30 Days Wild 2018 

It sort of scares me that its June already! Another Wildlife Trusts ’30 Days Wild’ has crept around very quickly.  As you will know from this blog and my Twitter feed I do get out in nature on a regular basis, however in June I know its 100% 30 days of nature 🙂 I think its a great idea to encourage people to get out into the world rather than spending a lot of time in the house or behind a screen (she says typing away!).  I learn a lot from 30 Days Wild every year, be it my own new discoveries of a beetle I have never seen before or by seeing a tweet or blog by someone else with something new to look out for which I can incorporate into my list of activities for the month. 

This is now my third year of ’30 Days Wild’ and I find it an enjoyable adventure to find something to do everyday, be it an hour at a nature reserve or 10mins in the garden. I do make a rough list of ideas, normally of places to visit but generally I just see what discoveries I make on the day. Last year the most exciting of days were the morning I saw a barn owl while driving to work, discovering brown hares in the next field over and spotting a badger while out for an evenings walk.  It really is a case of if you step outside your door you don’t know where you might be swept of too and what amazing things you will discover.  What will your adventure be during ’30 Days Wild’?

My Patch – May 2018

May 1st – I thought the starlings had one nest at the front of the house like they did last year; under the roof tiles. Actually there seems to be two, both near the bathroom, and fairly close together.  There is also one nest at the back of the house again under the roof tiles above one of the bedrooms, this location was used last year as well. This afternoon I saw four swallows swooping over the field.  They didn’t stay around unfortunately but its good to see them back.  I was heading home and was already running late; then I spotted a tractor in the next field ploughing.  There were loads of gulls and in the distance following it a red kite.  Why when you have no time to stop do interesting things happen?!

May 3rd – I put the trailcam out in the field last night with some left over food and some eggs.  Although it was misty it did show a mouse, a hedgehog and a fox.  At least we now know the hedgehog is travelling though the field and not across the road!  The fox took the food away.

May 4th – The starlings are definitely feeding their young; when in the bathroom you can hear them calling in the roof space. I’m not sure which nest it is though seeing there are two close to the bathroom! 

May 8th – This morning I noticed the starling chicks at the back of the house are calling when the parent disappears under the roof tiles. There was a Streamer moth on the kitchen window – thanks to all those on Twitter who confirmed this for me.  Identifying moths is new to me and this one didn’t seem easy to find!

May 9th – I was out working on the garden, the starlings at the back of the house are working hard to feed their chicks, I could hear them calling once every 10-15 minutes or so 🙂

May 14th – I haven’t seen them yet but the owner informs me there were 10 fledgling jackdaws lined up on the fence being fed suet this morning! 

May 15th – The starlings are busily back and forth to the nests taking in food.  At the back of the house the parents have been sat outside the nest with food calling, I think they are trying to encourage the young to leave!  At the front the parents don’t seem to be calling, just flitting in and out.  One carried out a fecal sac but I missed getting a photo and one has also been taking in a bit of nesting material.  I wonder if they are starting to get prepared for a second brood?!  The jackdaw in the the middle chimney has been sat on the edge of the brick work with food.  I have been seeing many more moths in the garden but I am having problems identifying them! 

May 17th – Tonight I discovered house sparrows are nesting under the roof tiles at the back of the house 😃 they were busy taking in food. 

While I was trying to take some photos of them I took a very quick picture of two birds on the roof thinking they were house sparrows.  After correcting the exposure that was, well, not correct! I discovered that they were actually linnet.  I have never knowingly seen linnet before and this was a definite first for the garden, I now wonder if there are more out in the field.

The jackdaw nesting in the end chimney was sat on the TV ariel with food, they seem quite jumpy when there is anyone in the garden and are reluctant to actually go into their nests. 

I went to walk around the field but its getting too over grown to get around.  I will have to try a different route on another day.  Hopefully they other side of the field has a wider margin, at least I know on that side there are no rabbit holes to fall down! 

May 24th – There are fledgling starlings in the garden 🙂 I don’t think they are from the nests here as they are still taking food in and I can hear the chicks calling still.  Hopefully ours will fledged soon.  

While I have been working on the garden I have noticed a lot more of the small creatures that live here. A potential Ichneumon wasp, lots of snails and slugs, and some very fast moving spiders that I haven’t been able to have a good look at yet! I may have to relocate some of the slugs and snails out into the field as some of my sunflowers have met a slimy end!

May 30th – The cuckoo is stall calling from across the field.  He always seems to be where I am not!

May 31st – The jackdaws are still feeding young in one of the chimneys, I could hear them calling this morning. The fledgling starlings are making it difficult to hear if there are still chicks in the other nests as they are just so loud! 

My Patch – A Garden update

The garden has started to develop a little, its unfortunate that we had so much rain at the start of spring as it was difficult to get out and work on it, but with our recent sunny spell its improved considerably. The snowdrops turned green so I have relocated a few of them underneath the hazel tree. There are lesser celandine and bluebells too so I am going to turn the area into a very small woodland and plant winter / early spring flowers around the dogs graves. 

The raised bed has been dug over and some of the ivy roots removed – the ones that would come out! The roses have been relocated slightly, they were at the front of the bed which meant it was difficult to tend, so they have been located closer together and fill a patch of their own.  Through the middle of the roses there is now a brick path to the fence, solely so plants don’t get trodden on when the trailcam is attached to the fence post! The fence has been jet washed and treated. The wildflower seeds have been sown – some are already sprouting 🙂

Before starting a proper plan for the garden I thought I ought to look up plants that are poisonous to cats and dogs.  I never knew ivy or cyclamen were harmful to them.  Seeing there are both already in the garden I checked with the owner what his thoughts were.  Seeing they have been there for years and there has never been any ill effect he is happy for them to stay.  I will however be checking anything I plan on planting first as I would hate to cause any harm to the furry residents!

I now have a rough plan for the garden but it is likely to adapt as time goes on and I learn what I am meant to be doing!  As you can see from the below, I plan on keeping the ivy on the outside of the fence away from the dogs but still accessible for insects.  There is going to be a very small pond area in the corner near the ‘woodland’ with a frogaloo next to it.  Next to the bird feeders will be a viburnum that will eventually grow large enough to offer a lot of cover for the birds.  The rest of the flower beds will hopefully be covered in wildflowers – though I am expecting it to be a sparse covering this year. I am however slightly worried about the grasses and stinging nettles that might appear from the other side of the fence and take over! so I will have to keep a close eye on what grows. 

My Patch – April 2018

A year ago this April was my first visit to my patch and my first blog about it.  The year seems to have flown by far to fast! 

Now daylight saving has occurred and Spring has finally arrived, my evenings are filled with visiting the patch or garden after work when time allows – the garden has been top of the list because I want to get the wildflower seeds in!   

April 5th – The starlings and jackdaws were all collecting nesting material and flying up to the roof. I need to try and locate where they are all nesting in the roof. I’m sure the jackdaws are using the chimney and facia boards as they did last year but need to do more research on the exact location of the starlings. 

April 9th – Two mute swans flew in to graze and a rook landed on the bird feeder. It’s the first rook I have seen land in the garden area. I am surprised that the mute swans are still about, although low in numbers now.  Last year they didn’t stay as long, though it was a different crop in the field.  I can only assume they will visit as long as there are shoots to graze on. 

April 10th – I put the trailcam out last night after thinking I had identified hedgehog feceas in the garden, I was correct 🙂 There are also loads of baby snails in the garden; feasting on the cyclamen leaves.

April 12th – I went to put some food out for the hedgehog and discovered that he had already found some! 

There are definitely jackdaws in the roof, you can clearly hear them chattering through the ceiling of one of the bedrooms 🙂 the occupant of the room isn’t so pleased about it!  I wish I lived there, it would be lovely to wake up to them chattering every morning. 

The trailcam footage from the garden showed that the hedgehog feeding station isn’t really working…

At least we now know that a fox is visiting the garden! It explains where the cat food dishes have been disappearing too!  

April 19th – The deer were in the field first thing, barely noticeable in the rape. 

April 20th – I took a short walk in the field this afternoon, to be honest it was a bit too warm to be doing so.  The oil-seed rape has sprung up since the weather has improved which does mean it looks very pretty now.  Along the field margins are many wildflowers; dead red-nettle, etc The stinging nettles which are now great in number are camouflaging the rabbit holes rather well! I know this as I managed to put my foot down one, thankfully it had been dug out at an angle and not a direct drop! I may have to tie ribbon to the hedgerow to mark out where they are! There were bee-flies, and numerous butterflies; brimstone, small tortoiseshell and peacock all of whom didn’t want to sit still for long enough for a photograph, when they did they kept their wings firmly shut! There were also some white butterflies in the distance but I couldn’t clearly identify them. I could hear the pheasant calling down the bottom of the field, he is quite vocal these days. In the hedgerow I could see house sparrows and blue tits, while woodpigeon’s and crow’s were flying over overhead.  On my walk back I didn’t fancy my chances with the rabbit holes so walked along the track just the other side of the hedgerow, the deer were grazing in the next field over 🙂  

April 24th – there was a toad in the garden. 

April 25th – a starling took a leaf under the roof tiles, a different location to where I noticed them the other day. 

April 30th – a jackdaw was sat in the tree with a beak full of fur! I heard my first cuckoo of the year 🙂