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.

IMG_p1dfkd.jpg

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.

IMG_x3frdj.jpg

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.

 

Advertisements

Growing wildflowers

It’s day 3 of the 30 Days Wild challenge and the weather has been so lovely, I thought it was a great day for a spot of gardening.

I have been growing some wildflowers from seed in trays so now seemed like a good time to transplant them somewhere in the garden, but where??

I found a few empty plant pots that I had no plans for so I decided that the flowers would look nice in them dotted about the paving slabs along the garden path.

I have planted wildflowers in pots before and the bees and hoverflies loved them.  It just goes to show that you don’t need a big garden to have wildflowers, and pollinators appreciate them no matter how small a patch.

It will also be fun to see what flowers appear as I just put a mix of different seeds in trays and forgot what I’d sown.  I don’t mind though, as it’s fun to have a bit of mystery sometimes.

I can’t wait to see them grow and become beautiful flowers.  I’m sure the bees will love them as much as I will.

Feet up watching nature

(I’ve attempted to write todays 30 Days Wild blog in English and Welsh today

Today for 30 Days Wild I’ve decided to have a quiet relaxing day. I’m sat on my sofa with my feet up drinking a nice cup of chamomile tea catching up on BBC Springwatch. I love watching Springwatch and this weeks episodes have been brilliant. It’s so informative and fun. Chris Packham and Iolo Williams are fantastic inspirational people and watching all those cute tiny chicks in the nest makes your heart melt.

Heddiw am 30 Diwrnod Gwyllt, dw i’n cael diwrnod dawel ac ymlacio. Dw’in eistedd ar y soffa, yn yfed te camri tra edrych ar Springwatch ar y teledu. Dw i wrth fy modd yn edrych ar Springwatch a mae’r episodau wythnos ‘ma wedi bod yn ardderchog.  Mae’n rhaglen yn ddiddorol ac hwyl. Mae Iolo a Chris yn ffantastig ac ysbrydoledig, a dwi’n mwynhau dysgu am bywyd gwyllt a gweld y cywion bach pa sydd jyst ciwt iawn.

30 Days of Wild begins

Today is the first day of The Wildlife Trust’s 30 Days Wild.  This is were people are encouraged to do something nature based each day in June.

Now, I know there may be some out there that say that they are too busy and just don’t have the time…”I’m too busy!”  30 Days Wild isn’t about how much time you have spent in nature, its all about your passion and appreciation for nature that matters.

You can go to your local park or nature reserve and see what wildlife you can spot, or have a picnic in the sunshine.  You can just step outside your front door and listen to the bird song or watch a bee buzzing about the flowers.  How about putting a bird feeder up in your garden, reading a wildlife magazine, cuddling a tree, or perhaps buy something that’s plastic free.  It’s not about thinking big; unless you want to organise a litter pick, built a pond or hike in the countryside.  Small activities are just as significant in reconnecting people with nature.

As I write this, I’m sat by my window listening to blackbirds and robins singing loudly.  Just this simple act instantly calms me, places me in the present, and helps me appreciate the things that really matter in life.

Even if you can’t do something wild every day in June then try and do something this month no matter how small.  You’ll be amazed how much it will help your mental wellbeing, how calmer you will feel; and how significant something as simple as putting out a small bowl of water or a bird feeder in the garden can be for your local wildlife.

The Wildlife Trust even has a 30 Days Wild app here which has lots of nature ideas to inspire you.

Whatever you have planned I hope you all have a wild and wonderful June.

A brief glimpse of sunshine

It’s been pouring down with rain all day and a tad bit chilly for this time of year but yesterday there was a glimpse of sunshine.  Even though the sun shone through a break in the cloud for just a short time, it was still long enough for a variety of tiny creatures to take advantage of its warmth.

I saw a hoverfly cleaning itself sat on a celandine leaf by the edge of the pond. IMG_15mwhq.jpg

Speckled wood, orange tip and blue butterflies fluttered about the ivy hedge.

A plume moth had a rest and got some much needed warmth from the wall. IMG_z8izg.jpg

Red mason bees swarmed around one of the small bee hotels.  Males pushing each other away as they rushed to find a female.  I was happy to sit close by and watch these bees for a while as they are not aggressive and now and again one would land on me for a rest.  Once a female had been found he knocked her to the floor where they seemed to mate for quite some considerable time.

You can see a short video I took of the bees here.

There were a  variety of spring bees buzzing about enjoying the blossom and other garden flowers. It just shows how important early wildflowers and spring blossom is to these early emerging bees.

Finally as the sun disappeared behind a cloud and it started to rain, it all went quiet again in the garden. Tiny garden spiderlings that were about to disperse in the sunshine, suddenly decided they would wait for another day and huddled back together for warmth. IMG_-oth2zk.jpg

The tiny creatures I saw moments ago where now tucked up somewhere dry and warm leaving the slugs to enjoy the rain.img_20170601_201853_815.jpg

Tawny mining bee

Tawny mining bees are solitary spring bees covered in dense ginger hair.  You may see these little ginger bees busily flying about your garden or park in springtime.

Just like the happiness I get from seeing my first swallow of the year I also look forward to seeing my first tawny mining bee in spring.  I see them each year in the garden buzzing around the tree blossom and making their nest under the fruit trees.

As flowers on fruit trees such as pears, apples etc… start to appear the males are the first to be seen closely followed by the females.  The male differs slightly as his hair is less dense than the females and he has a tuft of white on his face.  The female is the only one with a stinger but she isn’t aggressive and you would have to go along way to provoke her.

The female prepares the nest which is like a tiny volcano shaped mound of soil with a hole in the middle in the lawn/ flower bed.  She lays her eggs underground and gathers nectar and pollen to place inside for her offspring to eat when they become larvae and the whole cycle begins again.

They are such important pollinators and it’s always a joy to see them buzzing about the garden.

While I was looking on the internet for a bit more information about this lovely little bee, I came across websites that showed you how to get rid of them from your lawn.  Why would you want to do that?!

I don’t want large frilly flower heads with no fragrance and no benefit to pollinators.  I don’t want a manicured bowling green lawn and a garden tidied to the last tiny speck.

I want to step out into a garden and feel at one with nature.  I embrace the moss, dandelions and daisies.  I welcome the tiny holes and tracks left by wildlife as it show how diverse, rich and healthy the garden is.

I do what I can to help my garden pollinators as they do such an important job and they need all the help they can get especially in springtime.

Next time you are out and about keep your eye out for any tiny mounds with a hole at the top, then stop and say hello to the little bees that made them.

Spring time at Burton Mere

It’s been a beautiful spring day ​today.  The sun has been shining and there has been a lovely warm breeze so what better way to spend the day than at my favourite RSPB reserve, Burton Mere, Wirral.

As I near the entrance I stop for a moment to admire the carpet of bluebells covering the woodland floor.  It looks absolutely stunning at the moment.  I then stop for a bit in the reception hide to browse the pin badges and look at the sample of RSPB goodies displayed there that can be bought in their online shop.  As I walk around the place it is noisy with the sound of chattering birds.  I hear the delicate chirping of chiffchaffs, the melodic song of a robin and the loud tweeting of a wren.  I’m always blown away by how such a tiny bird such as a wren can make such a huge noise.

Further along I stop to look for lizards basking on the fence but they are not here today though spiders are basking there and scurrying across the path in front of me.  I look up to see two herons flying overhead and I can hear the bubbling sound of egrets from deep within the wild wooded area.

Walking along the decking path I hear the beautiful haunting sound ‘Oo-wee’ of lapwings on the water and the squabbling of seagulls as they chase each other across the sky.  I then start to see butterflies dipping and darting through the grass by the side of me.  Orange tips, peacocks, admirals and brimstones all enjoying the warm spring weather.

Solitary bees buzz around wildflowers and in a little brook I see pond skaters and swarms of midges above the waters surface and so many st marks flies hovering around the reedbeds.

I hear magpies cackling to each other from the trees, warblers singing a delightful tune and the sound of bleeting lambs carried on the wind from the grassy hillfort.

Its always great to visit an RSPB nature reserve.  I find that their reserves recharge my batteries, and reconnect me to the present.  I’ve really enjoyed my day out surrounded by nature and so happy I have such a beautiful nature reserve so close to where I live.