My June

This June has been a tough month for me. With lots going on at home and then blogging everyday for The Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days Wild, it’s left me feeling exhausted and burned out!

One positive from seeking out nature daily, is that David and I spent a few days out at a couple of nature reserves in the North West. These days were balm for a stressed out soul. As David recently got a new camera, his old Nikon dslr was just gathering dust, so I have been taking it out on our trips to Burton Mere, Brockholes and Lunt Meadows. Here’s a few of my favourite shots that I took.

This June we have been watching season 18 of Dragon’s Den and re-watching Dexter to get us up to speed when the new series airs this autumn.

Last weekend was Riley’s gotcha day! We have been the proud owners of Riley for the past 12 years! Happy gotcha day Riley!

For the past two weeks we have been caring for a regular visitor of ours, Hoppy. She was found weak and unable to fly, so David managed to catch her and we have been caring for her since then. We sent samples of Hoppy’s droppings to the Pigeon Testing Centre and her results came back for worms and coccidiosis. We have treated her for both and hope she recovers. Fingers crossed! Then a week ago David caught another sick pigeon who we named Harri. We have our hands full as you can see!

Update: We fought so much to make Hoppy better, but she gained her angel wings on 29th June. Rest in peace Hoppy, you were a beautiful, elegant pigeon and were much loved. I shall miss looking out for you among our pigeon visitors. 😥

That was my June, how was yours?

Take care,

Christine x

30 Days Wild 2021 – Day Thirty.

82952539_3891626650909438_7747516978942177272_oDay 30: 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.

For today’s RAW, I’ve decided to check up on my wildflower seeds and hoverfly lagoon.

wildflower seedlings

wildflower seedlings

I’ve had more success with the wildflower seeds than the hoverfly lagoon. Quite a few of the seeds have sprouted and looking good for flowering come the following months. When inspecting the hoverfly lagoon, all I spotted was decomposing grass and leaves with quite an obnoxious smell. I had to cover my nose! I didn’t see any rat-tailed maggots unfortunately, but I’ll keep the lagoon for the rest of the summer and see how it goes. 

I have found this years 30 Days Wild rather hard to complete, especially the final 14 days. I’ve been so exhausted from travelling to work and back and then stresses at home. It’s been a real struggle, but I can say, I’ve achieved what I didn’t think I could, that of posting every day for 30 days! Some of the post may have been below par, but I’ve tried to write about a mix of wildlife and nature in the UK and on my doorstep. 

Here’s a recap of what I got up to!

June 2021 started off with a bang with the Big Wild Breakfast, the following days saw me looking for insects and finding crustaceans, visiting RSPB Burton Mere and Wildlife Trusts’ reserves, Brockholes and Lunt Meadows. I did a litter pick in my local park and took a walk to a nearby cemetery. I spotted a surprising flower growing along the streets of Liverpool, flax and photographed stunning wildflowers.  

I hope you have enjoyed following my 2021 30 Days Wild. It’s been tough!

For the final time, thanks for reading, and stay wild!

Christine xx

30 Days Wild 2021 – Day Twenty-six.

103978469_3891626427576127_4930657406489477803_o (1)Day 26: For today’s 30 Days Wild, David and I spent a leisurely two hours walking around the recently re-opened Lunt Meadows Nature Reserve. It had been closed since February 2021 due to the River Alt bursting its banks and flooding the reserve. Lunt Meadows is a flood storage area but I don’t think visitors thought it would be closed for so long! It was nice to be back and see the changes the volunteers and Wildlife Trusts’ have made to the site. New pools and paths and lots of wildflowers had been sown. I took David’s camera along with us and below are a few of my snaps. 

Where is your favourite nature reserve?

Thanks for reading, and stay wild!

Christine xx

30 Days Wild 2021 – Day Twenty-five.

84089555_3891626394242797_3198285049070949385_oDay 25: Continuing a theme from the past two years, Close Up, where I throw a spotlight on a given species and delve a little deeper. These Close up days will be on Fridays for 2021!

Today’s Close Up will be all about the fastest bird in the world – the peregrine falcon.

In the 19th and 20th centuries numbers of peregrine falcons declined rapidly due to persecution from humans and the introduction of pesticides such as DDT. The use of DDT increased adult mortality and caused the thinning of egg shells, resulting in many breaking and the parents unable to breed. By the 1960’s 80% of the UK peregrine population had been lost! There was another population decline in the 1990’s but the cause is unknown. Since these dark days the numbers of peregrines are slowly increasing, and city residents are faring better than their countryside brethren.

In the past, peregrines were found in the north and west of the UK, however in recent years they have been spreading south. They do not migrate and most stay within 100km of their hatching. The peregrine is our largest falcon, and can reach speeds of up to 200mph as they stoop or dive for its prey.

In cities they prey on pigeons but have a wide and varied diet from garden birds to wading birds. They are very territorial and nest on cliff ledges but in cities nest on tall structures, such as cathedrals. The breeding season begins in March-April and the female will lay 3-4 eggs with incubation up to a month. The male will provide food. The chicks take up to two months to be independent and up to a third will reach breeding age. The lifespan of a peregrine is around five years. 20% of the European population of peregrines live in the UK. The main threat to peregrines is illegal persecution especially on grouse moors.

Have you seen a peregrine falcon? I briefly spotted one on a walk a few years ago at Raven Crag, the Lake District.

Thanks for reading, and stay wild!

Christine xx


Further Reading:

https://www.bto.org/our-science/projects/peregrine-survey/results

http://www.london-peregrine-partnership.org.uk/peregrine-info.html

https://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/visit-what-see/peregrine-falcons-live-stream

https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/peregrine/#:~:text=Peregrines%20can%20often%20be%20found,lovers%20spot%20these%20stunning%20birds.

https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/peregrine/population-numbers-and-trends/

https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildlife-explorer/birds/birds-prey/peregrine-falcon

https://derbyperegrines.blogspot.com/p/our-webcams.html

30 Days Wild 2021 – Day Twenty-four.

104207573_3891626367576133_9214631175886913806_oDay 24: In keeping with tradition, Thursday’s are Throw Back Thursdays, where I take a look back on what Random Acts of Wildness I did for 30 Days Wild since 2015!

In 2020 I sketched an elephant hawk moth. I got up close with dragonflies in 2019 and visited Brereton Heath Nature Reserve in 2018. I spent an hour at Sanky Valley Country Park in 2017 and made an attempt to make a moth trap in 2016. Finally, in 2015 I watched a wildlife camera.

For 2021, though the weather has taken a turn I’ll try and make a moth trap. I’ll use a white cloth and light to entice the night fliers in. For this post I shall focus briefly on a day flying moth, the cinnabar.

cinnabar moth

cinnabar moth

Due to the colouring of the cinnabar, this medium sized moth is easily confused with a butterfly. The cinnabar can fly both day and night and it’s red and black markings signal it is poisons to hungry predators. The toxin is ingested by the adult’s yellow and black caterpillar which feasts on the ragwort plant. They over winter as cocoons and emerge as adults in the summer. The cinnabar is widespread across the UK but prefers coastal habitats. Cinnabar’s are named after an ore of the metal Mercury, cinnabar was used by artists for its red pigment.

Have you spotted this moth flying where you live?

Thanks for reading, and stay wild!

Christine xx

30 Days Wild 2021 – Day Twenty-two.

104131707_3891626307576139_3708370680052442488_oDay 22: This week is National Insect Week, an initiative by the Royal Entomological Society, to highlight the conservation of insects. To celebrate this event, I decided to do a pitfall trap in the yarden. Here’s what I found!

On lifting out the cup from the pitfall I discovered many springtails, no longer considered insects but hexapods, and one scared woodlouse which is a crustacean.  

Have you tried a pitfall trap yourself? If so what species did you discover?

Thanks for reading, and stay wild!

Christine xx

30 Days Wild 2021 – Day Twenty-one.

83241275_3891626297576140_5949538545065910688_oDay 21: 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 is the Summer Solstice. The UK will have 16 hours and 38 minutes of daylight. The sun will rise at 4.52am and will set at 9.26pm. The solstice marks the beginning of astronomical summer. Sadly, the hours of daylight after the Longest Day become shorter.

For today’s Mindful Monday, I shall watch the sunset.

I’ve not been particularly successful in catching sunsets, below is one a few weeks ago. Tonight, on the longest day, I shall watch as the sun dips beyond the horizon and savoir the last light of this solstice.

Sunset

How will you be celebrating the Summer Solstice?

Thanks for reading, and stay wild!

Christine xx

30 Days Wild 2021 – Day Twenty.

103963342_3891626257576144_6629027606530117153_oDay 20: As part of The Wildlife Trust’ Big Wild Weekend, for 30 days Wild, today is the Big Wild Quiz!

At 3pm there is a Big Wild Kid’s Quiz. Then at 7pm the Big Wild Quiz, for adults! David and I joined in last years quiz and it was very enjoyable. A perfect way to spend a Sunday. So this year we will be tuning in once again.

big wild quiz

Will you be joining in?

Thanks for reading, and stay wild!

Christine

30 Days Wild 2021 – Day Nineteen.

104103508_3891626234242813_7741456423329691503_oDay 19: Today’s Random Act of Wildness for 30 Days Wild, is to visit a Wildlife Trusts’ Nature Reserve.

David chose the 250 acre reserve of Brockholes nr Preston, with its woodland, meadows, pools and reed beds. This year, Brockholes is celebrating 10 years of wildlife! We spent three hours walking around the reserve, watching damselflies flit along the paths, and dragonflies hum about like mini helicopters. The four spotted chaser was a new species for me. Of the flora there were common spotted and marsh orchids. Of the avian life we spotted oyster catchers, a male reed bunting (another first sighting), visiting common terns (or sea swallows), a summer visitor to the UK (another first), and a kestrel sand bathing! We had a perfect day out and here’s some of my photos I managed to capture with David’s Nikon. 

What’s your favourite nature reserve?

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