Professional is now online, read it in full here: www.countryside-jobs.com/Professional/current.htm   You may need to refresh your browser.

Jobs advertised in this Month's edition:
Community Woodland Officer – Northern Region, Woodland Trust (Home based, North)
Experienced Forester / General Estate Worker, Downton Hall Estate (near Ludlow, Shrops)
Wildlife & Conservation Co-ordinator, The Donkey Sanctuary (Sidmouth, Devon)
Regional Managers - North East, South East and South West Region, Scottish Land & Estates
Manager - Spurn Gateway, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Community Engagement & Interpretation Officer, Northumberland County Council
Community Engagement & Heritage Education Officer, Northumberland County Council
Catering and Visitor Services Officer - Spurn, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Senior Horticulturist (Arboriculture), The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Partnership Warden (Wildlife Survey),         White Cliffs Countryside Partnership (Dover District Council)
Brecks Reserves Manager, Norfolk Wildlife Trust
Trainee Ranger, Hart District Council
Ecologist, The Ecology Consultancy
Technical Officer (Biodiversity and Trees Technical Support), Hart District Council
Ranger (Shepway), White Cliffs Countryside Partnership (Dover District Council)
Nature Reserve Warden, FCC Environment (Warrington, Cheshire)
Amphibian Surveyor, Heritage Environmental Ltd (Scottish Central Belt)
Barriers Programme Officer,  Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland
River Projects Officer, Shropshire Wildlife Trust
Ranger, the National Trust for Scotland (Culzean Castle & Country Park)
The Black to Green Project Manager, The National Forest (centred on Moira, Donisthorpe and the Ashby Woulds, Derbyshire)
The Black to Green Outreach Officer , The National Forest (Derbyshire)
The Black to Green Community Engagement Officer,  Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, joint post with The National Forest
Countryside Management Lecturer/ Course Manager X 1.5, Kingston Maurward College

CJS Notices
Last chance to advertise in CJS Focus on Marine and Coastal Environments
Quick survey of CountrysideNews followers on twitter

Top headlines from the past month: Click here to read

Training Calendar for July is 6 pages Click here to read

If you run training courses or events for likeminded countryside professionals please send details to Helen on training@countryside-jobs.com  or feel free to recommend providers and we'll contact

12 May 2015

Put your best foot forward.

It's walk to work week.

Which is particularly apt as today the Stroke Association reveals a dramatic increase in the number of working age people being admitted to hospital with strokes and in reaction sustrans calls for an increase in investment in walking and cycling.

A rural life (and office)

One of the joys of living in the 'middle of nowhere' (almost but not really) means you're never short of somewhere beautiful to walk, two minutes from my front door and you're up on the wonderful North York Moors, less for AW who's further out and has the moors literally outside the garden gate.  However, it does mean that to get anywhere requires a very long walk or a vehicle, the nearest small shops are four miles away and over a thousand feet in altitude to climb and descend again.  The CJS office is in the village meaning that I'm out one door and in another and HB is within walking distance (five minutes or longer depending on how many times she's stopped on route!), AW is within the parish but only walks when it's knee deep in snow - sucker for punishment. Everyone else is several miles over the moor and has to deal with that altitude.  Which means that we can't really take part in the walk to work week without adding several hours to our journey times - but that doesn't mean that we're not using our feet.  All of us have highly active lives outside of the office (see Pet month for the reason!) however sitting a computer for up to eight hours at a time is not good for anyone but AW can be particularly statue like and on more than one occasion we've threatened to turn off the electricity to her work station.  A report out in March showing that office workers need to move around more  during the day to prevent health problems really struck home. Walking desks sound lovely but not particularly easy to install.

Alternatives to walking to work

Lunchtime means dog walking, my pack of office dogs are thoroughly enjoying the extra outings, taking it in turns to be 'borrowed' for a stroll, Hebe and AW go for a short run (see, she really is a sucker for punishment!); Dido and Hester prefer a more sensible brisk walk through the village, hoovering up as many dropped sandwiches and ice creams as they can as they go.
Although taking part in walking to work week is not really an option they have some wonderful suggestions for other ways to get active.  See here for suggestions.
We particularly like the idea of a walking meeting, AW & I think we might start doing this as we plan out the next Focus edition(s), as long as it's not windy enough to make our notes into kites or confetti.  Perhaps the office dogs could take notes as we walk - or least retrieve any that do get dropped or blown away! (Details about Walking meetings here)

Here are our top tips for getting up out of that chair:

  1. walk (or cycle) to work
  2. if it is sensible to do so then leave your lunch in the car (not a good idea for perishables!) so you have to go and get it or take a walk and buy it from the shop at the other end of the street not the one next door
  3. stand up when you answer the phone
  4. put in-trays and printers just out of arm's reach - you have to stand up
  5. go and talk to colleagues - don't email them
  6. use a networked printer in another part of the building
  7. And don't forget to walk the dog at lunchtime

30 April 2015

For National Pet Month introductions all round!

 Meet Limonie
The newest team (almost) member.  She's a Podenco, a spanish hunting dog.  TB has adopted her all the way from Spain which means she's feeling the cold in our not exactly scorching spring and is loving cuddling up in her new blankets. We're thinking of printing a notice for the side of the car "This dog is not cooking, she comes from Spain and basks in the heat"!  Things might change if / when we get some proper summer.  So far the only time she's been seen panting is after she's spent a happy half hour chasing rabbits in TBs fields!

As it's been National Pet Month and we had a new introduction to make we thought it only right that everyone else got in on the act, so here's our (not so little as it turns out) menagerie!

From fish

through chickens (of all ages!) and geese
to horses and goats; all TBs and the goats are rare breed Golden Guernseys.

and Tony the Tortoise

And last but by no means least the dogs
Team Member dogs

office dogs:
 All creatures great and small welcome in this mad house!
(except cats growls Hebe)

27 April 2015

Don't miss out on a monster CJS....

Weekly newsletter that is, running to 29 pages this week.
Heavens above it's the largest edition for over five years.

Over 1600 adverts for jobs* since January plus over 220 adverts for volunteers
* that's proper paid jobs, once with a salary above basic wage.

We knew we were busy...
With CJS Weekly usually more that 20 pages most weeks but this is exceptional, as usual it's full of adverts for jobs, volunteers, nine pages of news and this week details of work days.

To celebrate this fantastic edition we are giving it to you totally free. 
Download your copy (pdf) here.

And not only that if you subscribe this week to the email edition we will add four issues totally free to your initial subscription.  This means you can double your subscription! to get your four free weeks simply put April Offer in the "message for CJS" box when you check out.

* rules: this offer is only valid until 3pm Thursday 30 April and only for email subscriptions.

24 April 2015

A sense of community.

Over the weekend a gate on a path I use infrequently was pulled to but not properly closed, I fastened it behind me and thought no more about it. The field in question has ewes and lambs and I'm walking through bit more than usual to check that my pups (they're nearly two so how I can call them pups I'm not sure!) are still fine with stock  - thankfully they are, looking at the sheep and pointedly looking away, phew. I noticed that the gate was a little stiff and slammed it shut. However, on the third occasion in a week when it wasn't properly closed I had a good look and found that it had dropped a little on its hinges which is why the bolt is not catching closed properly.  That evening I phoned the farmer whose stock is in the field to ask if he knew about the gate, as it turns out he didn't and was grateful for the information, he'll check it on his way past later and no doubt do some running repairs.

This week HB's brother has been out on his first 'proper' shout as a fireman.  He's been away on the training course, come home with all his gear (thanks sis for ironing it all for me), been to practice sessions and helped with one small incident but the other evening his alerter went off for the first time; he bolted out and ran from home to the station (100 yards approx) but as he started getting ready he realised he was nervous and that for all his training nothing prepares you for the real thing.
Goathland has a volunteer fire crew and they tried to get the Guinness record for the smallest fire station.

The phone has been ringing red hot with people reporting their firsts and hoping they will be the first to see / hear and that it will be their sighting that makes it into the Rural Ramblings column in the Parish Magazine, we have blackthorn, horse chestnut buds, swallows, house martins and cuckoo all recorded so far, we've had to let many people know that their first is not actually a first for the village this year.  Our BTO man reports that his new owl and kestrel boxes are unoccupied but he's hoping for residents next year.  The churchwarden tells us of a visiting blackcap and everyone is commenting on the number of moles throughout the village and the hares in the 'back fields'.  Yesterday's Village Lunch was full of talk of the new 'Natters and Nibbles' meetup in the Village Hall and concern for a 92 year old resident who is poorly again.

So why did I phone the farmer, HB's brother volunteer to be a fireman, people phone with nature sightings, share the news about an ailing neighbour?

It's all part and parcel of living in a small slightly isolated village which adds to or sometimes even instills that sense of community, there are times when the only people you can rely on are your neighbours which is a wonderful thing but just don't expect to keep anything a secret for long!

21 April 2015

It's that time of year.

Spring has sprung!
Dwarf daffodils and corydalis
I've heard the first chiff-chaff, seen the first butterflies (small tortoiseshells), watched the first swallow in the field, had a jar of rescued frogspawn sitting on the doorstep.  Most of us see and note these things and many also report them to Nature's Calendar as part of the Woodland Trust's great phenology project tracking the seasons.
Lots of other surveys are starting up for the summer season as well, within the last few weeks  we had details of several  in our news round up, there were Easter bunnies (well, hares and rabbits actually), East Anglian bats, Cornish basking sharks.

Send details of what you've seen.
People need records of not just the cute, cuddly and unusual but also the potentially dangerous in the form of invasive species for example quagga mussels or asian hornets and also things that simply shouldn't be there like small plastic pellets known as nurdles.
We keep details of many of the ongoing surveys like these on the website, you'll find them in the volunteering section, the page is Surveys and Fieldwork, find it here.

Do you take part in the RSPB's Great Garden Bird Watch in January? There are other similar surveys going on all year round, some to do at home and other more organised events like BioBlitz to join. You find details of these too.

Do you need records or run events?
If you're running a survey or organising an event like these we'd be delighted to add the details to the page, 50 listings are free (yet another free service from CJS!).  If you know of a survey or event that you think we should be listing but isn't there please send us the details and we'll check it out.

Volunteering is popular and much needed.
So much so that our volunteering section has got so large that we've split one of the the main pages into two separate ones.  You'll now find full or part-time placements in the same place as before: here But we've moved what we call Regular volunteers, those where you're needed for a day once a month or an hour or two once a week, these are now here.
Both pages are subdivided as well, the Placements page is broken up according to what you'll be doing whereas the Regular volunteering page is split according to geography, under the usual Regions that we use elsewhere.

17 April 2015

Dark Skies and missing sheep.

It's been dark skies week 
We're fortunate enough to have plenty of dark skies which makes for wonderful star gazing, particularly in the winter under those amazing high pressure clear but cold nights.  We are slightly affected by the orange glow of Teesside in the west and the 24/7 illumination from RAF Fylingdales to the north east of the village.  I've been hoping all last week and this that we'll get a nice clear night to catch some of it on film (pixels if I'm honest!) but it never happened so you'll have to make do with this stock shot instead.
Milky Way, via Unsplash
"it's rather dark"
Years ago a city-dwelling friend from uni was coming stay for the weekend, I collected her from our nearest railway station (Malton, 20 miles away). We stayed in town for a meal before going home, she was chattering away quite happily but as we began to leave the town behind the conversation became a little more sporadic until after crossing the A64 and heading into open country she shut up completely. I asked if she was OK, "it's rather dark" was all she said!  She'd never before been anywhere that didn't have street lights, over the weekend she got used to the darkness and began to enjoy the night skies but struggled with the countryside night-time noises of owls and sheep.

Talking of which (sheep not owls) it's the time of year when the moor sheep are gathered in for lambing.  AW's in-law's farm, has an extensive stray (the area of common land the sheep graze) and the ewes sometimes wander down into the village to help themselves to bits of garden shrubbery overhanging walls and fences and the odd ice cream donated by stunned tourists. When they'd gathered their flock back in they found they were a dozen missing and asked anyone to let them know if they saw any in the village.  Sure enough the next morning there were three loitering around the bins on the car park and a couple heading off towards school.
Here's sheepdog Ten at Morton Close watching the flock.
A sheep's a sheep right? 
So how do you know which belong to which farmer? Simple they're all marked with different coloured stock marker paint - a greasy, waterproof dye which today is sprayed on the sheep, the office team remember it in battered tin cans being applied by hand.  Morton Close (AW's in-laws) have a red splodge of paint on the back of the neck, Friar's House Farm have the same spot but it's green, Liberty Hall has a red stripe across the middle. The mark is for the stray and is linked to the farm not the farmer or shepherd.  With so many farms and originally a limited range of colours not to mention part of a sheep to colour some of the marks could be quite inventive, Hill Farm no longer have sheep but theirs was officially a red crow's foot on the right hip / top of leg although it often looked more like an arrow or even a hand print!

16 April 2015

The latest edition of CJS Professional is now online, read it in full here: www.countryside-jobs.com/Professional/current.htm   You may need to refresh your browser.

Jobs advertised in this Month's edition:
Project Co-ordinator (hands on), Nimrod Environmental (Barnsley)
Community Gardener, Harmeny School (Balerno, Edinburgh)
Ranger (South), Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
Forestry Manager, Treelands (Southern England)
Ornithological Field Surveyors, ACE Surveyors (Scotland)
Survey Assistant (Casual), Bats, Angela Graham Bat Consultancy Service Ltd (Manchester)
Senior Ecologist, PV Ecology Ltd (Winchester)
Gardener, Clan Donald Skye
Forestry Manager, Treelands (Scotland)
South Humber Warden, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust
Head Ranger, National Trust for Scotland (Mar Lodge)
Field Assistant, Ecology Solutions (Southern England)
2 Seasonal Rangers, Babergh & Mid Suffolk District Councils
Estate Gardener / Ranger, Harmeny School (Balerno, Edinburgh)
Field Studies Tutors, The Cranedale Centre (Malton, N Yorkshire)
Clerk to the Board of Conservators & Finance Officer, Conservators of Ashdown Forest

Other adverts:
One week course in Corsica, Operation New World
Training Bursary from the Dry Stone Walling Association in the North West

CJS Notices
Do you read our blog?
British Wildlife Photography Awards, final call. Entries close at midnight on 1 May.
CJS Focus on Marine & Coastal Environments
The lead article from Marine Conservation Society will focus on marine litter and the damage it can do to the marine environment. The South West Coast Path Association talks about coastal path management & WWT about coastal wetlands. Seawatch Foundation describes how important marine monitoring is to conservation and Scottish Seabird Centre explains why Bass Rock is so important to gannets.  
This edition will be published on Monday 25 May, included with CJS Weekly on Friday 22 May and in full in the June edition of CJS Professional on Thursday 11 June.  Send us your details here, and remember you can advertise free of charge (it's limited but it's free!). Deadline is a strict 15 May.

Top headlines from the past month: Click here to read

Training Calendar for June is 5 pages Click here to read

If you run training courses or events for likeminded countryside professionals please send details to Helen on training@countryside-jobs.com  or feel free to recommend providers and we'll contact them to include their courses (you're not committing yourself or them to anything, and like most things with CJS it's free!)

09 April 2015

I didn't know you did that!

What sort of jobs do you think Countryside Jobs Service advertises?

Countryside Rangers, of course; Countryside Officers, Rights of Way and arboricultural posts,  yes, those too.  But what about Volunteers Co-ordinators or Ecologists, did you know you'll find those too?  CJS actually advertises a lot more that you first think.

Every year we collate basic details of the adverts we've published; mostly for use in the office and some for inclusion in our information to readers and advertisers. Last year's numbers show that we advertised for more ranger type jobs than anything else, no surprise there! However the next two biggest categories were for jobs in arboriculture and ecology closely followed by trainee / apprenticeships with more than 250 posts in each group and over 200 working in environmental education. In our 2013 subscribers survey you asked for more horticulture jobs and to include outdoor activities instructors and working with animals and wildlife (zoos and similar) so we started including those making these the biggest 'growers' in terms of numbers of vacancies as we started sourcing more of these types of roles.  5.6% of our advertised vacancies were for horticultural jobs, 3.1% for outdoor activities and 2.6% for wildlife work, what's particularly pleasing for us is that you've obviously been applying for these and impressing the employers because now nearly half of the animal work jobs come direct to CJS and over a quarter of the outdoor activities and horticulture roles.  Which will please you too because it will mean that we get more of these sorts of adverts.

You can see the range of vacancies and the number of roles advertised in a nice neat table here.  And it's probably a greater range than you originally thought.

As it turns out it's more than some of advertisers thought too!.

One of our regular advertisers phoned to ask if we'd consider advertising an Environmental Education officer post and was quite surprise when we said that they account for over 6% of our total adverts.  It's the regular advertisers that sometimes lose sight of the width of CJS, we've made a note that we must include more details in our next advertisers information pack and when it's published make sure that every advertiser receives a copy - whether they read it or not is another matter!

This graph shows the number of roles advertised and the proportion of each group sent direct to CJS.
Despite our advertisers slight confusion over 60% of all adverts are sent direct to CJS, the remainder are sourced from national press, specialist publications and from over a 1000 individual company and council websites checked twice weekly, it's a mammoth task.
As you'd expect our best known areas have the higher proportion of direct adverts, 81% of roles for rangers came direct to CJS, 70% of rights of way vacancies and 65% Countryside Officer type posts. What's maybe surprising is that we also have high proportions of direct adverts for ecologists, researchers (mostly field workers), community involvement project work and environmental education officers.

As we continue to analyse the data from last year there will be more reports to follow, on geographical distribution and types of contracts offered.

NB: Data is across the whole of CJS not just online adverts. To gain access to all of these vacancies you need to subscribe to CJS Weekly, more information on that here.

07 April 2015

Easter Eggs!

  • Want to look around the Tardis?
  • Fancy a quick game of snake?
  • Or maybe a spot of dragon slaying?

We're not down the wrong trouser leg of time again these are all little bits of inside joke geekery carefully hidden in everyday computer programmes and we've been on an Easter Egg hunt.

One of my favourite Easter eggs was inside an early version of excel, if you pressed the right buttons in the right order your spreadsheet disintegrated (not really) in front of your eyes and you were piloting your own ship (be it Enterprise or Millennium Falcon) through space, another sequence of buttons gave you hyperspace and Escape, of course, allowed you to escape back to the humdrum reality of complex mathematical formulae or boring simple data entry.  Microsoft had lots of them but the boring people made them get rid of them claiming that the additional code made the 'files bloat' in other words get too big and slow them down. So they replaced them with silly paper clips instead! (no, I'm not writing a letter and neither do I want your help). 

The frivolity batten has been passed to Google, quite apt with their helter skelter slides in place of stairways.
So here are a few of theirs, type into their search box Do a Barrell Roll to get the page do a complete somersault, or askew to make it slant off sideways and they've got round the abandoned blink tag to make every tag on the page wink at you.
Firefox has a friendly robot (don't bite his bottom, as if anyone would even consider it!), find him at about:robots (in firefox obviously, won't work on safari or with other metals) and also a weirdly unsettling apocalyptic tome at about:mozilla apparently Mammon is Microsoft, it changes often and past outpourings are available on wikipedia.

Feeling at a loose end?
Find a playable pacman game by searching for google pacman, it was one of their daily google doodles back in 2010 and still available, so not really an Easter egg but fun nevertheless, their April fool this year of 'real-life' pacman using GPS on maps for mobiles was a doozy too.  Snake is a real Easter egg though, only available in Internet Explorer, so maybe for not much longer, and you need a slow internet connection! It only works whilst your content is buffering, place your cursor in the video window and  press and hold the left arrow and the up arrow to begin the game.
And what about getting a look around the tardis.  This one's a real wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey sort of thing. On google street view stand outside Earl's Court Underground station and there is the Tardis in all it's police boxy glory, press the up arrow on your keyboard and you are sucked into the Tardis. (quick link to the tardis here)

I'm not entirely in favour of dragon slaying, I happen to be very fond of dragons, however in google sheets shift and F12 gives you a little message saying dragon slain. (or at least it used to when I checked before posting this blog it didn't work! so maybe dragonophiles around the web have slain the dragonslayer!!)

And sometimes these easter eggs even make headlines, remember remember the coverage spoof page 46 in apple's terms and conditions for ios7? (no, then read all about it here)

But why easter eggs? apparently it's because you have to hunt for them and like Easter eggs they contain a nice surprise.

BTW: we thoroughly enjoyed the chocolate ones over the weekend! and now it's time to leave the tardis and get on with some real work....
But if you know of any Easter eggs to while away the day do let us know, we're always up for a bit on nonsense - you knew that already didn't you!