30 Days Wild indoors

Today I had to stay inside, as not only was it pouring down with rain but I now have a sprained ankle ligament to go with my injured knee.

I was feeling sorry for myself with my feet up on the sofa gazing at a rain splattered window. I read a little and also caught up on some Springwatch episodes that i’d missed and also watched some old Time Team episodes which was fun.

I was cheered up when my other half came home from work with gifts for me. Now don’t get too excited, it wasn’t chocolates or a bunch of flowers. It was simple gifts from nature which he knew that I would like.

Today at work, he was working by some lovely old lime trees. He gazed up at them and saw their lovely lime blossom dangling down. He thought the blossom had such a sweet perfume he wanted to share the experience with me. He managed to find a sprig before he left work and he brought it home for me.

It really is such a lovely smell and I didn’t even think of lime trees having scented blossom until now. I can see how lime trees are great for a variety of pollinators such as; hoverflies, bees and ladybirds, as well as birds and of course the lime hawk caterpillar.

My next little gift came from the earth. he was weeding one of the flower beds when something caught his eye. He knew I’d be interested in it and want it for my nature display case, so he put it in his pocket and brought it home for me. It was an animal tooth, but what animal?

I think it is a cow tooth and it looks like it has some age to it as it’s very brown in colour. I cleaned it up and have put it in my display case along with all my other little gifts from nature.

Even though I was unable to get out in nature today, a little bit of nature was brought indoors to me.

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Mini beast bioblitz for Day 27 of 30 Days Wild

When I got home from work today it had finally stopped raining so I ran into the garden in search of mini beasts.

I walked around looking closely at each shrub and flower, waiting to catch a glimpse of a bug. I was amazed how many mini beasts I spotted and the closer I looked, the more interesting critters I saw.

There were ladybirds and larvae hiding amongst the leaves and petals of fuschias.

There were caterpillars and moths hiding amongst wood piles and under leaves.

A little ball of garden spiderlings huddled together amongst the lavender stems. Black lace weaver spiders (Amaurobius ferox) scurried across the wall then into their homes, whilst red velvet spider mites (Trombidiidae) moved quickly on the lid of the water butt.

I saw a variety of flies enjoying the wildflowers, fuschias and honeysuckle. A variety of hoverflies hovered above the lavender flowers. Pretty small solider flies called black horned gems (Microchrysa polita) sat on camellia leaves. Whilst other flies sat on daisy flowers, ferns and jasmine leaves.

A stunning metallic coloured rosemary beetle sat on my lavender plant. Cuckoo spit dangled under fuschia leaves and a darkling beetle (Lagria hirta) hid on an old bluebell stem. Flower Bugs – Anthocoris nemorum and Liocoris tripustulatus as well as a variety of other insects (some of which I haven’t found the name for yet) gathered amongst other shrub leaves.  

I thought the prettiest bug of the afternoon was Calocoris stysi. I love it’s yellow and black chequered pattern and I think the yellow marking in the middle looks like a butterfly pattern. It looked very pretty sat on the lavender flower.

My favourite encounter of the afternoon was with a Epistrophe grossulariae hoverfly. It was attracted to my blue water bottle and kept sitting on the lid trying to lick up the ribena juice around the edge. I noticed the hoverfly had licked a lot of it up so I spoke to it and asked if it would like some more. It stayed sat on the top of my bottle unafraid of me, while I opened the lid for it. The hoverfly then carried on drinking from the top of the bottle until it had had enough. It was a magical experience to be just a couple of centimeters away from a hoverfly and it was happy for me to be that close to it.

I’m glad I made the effort to go out in the garden and search for mini beasts. I hope this little blog will inspire you to go out and see what insects are lurking in your garden and appreciate its great biodiversity.

 

Wildflowers -Day 26 of 30 Days Wild

This year I was given free wildflower seeds from Just Bee Drinks, Grow Wild and I also got a packet in my 30 Days Wild pack from The Wildlife Trust.

I decided that a the beginning of June I would put some wildflowers in troughs under my living room window as well as sprinkle them around the garden.
I decided that as some of the seeds were going into 2 troughs, I would sow each seed in plug plant trays.
I didn’t know what type of flowers I was going to get, so it was going to be exciting to see the results. I opened each packet and sprinkled a number of seeds into the trays before sprinkling the rest in various parts of the garden.
I watered the seeds well and now all I had to do was wait.

It was exciting to see the green seedlings shoot from the soil, and start to form their shape. They started to become greener and fill out with more with leaves.

It wasn’t long before the insects started to come and have a look.

Today I planted the plugs out into their troughs and already the bees are taking a look at them so I have even placed a little insect house by the flowers too.

I think these little troughs complement the wildflowers that have been sprinkled around the garden. They are all looking stunningly beautiful in the sunshine and myself, bees and insects are loving them.

 

A big thank you to Grow Wild, Wildlife Trust and Just Bee Drinks for these lovely wildflower seeds.

Burton Mere -Day 25 of 30 Days Wild

Today for Day 25 of 30 Days Wild I went for a stroll around one of my favourite nature reserve in Wirral, Cheshire. Here is a short blog about what I saw at this beautiful place.

It was so peaceful at the nature reserve. All could be heard was a chorus of bird song from the trees, reeds and on the water. From the twitter of a reed warbler, the melodic song of a robin, the honking of geese to the babbling sound of the egrets. I managed to capture 2 little videos on my phone. (here and here)

As I walk around, I see a naughty grey squirrel trying to steal nuts from the feeder and ducks sitting underneath it catching food the squirrel dropped on the floor.

I saw insects gather around the wildflowers and warm themselves up on wooden benches.

 

 

Common lizards bask on the fence.

Spiders scurry below the decking carrying their eggs sacks and caterpillars emerge from the undergrowth onto the path.

As I sit overlooking the estuary and I could hear the wing beat of 2 mallards as they flew over my head before they landed in the water. I saw beautiful dragonflies dart over the water and water boatman lying on the waters surface. As I walked around the ponds 2 geese honked loudly and flew off past me, and I just managed to capture them on my phone here.

 

RSPB nature reserves are not just about birds. They are a safe haven for all wildlife and I’m so glad I have such a beautiful place near where I live.

Steam Rally Day 24 of 30 Days Wild

It’s day 24 of 30 Days Wild and this weekend there is a steam rally in Kelsall, Cheshire. It’s not exactly a nature based activity but it meant I got to spend most of the day outdoors.

The first thing I saw was beautiful gentle shire horses and their 2 gorgeous foals. Even though they are babies they are still big. There was also little Shetland ponies and their cute little babies, which were so adorable to watch playing together.

Walking around the steam rally there are so many sights, sounds and smells that encapsulate the senses. I sat on the grass and watched steam engines roll past me like giant smoke breathing beasts. I saw swallows swooping low across the field of clover before me, catching insects amongst the hussle and bussle of so much human activity.

I watched lawn mower racing for the first time too. I was amazed how fast they went and how loud they were as the went around the track.

After a lot of walking, it was good to come home and just relax in the garden. I’m sat here now enjoying the evening sunshine and listening to the chirping birds and buzzing bees.

I hope you had a lovely time today, and you are enjoying the warm summer evening where you are tonight.

 

Stroll around Llangollen

Today for 30 Days Wild, me and my sister Elysia were enjoying learning about Welsh history as we strolled around the Llangollen area.

Our first visit was to walk across Pontcysyllte aqueduct. This magnificent piece of engineering was by the brilliant Thomas Telford.

The canal here is over 126 feet high up in the sky. The only railing is along the narrow towpath which runs alongside the canal and people shuffle past us awkwardly holding on for dear life as they challenge themselves to be brave and walk across to the other side.

Next we drove toward the beginning of the Horseshoe Pass to a beautiful ruined abbey. The Valle Crucis Abbey was built by the Monks and still has a fish pool full of water. The church part dates back to 12th Century. I love roaming around ruins.

I let my imagination run wild and day dreaming about what it must of looked like when the Monks lived here. There was lots of swallows flying about too nesting inside the ruins. A parent was chirping above our heads as if trying to get our attention; then I noticed 3 lovely little fledglings sat high up on a stone looking down on us. I apologised at once to the parent for disturbing her and said her fledglings were lovely. (People think I’m mad but I always talk to animals)


After exploring the Abbey we then walked along the road (trying to dodge cars and occasionally jumping into the tiny verge as we did so) to see the wonderous 9th Century stone cross called Pillar of Eliseg, that sits on a Bronze Age burial mound.

I love burial mounds, there is something I find very peaceful about them. (especially the ones you can walk into) We walked around the pillar gazing at the inscription and wondering about all the things that this piece of stone has seen. I love learning about Welsh history and all its myths and legends, and I absolutely love the scenery here.


We finished the day off in the town of Llangollen. The place is looking colourful with different flags up, as it wont be long till the International Eisteddfod starts. We sat by the river Dee, eating a Welsh oggie (pastie) and listening to the sound of steam trains whistling by.


Llangollen is a beautiful place and I’m so glad its not far from Chester, so I can visit often.

Enjoying the rain Day 22 of 30 Days Wild

After the intense heat this week we finally got some rain. Some people run for cover but I stepped outside and embraced it’s cooling touch.

The beautiful azure sky changed colour as fluffy clouds appeared almost sticking to each other like magnets. Large pillows of cloud covered the sun and a fresh breeze caressed my warm skin. Then came the pitter-patter of raindrops, slowly and lightly at first, but then increasing with intensity.

I love the smell of rain after a dry spell and the freshness it brings to the air. You can almost see the plants wiggling happily as the rain soaks their roots. I love the way raindrops sit like diamonds on spider webs and rest on flower petals and leaves like blobs of mercury.

The trickles of rain rolled down my skin cooling me down after a week of intense heat. It was nice to feel the rain again and I bet the plants and wildlife enjoyed it too.

The air now feels a little cooler and the plants have had a drink. I don’t feel as cranky or sleepy now the heatwave has gone. I feel fresh and revived thanks to the rain.

Next time it rains, don’t hide indoors. Instead of moaning about it, think of all the benefits it brings.

Rain is part of nature so embrace it.