30 Days Wild 2021 – Day Twenty-three.

104318721_3891626334242803_3043932383180210145_oDay 23: Gaining inspiration from last year’s 30 Days Wild, Wednesdays will be RAW days, meaning Random Acts of Wildness. In this series I’ll be using The Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days Wild app, and the 365 Days Wild book to help choose the day’s theme.

Today’s RAW is: do a litter pick.

Littering is one of my pet hates. I never knew how cluttered with rubbish my local park was until I took a bag and my litter picker. In fact I should have brought a bigger bag as the litter I picked was only a fraction that was still left. Among the rubbish there were ten masks, plastic cups and bottles, fast food wrappers and lots of crisp and sweet packets.

Have you joined in a litter pick?

Thanks for reading, and stay wild!

Christine xx

30 Days Wild 2021 – Day Eighteen.

104115253_3891626224242814_8857612714780911463_oDay 18: The Wildlife Trusts’ Big Wild Weekend kicks off today with a talk hosted by CEO, Craig Bennett. He chats to an exciting panel of authors who were inspired by the natural world! You can register for the free talk here.

Nature is one of life’s great inspirations and no wonder there are so many authors who were/are inspired by its cruelty, terror and sheer beauty. Below is a non exhaustive list of authors who have been thus inspired.

The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Graham

This classic children’s story published in 1908 focuses on the adventures of Mole, Rat, Toad and Badger and is an example of anthropomorphism. With it’s evocative descriptions of the Edwardian countryside it had to make this list.

Animal Farm – George Orwell

Another example of anthropomorphism, with farm yard animals overthrowing their human masters but in time themselves becoming corrupted. Orwell’s anti-utopian satire is based on the Russian Revolution.

The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkein 

Tolkein heavily uses the natural world as a backdrop for his The Lord of the Rings saga. There are mountain ranges, rivers and old gnarly woods. He also uses anthropomorphism with his Ents (trees), giving them voices and personalities. The Lord of the Rings highlights that industrialisation creates an alienation with the natural world.

H is for Hawk – Helen McDonald 

This 2014 memoir recalls the author coming to terms with her grief as she trains her unruly goshawk. This book speaks loud and clear of how wildlife and nature can heal a broken heart and mind.

The Lost Words – Robert McFarlane 

It’s not just adults who are becoming disconnected with nature, children too are not learning of the magic from the natural world. Words like, conker, ivy, raven are becoming lost and this book of spells beautifully illustrated by Jackie Morris hopes to rectify that.

A Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson

Bryson’s 1998 autobiographical account of his attempt to walk the Appalachian Trail, shows him struggling to cope in the American wilderness.

Crow – Ted Hughes – Crow

The rural landscape of Hughes’ birthplace, Yorkshire had a lasting impression on his poetry, especially the animals that populated the rolling moors. Crow, The Thought Fox and the Hawk in the Rain are just a few of his collections.

Bird Therapy – Joe Harkness

The author, struggling with his mental health, writes this memoir highlighting the importance of nature on our well being. Using bird watching as a way out of depression.

Many Victorian novelists were heavily inspired by nature, such as the Brontë’s, Thomas Hardy and Charles’ Dickens. Not to mention the romantic poets, William Wordsworth and his Daffodils, John Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s To a Skylark.

What is your favourite nature inspired book?

Thanks for reading, and stay wild!

Christine x

30 Days Wild 2021 – Day Sixteen.

104216871_3891626147576155_1028623781476487668_oDay 16: Gaining inspiration from last year’s 30 Days Wild, Wednesdays will be RAW days, meaning Random Acts of Wildness. In this series I’ll be using The Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days Wild app, and the 365 Days Wild book to help choose the day’s theme.

Today’s RAW is, explore a wild place. 

Recently I took Riley for a walk to a local cemetery, one I hadn’t visited in such a long time and yet it’s not far from home. Toxteth Park Cemetery was opened 9th June 1856 and is grade II listed. The cemetery is also a location of Commonwealth Graves with 274 service personnel interred, the majority from the First World War. We took an hour long, leisurely walk around the cemetery with mum alongside and looked at some of the headstones we passed. There were rich families from Victorian Liverpool resting alongside orphans and modern day Liverpudlians. Social history was clearly evident with inscriptions of children not living passed a year, highlighting the plight of high child mortality in Victorian Britain. There was even one grave of a man who had died in an explosion on the RMS Mauretania.

 

But we were there looking for signs of wildlife. There were many bees flying between the headstones and the odd grey squirrel jumping about, but it was the bird life that was abundant. We saw wood pigeons, starlings, sparrows and a thrush. At one stage even a black backed gull wandered along the pathways. 

Have you visited an unusual spot looking for wildlife?

Thanks for reading, and stay wild!

Christine xx

30 Days Wild 2021 – Day Fifteen.

103965117_3891626137576156_437473354873631606_oDay 15:  Today’s 30 Days Wild by the Wildlife Trusts’ is all about ID’ing and learning about a plant/flower. 

Last week I went along with David as he had an appointment. On our walk to the venue I noticed these small pale blue flowers at the side of the pavement. Not knowing what they were I took a picture and used an app to ID them. I used Plantsnap and PlantNet and both came up with the same suggestion, that of flax or linseed.

Flax

Flax

I found it a rather bizzare find. Flax is used to make linen, one of the oldest fabrics in human history, and it’s oils make linseed used for it’s beneficial health properties. I was not expecting to find this kind of plant growing along the roads in suburban Liverpool. 

Have you found an unusual plant growing where you didn’t expect it?

Thanks for reading, and stay wild!

Christine xx

30 Days Wild 2021 – Day Ten.

83453823_3891625967576173_5781752874916000078_oDay 10: In keeping with tradition, Thursday’s are Throw Back Thursdays, where I take a look back at what Random Acts of Wildness I did for 30 Days Wild since 2015!

In 2020 I observed nature outside my window and looked out at the yarden beyond. In 2019 I took a close up look at Ospreys and in 2018 we took an enjoyable visit to Brockholes. While 2017 saw me attempting to make elderflower champagne. In 2016 I observed nature outside my window again and in 2015 I spent an hour in the yarden, listening to bees. 

For 2021 I’ll spend an hour in the yarden. I decided to do my hour vigil at evening after the sun had gone down for the night. I wondered what different species I would see. However on the evening, the wildlife seemed pretty quiet and I only saw two moths, one I think was a light brown apple moth, and a neighbours cat. The bat which I’d seen previously, did not show sadly, but I’ll keep an eye open in future!

Do you like sitting outside during the late summer evenings? 

Thanks for reading, and stay wild!

Christine xx

30 Days Wild 2021 – Day Nine.

09Day 9: Gaining inspiration from last year’s 30 Days Wild, Wednesdays will be RAW days, meaning Random Acts of Wildness. In this series I’ll be using The Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days Wild app, and the 365 Days Wild book to help choose the day’s theme.

Today’s RAW is admire a beautiful orchid.

marsh orchid

marsh orchid

During my recent visit to RSPB Burton Mere I noticed many spikey purple flowers growing alongside the boardwalks. I discovered they were southern marsh orchids.

Have you seen any orchids on your walks?

Thanks for reading, and stay wild!

Christine xx

30 Days Wild 2021 – Day Eight.

08Day 8: Today is World Oceans Day, another environment initiative lead by the UN. The theme for 2021’s World Oceans Day is: The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods. The event is a fully virtual celebration and there will be talks from over 40 influential speakers. You can see the schedule for the day’s talks here.

Oceans cover over 70% of the world’s surface, and produces up to 80% of the world’s oxygen through it’s microscopic plankton which photosynthesize. Though only 5% of the oceans have been explored it is home to up to 95% of all life. There is estimated to be as much as seven million tons of plastic dumped into our oceans each year.

vista

vista

The pacific is our largest ocean, covering 30% of the Earth’s surface, and is wider than the moon! Though the longest mountain range on terrestrial earth is the Andes, underwater there is an even longer one called the Mid-Ocean Ridge which is a staggering 40,389 miles long. The Mariana Trench is the deepest known region of the Earth at almost 7 miles. 90% of all the world’s volcanic activity occurs under the oceans. The largest living structure is the Great Barrier Reef which can be seen from the moon. Corals recycle the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to create their exoskeletons, sounds very similar to a carbon sink!

The oceans are not just important for our oxygen production and the diversity of life but they create livelihoods and food for millions of people.

Will you be tuning in to any of the scheduled talks for 2021’s World Ocean Day?

Thanks for reading, and stay wild!

Christine xx

30 Days Wild 2021 – Day Seven.

07Day 7: A new series for 30 Days Wild 2021, Mindful Mondays, were we take time out of our busy days and slow down, breathe and experience nature each sense at a time. 

Today’s theme for Mindful Monday is to visit a wild place. Over the weekend I decided to visit the RSPB’s Burton Mere on the Wirral. Since David has a new camera he let me take out his old Nikon. It was my first time using a SLR so some of my photos weren’t great but I did get some decent shots of a shelduck, reed warbler and black headed gull chicks. There was a strange gurgling sound from trees high up in the canopy and a host of spoonbills were sunning themselves there. They are curious birds and were getting a lot of attention from the visitors that day.

During our visit we had a fly by from a secretive bittern but both David and I were too slow to photograph this enigmatic bird. 

While walking the boardwalks there were many bees buzzing around and small white butterflies fed on green alkanet, which is a very popular plant for insects. The sound of warblers punctured the sun baked air with their shrill calls and squabbles between coots and moorhens were abundant. 

We only spent a couple of hours at the reserve, but we see something different each time we visit.

What’s your favourite nature reserve near you?

Thanks for reading, and stay wild!

Christine xx

30 Days Wild 2021 – Day Six.

06Day 6: As part of today’s 30 Days Wild, a talk with Springwatch and The Wildlife Trusts’ ambassador, Hannah Stitfall is scheduled for 6pm to 7pm, entitled, Webcam Wildlife, you can sign up for the hour long talk here.

Webcams and camera traps are a great way to discover wildlife in your garden. Hannah chats to a panel of experts about their experiences, offering practical hints and tips for your own camera traps. 

I’ve already signed up for the talk and it got me thinking about the footage I have recorded in the past of wildlife and the webcams I watch.

At present the only webcam I am watching is the Dyfi Osprey Project. I have mentioned this webcam before but 2021 is the first year I have tuned in daily. The unrivaled footage focuses on an osprey nest in mid-Wales. This year Telyn and Idris have raised two chicks. It’s addictive viewing! You can watch too, here

Dyfi Ospreys 2021

Dyfi Ospreys 2021

My own attempts at setting up a camera trap has been limited. I’ve had video cameras running while participating in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch and caught many feathered visitors visiting my feeders. However, I’ve only left a camera out in the hope of getting a closer idea of the wildlife that visits once, and then I knew that space would be visited frequently. Below are a few of the birds I have caught on camera.

Have you caught any good wildlife footage on a trail camera before? If so, what did you see?

Thanks for reading, and stay wild!

Christine xx

30 Days Wild 2021 – Day Five.

05Day 5: The UN’s World Environment Day has been celebrated annually since 1974, and highlights environmental issues. 2021’s campaign and for the next decade is to: re-imagine, recreate and restore ecosystems around the globe. The World Health Organisation (WHO) have also joined in with this mission. The UN’s website states: ‘that every three seconds a forest the size of a football pitch is lost, we have destroyed half of our wetlands, and up to 90% of coral reefs could be lost by the year 2050. These areas are called carbon sinks and absorb harmful carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The loss of these ecosystems is contributing to global warming impacting on climate change.

But what is an ecosystem?

serc simplified_diagram_typical_ecosyste

Info-gram from Carleton College website

The definition of an ecosystem is the interactions between living species (animals, trees, people) and the non living organisms, (soil, water, sunshine). These interactions create an interconnected system and if one part is disrupted it has a knock on effect on the whole system.

There are seven main types of ecosystem:

  1. Forest
  2. Reef
  3. Peatland
  4. Desert
  5. Mountain
  6. Sea
  7. Savanna

However, there are many more like tundras, rivers, coastal and grasslands. There are even artificial ecosystems too, like cities and our own back gardens!

So, for 2021’s World Environment Day pledge to make a small contribution for the benefit of any of the above ecosystems, such as: plant trees, rewild gardens, use peat free compost, shop local, reduce single use plastics, go vegan (even for a day!), do a beach clean and litter pick when out and about etc…

The tag line for 2021’s World Environment Day is: This is our moment. We cannot turn back time. But we can grow trees, green our cities, rewild our gardens, change our diets and clean up rivers and coasts. We are the generation that can make peace with nature. Let’s get active, not anxious. Let’s be bold, not timid. 

Will you be doing anything to help our ecosystems?

Thanks for reading, and stay wild!

Christine xx