Unruly hazel

There was a welcome break in the seemingly never ending rain today, so I was eager to get out into nature.

Todays job was to tackle hazel suckers.  They seem to be sprouting out everywhere around the base of this hazel tree. Unfortunately, not only can I not get to the tree but the suckers are smothering out any other plant life and they have become quite unruly.  Looking around I wondered where on earth to start, but I decided to just dive in their and start cutting.

Whilst cutting I was joined by a tame male blackbird who came to see what I was up to and probably to try and get any juicy insects from the exposed areas I was creating.  I also heard a great spotted woodpecker in a fruit tree very near by and squarking and squabbling from a group of magpies that landed for a moment on top of a conifer tree. 20190626_112714.jpg

Carefully I cut back the suckers.  I was aware that on some leaves there were ladybird larvae, flower bugs and sipders so each time I found them, I made sure I put them somewhere safe.  I also saw toads and frogs too, so I made sure that I looked where I was cutting especially near to the ground.

After a few hours I decided to call it a day, as the weather was getting muggy and I was starting to get nipped by mosquitos.  In just a few hours I was happy to see what a difference it made.  I found plants and bulbs that had been hidden from sunlight and uncovered a little pond with a frog staring up at me from the waters edge.

I love being out in nature listening to bird song and getting my hands dirty in the soil. It’s nice to be able to make a difference and hopefully now I have opened up the pond, other wildlife will now benefit from it and enjoy it as much as the little frog.

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Rain, sleep and nature

Can’t believe it’s day 15 of 30 days wild challenge already.  Where has half of the month gone to.  Unfortunately I have spent the last few days in bed with a stomach bug so I haven’t been able to get outside and enjoy nature. (Even if it has been raining heavily none stop)  Though I’ve been tucked up in bed ill, my new duvet has cheered me up as it has a nature theme to it.  I love all the little creatures and wildflowers on it,and it really does make me smile.

It is nice to have a bit of real nature in my bedroom too with my beautiful house plants.  I love my indoor plants.  Its nice to have a bit of greenery indoors and having house plants has many benefits.  They improve your mood, lowers stress levels, helps to reduce blood pressure and improves air quality.  My home wouldn’t be the same without them there. As I haven’t been able to get out into the garden, it’s been calming to have these by my bedside.

Thankfully I have also been able to look out of my window while stuck indoors.  It always lifts my spirits to look out of the window and watch all the birds on my feeders.  I have 5 different feeders all with different types of food in them. (sunflowers, nyjer seed, suet, peanuts, and a seed/mealworm mix)  I counted 18 species of bird and 1 naughty squirrel the other day.  I even saw the adult woodpecker feeding 2 fledglings. They make such lovely “beep” noises and they love nibbling on the peanuts.  

Now I’m feeling much better, I am looking forward to getting outside, even if it’s to just splash in the many puddles left by all the rain we have had.

A plastic free weekend

Saturday was World Ocean Day so I thought it would be good idea to spend this “30 Days wild” weekend looking into more ways of being plastic free.

I went shopping using one of my cotton reusable bags. It folds down to a small size which means it’s great for putting in my pocket or the glove compartment of my car.  I visited my local plastic free shop and bought some plastic free goodies.  I bought some beeswax wraps to use instead of using cling film and a bamboo cutlery set to take on my travels.

I then had lunch at my local chip shop and used my new bamboo knife and fork.  This chip shop is my favourite place to eat out as it only uses sustainable palm oil,  it does what it can to be plastic free and even sells vegan food. 

As it has been raining all weekend, I spent my time looking around my home thinking of others ways I could use less plastics.  It is amazing and very shocking once you start to really look around, how dependent we are on plastic items.  

Today I have started to make a “plastic free plan” though it feels like a minefield in knowing where to start and even more so if you are just starting your path into trying to go plastic free.

Here’s 10 easy ways I started going plastic free which may help others start on their path to cutting down on plastics:

  1. If you use straws how about buying ones made from metal or bamboo so that you can reuse them.
  2. Take reusable bags with you when shopping.  Always make sure you have some in your car or backpack.
  3. Buy some bamboo or metal camping cutlery
  4. Use a reusable cup where you can.
  5. Use a bamboo or other plastic free lunch box or beeswax cloth sandwich wraps.
  6. Buy a reusable drinks bottle instead of buying water in plastic bottles.
  7. Switch to a bamboo toothbrush.
  8. Use containers that you have around the house to store food and other items in, instead of plastic bags.
  9. Recycle what you can.
  10. Start a compost heap in your garden.

    If you have any other great plastic free ideas, I’d love to hear about them.  If you haven’t yet started to reduce plastics, then I hope the above 10 ideas help to set you on the right path.

    Rainy day reading

    Day 7 of 30 Days Wild

    At the beginning of last week I took part in a series of garden watch surveys. These have been mentioned quite often on this years Springwatch and can be found here on the BTO website.  The surveys don’t take long to do and they are so important in helping to understand just how important gardens are to wildlife in the UK.  It doesn’t matter if you have a huge garden or just a balcony, its all important data.

    After completing the surveys I browsed the BTO (The British Trust for Ornithology) website.  It’s a UK bird charity that focuses on understanding bird population changes. They do really important research so I made the decision to join the BTO and become a member.

    This week a parcel arrived in the post and inside was my BTO membership welcome pack. 

    I was so excited to open it and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw what was inside.

    It was full of goodies, useful information, a bookmark and magazines.

    All the rain we have had today has given me a perfect excuse to put my feet up, snuggle under a warm blanket and get some reading done, followed by listening to a CD of bird song

    A day of surprises

    Welcome to day 6 of the 30 Days Wild challenge.  The weather today has been odd. First it started off as a glorious sunny morning, but it wasn’t long before the blue sky turned dark and moody.  It suddenly felt like we had gone back to winter as the heavens opened and down lashed hailstones at high force.  The rest of the day consisted of dark looming clouds and intervals of rain.  Now most people probably run inside where it’s warm and dry but I decided to embrace todays weather and I sat for a bit enjoying the rain cascade over me.  I watched a crane fly take cover under a leaf and an ant scurrying past me to get to a dry safe place.

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    Finally the rains pasted and this afternoon I filled up the bird feeder again.  They are going down so quick with so many birds visiting.  No sooner had I filled up the peanut feeder when our regular great spotted woodpecker came down for a feed.  I love watching him on the feeder, he is such a character and never takes any hassle from the starlings that squabble around him.  Today was different though.  I had to rub my eyes at first as I thought I was seeing double.  There before me was not only the male but his young fledgling.  It was such a beautiful sight to see.  The young woodpecker squeaked so loudly to be fed and fluttered it’s wings to get attention. I don’t think I have ever seen a woodpecker fledgling being fed before and it was an amazing thing to watch.

    If seeing that wasn’t awesome enough I then had a second surprise.  The postman came to the door delivering a parcel for me.  Apparently my fella had decided to buy me a special gift as he loves reading my blogs as well as looking at all the photos that I take.  Eagerly I unwrapped the cardboard box and there i was…

    A Bushnell Natureview Live View wildlife camera.

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    I know I have already got a wildlife camera but this one was special.  It has a live viewer with it.  No longer will I have to guess which direction the camera is facing, narrowly missing out on important shots. I will be able to actually see which spot the camera is pointing at for once.

    I can’t wait to use it and I’m seriously hoping that I may be able to get some footage of the fledgling woodpecker, so fingers crossed.

    The day has been full of surprises and I’m looking forward to seeing what delights tomorrow brings.

     

    Rspb pin badges

    Welcome to day 4 of the 30 Days Wild challenge.  The sky has been grey and the rain has poured down all day so what a good excuse to stay inside warm and dry and figure a new way of storing my ever increasing collection of RPSP pin badges.

    I have run out of space where I used to store them and now I have 2 new beautiful badges to add to my collection so I had to put my thinking cap on.

     

    I came across an old 4 ring A4 folder that I thought might work.  Eagerly I tried putting the card sleeves in and they looked like a reasonable fit.  The only problem was that when I closed the folder the sleeves stuck out slightly…Damn!

    I had a brain wave and rummaged around the recycle bin for cardboard. Using lots of tape and strips of cardboard I manged to make it just the right size.  Ok…so its a little rough looking but it does its job of protecting all my lovely badges and that’s all that matters.

    They are not just badges to me but little time capsules of memories.  It’s lovely to look through them and instantly remember where I bought a badge from, what the weather was like that day and other memories it may conjure. I always remember going to Conwy nature reserve and seeing my first ever hoopee.  I was so excited that I ran into the RSPB shop and bought a badge of a hoopee so I would have a momentum of the day.

    (Wonder if you can spot the hoopee amongst the badges in the photo above)

    It may have been a dull miserable day outside but it has been nice to look at my wildlife badges and thinking of all the great times spent at such superb nature reserves around Britain.