A Year in Wildlife 2022

Wow! What a year it’s been for wildlife spotting!

During 2022 I’ve been using David’s old Nikon DSLR and have been able to capture some wildlife not seen before.

Who would have thought that in January a Chiffchaff would be the nature highlight of the month!

Chiffchaff

A wildflower called ivy-leaved toad flax was found growing outside our front door. Though some see this beetle as a pest, it was lovely to see the iridescent colours of this Lavender beetle brighten up the yarden, while a day flying moth, angle shades was found resting on our front wall.

It was another year that batty graced our yarden with their presence hunting for moths and midges. It always makes me smile when I see Batty flitting around the yarden.

As we continue to garden for wildlife, pollinators such as ashy mining, hairy footed flower and white tailed bumblebees all visited the yarden this year.

I bought a discovery apple tree in March and it flowered and bore fruit in its first year!

Our first ever sighting of this Hummingbird Hawk Moth, looking for nectar was one of the best highlights of 2022!

Hummingbird Hawkmoth

I spent a lot of time outdoors for #30DaysWild and visited Brocholes and Lunt Meadow Nature Reserves, where we spotted dragonflies, such as black tailed skimmers and four sport chasers. This white throat perched nicely for a photograph, and there seemed to be lots of butterflies about. David got some great photos of the resident Roe deer and fox at Brockholes.

It was yet another year of wonderful wildlfowers springing up wherever there was an empty patch of land.

In August we spent a week holidaying in Scotland. We visited Loch of the Lowes, where they have nesting Ospreys. On arrival we heard the young calling for fish and two hours later were lucky enough to see both young on the nest.

Our boat house was on the shore of Loch Tay and I went swimming in the rain and during a night swim, had bats circling and hunting around me.

From the forest around the boat house, a lone Tawny Owl hooted solemnly.

The sparrowhawk visited the yarden again!

Female Sparrowhawk

For my birthday this year, we visited RSPB Leighton Moss and finally got to see the bearded tits and even a cute, tiny goldcrest.

There has been some lovely sunrises and some astounding sunsets.

Clouds have been one of the star attractions in 2022. These mammatus clouds loomed ominously as we drove home from scotland.

Mammatus Clouds

To finish off it’s been a year of many Rainbows.

How wild has your year been?

Thanks for reading,

Christine x

A Week at Osprey

I’ve been really neglecting my blog of late but I have a reason for that, and that is…

I’ve a new job! I got a full time job at the cardio-respiratory dept at the New Royal, doing general reception/admin work. I’ve been there over two months and still enjoying it!

A few weeks into my new job, we had a week booked at a boathouse on the shores of Loch Tay. The week before the UK had temperatures reaching the early 30°s but during our week in Scotland, it felt more autumnal. In fact the water was warmer than the air temperature!

Loch Tay is the sixth largest loch in Scotland, 15 miles long and 508ft deep. It shelved off pretty quickly from our beach by the boathouse and made for a dark, mysterious swim.

The boathouse we stayed in was called Osprey. A bird that has caught my wonder these past few years. So it was fated that we should holiday there. Here’s some photos of the boathouse and the lovely roe deer that walked silently around the wooded shore.

On our journey north it rained constantly, and the rain didn’t let up during my first swim that evening. It was a splashily, wonderful swim, with mist caressing the mountains and raindrops piercing the water.

Our second day dawned a little drier and after breakfast we headed out in search of a loch or two to swim in. I had planned on doing a few swims that week, but in reality, some of the lochs were difficult to get to. The first one was Loch Kennard which looked nice on Google maps but not with a massive deforestation happening all around. We drove further up the road towards Loch Freuchie but we couldn’t find anywhere to park, so decidedly deterred, we headed back towards the boathouse and ended up doing a circula waterfall walk called the Falls of Acharn which were pleasant enough. If it was good enough for Robert Burns and the Wordsworth’s then it was good enough for David and I.

After lunch we headed to the shores of Loch Tay where I had my second swim. It was a very windy, choppy affair.

Day three was our best day!

We got up for the sunrise, but I wasn’t feeling it for a swim, so I enjoyed the show from the shore.

Later on that morning we drove towards Loch of the Lowes, a small, picturesque nature reserve where ospreys breed. This year their adults had reared two chicks. On arrival we heard a begging chick chirrup for a fish dinner but when we entered the hides, we had to wait over an hour to see an osprey. We were very lucky as we saw both chicks and David managed to get some good photos. Mine I took from the telescopes. I was elated to have seen an osprey or two but we were chilled to the bone from the cold wind blowing over the reserve.

That afternoon, the sun seemed to gain some warmth and we drove a little further down the road to Loch of Clunie. We found some off road parking and I went for another swim. It was the warmest swim of the holiday, at 20° but it was the shallowest! I waded out for what seemed like miles to get some swimmable depths.

That evening after returning back to the boathouse, I enjoyed the best night swim I’ve ever had! The water was still, moths flew overhead, bats circled around me and a male tawny owl hooted from the shore. It was a magical experience. I’m not sure it can be bettered!

Day four dawned gloomily. We took a long drive towards the shores of Loch Rannoch. It needn’t have been as long but I’d planned on swimming from a certain point and when we got there the car park was closed, so we had to find an alternative entrance. I can’t say I enjoyed the swim that much as it was rather choppy, and I was frozen to the bone by the chilling wind.

I had planned on another swim at Loch Faskally but being rather cold I decided I’d had enough and we headed back to the boathouse to enjoy our last remaining evening.

With a glass or two of wine in me, wrapped up in a blanket and listening to relaxing classical music, I sat on the veranda and watched as the gloaming settled. Bats flew over the surface of the lake, clouds parted revealing a bright half moon, and ducks snuffled on the beach below. It was a most relaxing evening.

I would definitely recommend staying at a loch side cabin, whether at Loch Tay or another loch. I may not have had the amount of swims I did as last years holiday to the Trossachs but sharing my moments with wildlife, being ospreys or hooting tawny owls was magical!

Have you shared a wonderful moment with wildlife?

Thanks for reading,

Christine x

Looking Ahead – 2022

Truthfully, I’ve been feeling rather overwhelmed and worried about what the future holds this new year. There was and still is some health concerns regarding David, and then there’s the squeeze on the cost of living here in the UK. However, I’m fed up of feeling sad and was wondering what to write for my next blog. I have to admit my previous posts have not been filled with much joy! So, I decided to write a post that looked ahead with optimism, to all the good things I’ve planned for 2022. Here’s with faith my hopes and plans for the year go ahead.

Hopefully, I’ll finally get to see Hans Zimmer Live! Booked in 2020! It’s easy to almost forget that I’d booked tickets to see this as it was supposed to be for 2021.

Hans Zimmer Live

I love going to the theatre and have not been since 2020, so I went and booked seats for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at Liverpool Empire. I’ve read the Mark Haddon book but can’t remember the synopsis. I’ll have to read the book again before watching the play!

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

To celebrate our 16 year anniversary, I’ve booked a few days away to The Lake District this March. Of course we are staying with Phil and Helen, the lovely proprietors of Hermiston Guest House. I hope to revisit some lakes such as Ullswater in preparation for a forthcoming YouTube project.

The Knowsley Borough of Culture celebrations, have planned a sculpture trail of 30 pairs of owls and cats in commemoration of Edward Lear who penned the famous poem The Owl and the Pussycat while staying at Knowsley Hall with the then Earl of Derby in 1871. So, I will be looking forward to following this trail as I’ve not been on a sculpture trail since the robins at Nottingham and The Snowman Trail at Manchester in 2018! It’s been too long!

Much to David’s consternation, I loved staying at the lochside cabin by Loch Venachar, The Trossach’s. So when a week in August became free for me, I just had to book and plan another swim holiday to Scotland. This time booking a rather pricey boathouse on the shore of Loch Tay. I simply can’t wait to stay at this luxurious cabin and experience some wonderful Scottish wildlife and scenery!

2022 also sees the 10 year anniversaries of both the passing of my father Graham, and of buying our first home. Where have those 10 years gone?

Of course I’ve lots of other plans inside my head, I wonder if any of them will be realised?

What exciting opportunities lie ahead for you in 2022?

Thanks for reading,

Christine x