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.

New creature encounters -Day 20 of 30 Days Wild

I had 2 exciting encounters today at work. I saw 2 creatures that I have never seen before.

My first encounter was with a ruby tailed wasp, which landed on my hosepipe as I was watering the plants. Annoyingly the moment I moved to take a photo, it flew off. All I can say is, it had absolutely stunning colours. It was only small but it was iridescent turquoise and vibrant pink. It was beautiful to see, I just wish I had been able to take a photo.

My other encounter was with a ghost slug. This was a thin small white slug which suits its name with its ghostly appearance.

I also had a few lovely admiral butterflies fluttering about me today which was magical and I saw a number of bumblebees buzzing about the flowers. I had a number of hoverflies interested in my bright blue water flask (which was lovely to see) and a number of horseflies interested in me.(which wasn’t a nice experience)

To end the day, a young buzzard landed in the tree next to me and a green woodpecker flew overhead rushing to feed its young.

 

 

Tracking creatures Day 19 of 30 Days Wild

Welcome to the 19th day of my 30 Days Wild challenge. I can’t believe I have managed to blog every day. Its certainly been hard work in this heatwave we have been having.

One of the places where I work is a plant nursery which is set upon a sandy hillside.  The great thing about it being sandy is that I quite often come across little prints in the sand especially first thing in the morning before anyone else arrives on site.

I stumble upon fox and badger paw prints. Lots of rabbit foot prints, and some bird ones too. I have also seen smaller mammals and amphibians on site but not found any tracks yet.

Today I saw a little vole, cute bunnies, a smooth newt, a frog, and I even heard a cuckoo.

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I have great fun spotting tracks in the sand and watching the wildlife as I walk around; and try and capture a photo if possible.

Here are some tracks that I spotted today.

Make friends with a slug -Day 15 of 30 Days Wild

Normally when you mention slugs to someone they pull a face and say… Yuck!

Mention slugs to a gardener and they will tell you in no uncertain terms what they actually think of them.

As a general rule we tend to think that slugs do nothing but eat all our young seedlings, pretty flowers and precious plants, but thats not the case.

Did you know that one slug in particular is a gardeners best friend?

Meet the leopard slug.

This rather large (16cms), attractive patterned slug actually helps gardeners.

They don’t eat healthy plants like other slugs do. They actually munch their way through decaying material and fungi, recycling nutrients and fertilising the soil.  Even more amazing is…….. they eat other slugs.

Yes…you heard that correctly. They eat all those other pesky slugs in your garden.

These slugs are normally found in woodlands, parks and gardens where there are old trees and dead fallen wood. Slugs need to keep their bodies damp so that they can breathe so are usually found in dark damp places.

To encourage this helpful garden friendly slug, create a log pile in your garden, as rotting damp wood is a great habitat for them.

Indoors for day 7 of 30 Days Wild

Its going to be a short blog today as I’ve been stuck inside nursing a poorly knee. I tried to still be part of nature though by sitting by an open window and gazing out at the countryside around me.

As I sat there the first bird I heard was a green woodpecker as it flew passed on its way towards the canal. I saw blackbirds busily flying here and there gathering juicy worms for their young.

Over in the field I saw a buzzard circling high and a kestrel hovering looking for a meal. I heard starlings squabbling from within the hedge and a pied wagtail bobbing happily along the fence.

The highlight of the day has to be seeing a flock of great tit fledglings. These little balls of fluff were tweeting and fluttering about the garden and one even landed on my windowsill right in front of me. I didn’t have my camera next to me but it was a lovely moment that will stay in my memory.

My last encounter with nature today before it rained and I closed the window was to some, an unusual one. (Though not for me)

I heard the lion roaring…..A lion roar!?!…. But this is the British countryside I hear you say.

Well, anywhere else and that would be a very odd thing to say, but living by a zoo it’s a common everyday occurence. I do love listening to the lion roar I find it oddly comforting and to me the sound is part of my everyday encounters with nature where I live. 

Watching fledglings Day 5 of 30DaysWild

After a wet and windy day at work I was glad to arrive home to dry off and get warm. At least with all the rain I didn’t have to water my plants when I got home.

I decided that tonight I would carrying on looking through my wildlife camera footage as outside all the fledglings, bees and other creatures were all sheltering from the rain. I don’t blame them as its feeling a bit blustery out.

I wasn’t disappointed as I started to watch the videos from the garden. As I have said on a previous blog and my facebook page, starlings have returned to the garden this season for the first time in many years.

I was so excited to see footage of them eating mealworms under the bench and now even more excited to see my first starling fledglings.

I’m so happy that they have decided to return to the garden and even more so that they have had young. I do love their squeaking, clicking and squawking noises they make. They are such vocal little birds and have beautiful speckled plumage.

Another delight to see was a cute sparrow fledgling which seemed like hanging around with the starling fledglings. Maybe all its siblings have grown up and it feels safe with all the starlings. Who knows, but it seems happy.

I’m glad these birds feel safe and happy in the garden and hope I will see many more fledglings as I carry on watching my video footage.

Check out my little videos:

Starling fledgling wants more food

Sparrow and starling fledgling having a drink.

 

 

Made friends with spiderlings Day3 of 30DaysWild

I decided that I would go on a mini beast hunt today but I didn’t get very far, as the first creatures I saw were just too fascinating to walk on by and ignore.

Just as I left the front door I came across a bundle of tightly packed spiderlings. I have a love/frightened relationship with spiders so I wanted to get close up to them and admire them without getting scared; and what better way to do that than with a spiderling.

The common garden spider (Araneus diadematus) is the most well known spider in the UK. It has a white cross on it’s abdomen and has a distinctive orb web.  As well as gardens, they are common in woodlands and heathlands. Go into any garden in summer and you will find one probably sat at the center of the web amongst some shrubs.

Late summer-autumn many spiders mate and produce eggs and after this period the spider is probably at its largest being often full of eggs.  She builds a silken sac and can lay up to eight hundred eggs inside. She will then stay with her eggs, protecting them until she dies. The eggs will then over winter till the following Spring.

In May her young finally hatch out and a bundle of tiny yellow and black spiderlings can be seen, normally staying together until they are mature enough to leave. 

You notice that if disturbed, the cluster of spiderlings explode from their silk sac cascading individual spiderlings away from each other on tiny silk threads. Once the danger has passed they’ll climb back up to form a clump again for safety.

Before finally emerging from their egg sac, the spiderlings moult twice before being grown up enough to be independent in the big wide world and start the cycle of life once again.