30 Days Wild 2018 – Day 23

Today has been warm and sunny.  I spent this afternoon in the garden looking for insects.  As I was given an insect book for my birthday, I have spent this evening doing my best to identify them.  Some were easier to identify than others! Its been really nice to discover what’s in the garden.  

As I started to thumb through my guide to British insects I spotted one of them straight away – its one of the reasons I like a photographic guide as my brain will connect to a photograph easier than a drawing.  I looked to the info page to find out what it was, much to my surprise it is a common froghopper!  Now on Day 01 when I wrote about cuckoo-spit I said ‘However, we are not very likely to see an adult! They are 6mm long but disappear as soon as they are disturbed – they can jump 70cm in one bound!’ now this one didn’t seem to be bounding anywhere, I think I was extremely lucky to find it 🙂

On the same plant I found harlequin ladybird larvae and on the roses next to that were pollen beetles. 

I moved over to the lavender where I knew there were lots of Honeybee’s (Apis mllifera), a Small tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) fluttered around.  Also on the lavender were a couple of Rosemary beetle’s (Chrysolina americana).  

Over the other side of the path is the mini pond, I found a Helophilus Pendulus which to start with wasn’t going to sit still but it finally settled on a leaf and I managed to get a photograph.  

In the greenhouse I found a Large Yellow Underwing (Noctua pronuba).  I didn’t get a very good photo as it was all over the place and generally hiding down the back of the plants.  

So with a little time in the garden this afternoon I have seen 8 different insects, 3 of which I have never seen before 🙂

30 Days Wild 2018 – Day 22

I knew I wouldn’t have a huge amount of time today so I popped out into the garden to look for textures and patterns.  I first came across a feather on the grass, soft to touch but made up of tiny ridges.  Then my attention was drawn to the plants.  Leaves have so much texture to them, the veins create dips and ridges and the lines, patterns.  The leaves of the pine were my favourite to photograph.  The head of dandelion seeds looks soft and fluffy but when you look closely it looks prickly; its way of attaching itself to passer-by for distribution.   The common daisy – full of pattern from its yellow centre to its layered petals.  

 

30 Days Wild 2018 – Day 21

I sometimes have to work away from home; tonight this had its advantages, a beautiful roe deer.  I was still working at the time, moving locations. Turning the corner into another field, I came face to face with this doe.  She stood and looked at me briefly before turning and trotting away.  I love having chance encounters with mammals when out and about.  It does worry me that she didn’t run as soon as she saw me, I was only ever going to take her photograph, but who knows who else she could run into! 

30 Days Wild 2018 – Day 20

When you spend a lot of time amongst nature one of the many things you can do to give back is to volunteer.  Now most people think of volunteering as volunteering your time at a nature reserve or at a specific event.  These things are great to do but if you are like me and have to work funny hours at a moments notice or don’t have a reserve that is particularly close to home; citizen science is another great way to give back. 

You can take part when you have time or just as and when you ‘find’ something to record.  ‘Something’ can be anything in the natural world.  I often stumble across ladybirds when I’m at work; a quick photograph taken on my phone and in a few clicks I have sent the data off.  When more time is available, a garden bird watch or mini bioblitz helps you not only explore your very local surroundings but also helps you get to know your feathered or mini beast neighbours.   

There are places to record your data no matter the subject and I have included some of the ones I use below.

iRecord enables you to log anything and everything! You can either do this via their app or on your PC via their website.  All of your data feeds into the Biological Records Centre which is then also available to local record centres and national schemes and societies. There are also specific apps that feed directly into iRecord, some of these are iRecord Butterflies, iRecord Ladybirds, Mammal Tracker and iRecord Grasshopper.  A full list can be found on their website.

You can also submit records directly to your local records centre of any flora and fauna.  For my local centre I have downloaded their spread sheet and keep a copy in my car!  If I see something while I am driving, I often get a passenger to fill in the form with all the basic details, I then add the grid reference at a later date.  I transfer this data to the PC and every few months email off the form to the centre. 

BirdTrack is run by the BTO in conjunction with four other organisations to monitor the distribution and movement of birds in Britain and Ireland.  If you have been out bird watching you can add your lists to their database.  They like complete lists so everything you have seen or heard but casual records of an individual sighting is also of relevance, it all builds up a picture of the movement and distribution of our feathered friends.  You can add data via their website or an app on your phone.

Anything badger related gets recorded with the Badger Trust.  They collect data via a confidential report system on road casualties, sett locations and crime & suspicious incidents.  Over 50,000 badgers are killed each year on our roads, they use the data we submit to identify hot-spots and then petition our local councils to try and make the roads safer for all of our wildlife.

Every record we submit to any of these organisations helps inform research into all aspects of our natural world and helps restore and protect our natural environment.  Have you seen anything you can record today?

30 Days Wild 2018 – Day 19

I was stuck at work a little late tonight, so for 30 Days Wild I headed out into the garden for 20 minutes and rep- potted the three remaining tomato plants that were still in their seedling pots. I now have a collection of 13 plants dotted around the garden that I’m hoping I can keep alive! and have lots of tomatoes over the summer 🙂

The sunflowers that I planted on Day 04 have grown to a great size in 2 weeks. I’ve potted them on and staked them with sticks that broke off the tree in high winds. I’m going to wait to put them into the garden until they are much bigger in the hope that the snails won’t eat them!

30 Days Wild 2018 – Day 18

Since I received my new wild flower book I have wanted to spend a little time out in the field exploring what plants are living along the margins.  The farmer has now cut a path around the edge where the wild plants were meeting the crop so it is now more accessible to walk around.  I spent about 10 mins this evening out in the field, I had intended on spending longer but I wasn’t expecting the rain quite so early!  I have managed to identify a few of the plants I found:  Soft-brome grass, Corn Chamomile, Field Forget-me-not and of course the Stinging nettle. 

 

Others are still a complete mystery!…

 

I think I might make a winter project out of the wild flowers in the field – photograph them in the summer and then identify in the winter.  I only looked at a small corner of the field, if I’m to try and identify what the rest of the field holds (126 acres though the crop covers 98% of it!) I think its best to get out and photograph them all in the coming month or two! 

30 Days Wild 2018 – Day 17

I haven’t been to Wildlife Trust’s Lower Moor Farm since January, so I thought it was about time I made another visit and went along this afternoon.  I’m not sure if it was the weather or I just picked the wrong time of day but there didn’t seem to be much bird life about!  There was a cormorant sat on a post, a few woodpigeon’s flying from tree to tree, a black headed gull, a grey heron flew over and a family of mute swans were on Cottage lake.  There were smaller birds flitting from tree to tree but everything seemed to be hiding away in all the leaf cover.  

The most exciting event of the afternoon was spotting my first orchid – a common spotted-orchid.  I have probably seem them before but no knowingly so! 

Also there are loads of froglets! One poor little chap had got himself caught in spiders webs on the floor of the hide, so after carefully removing the web from his back legs I placed him safely back outside.  The walk back to the car was slow and careful, I counted 28 froglets 🙂

 

30 Days Wild 2018 – Day 16

Each year when late spring arrives I start to look out for the swifts.  The house that backs onto my back garden have nesting swifts  They don’t have a nest box but there is a natural cavity underneath some of their roof tiles. I’m not sure if they know they are there nor not but I get the impression they are not very nature friendly so I don’t like to draw attention to their arrival just in case they decide to block up the hole!  This year they arrived on May 7th. They are generally joined by another 4 swifts screeching around the house and its so lovely to hear.    

Swifts are an amber-listed bird, this means we need to be worried about them.  There breeding numbers have been decreasing; 51% between 1995 and 2015.  One of the reasons for their reducing numbers is partly down to the loss of their nesting locations.  They nest in the same place every year. When they get back in the spring their home can sometimes be gone.  This can be down to people fixing their roofs or buildings being demolished completely.  One of the best things we can do for them is to increase the locations that they have available to nest in.  I would love to have a swift nest box on the house but they have some requirements.  There needs to be a clear 5 meter drop from the nest as this is what they need when the swoop up to the nest and also for leaving it.  This I have on one side of the house, however its west facing and doesn’t have shade from the sun, so unfortunately its unsuitable 🙁 If you have a suitable location for a swift box, please if you can, help out these wonders of summer.  You can find out more at swift-conservation.org and also submit your sightings to the RSPB.

30 Days Wild 2018 – Day 15

Today is my Birthday! I received lots of nature related books – I think friends and family conspired together on buying these!  I also think they are fed up with me continually saying ‘I wonder what (insert plant / bug / tree) this is?’ now they can just point me towards a book! I look forward to investigating more of the nature in the field as I will now be able to identify them properly 🙂

30 Days Wild 2018 – Day 14

I knew today was going to be a day where I wouldn’t have much time to get out in the wild, so last night I put the trailcam out in the field with some left over cake! Yes I know not the best thing for the fox but they don’t get given it very often, its normally chicken carcass or eggs.  She has however, been helping herself to next doors new guinea fowl!!  They saw her watching them the other week but I’m assuming didn’t put them behind the electric fence with the other chickens so they went ‘missing’.

I think we can safely say she also likes cake!!  Over a period of 3 hours she squirreled it away to various locations nearby.  I’d cut it up a bit so it didn’t fall apart as she carried it off.  I don’t know if that was just to hide it from anyone else that might want the steal it or because she seemed a little weary of the camera, though she hasn’t worried about it before.  I wondered if she had cubs nearby… I hope she has cubs 🙂