June was and will always be all about The Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days Wild, an annual challenge, asking participants to do something nature based each day for 30 days. Though I may not have blogged every day this year (I’ve been feeling too jaded for that – and there’s lots going on behind the scenes here too), I managed to post daily on Instagram. Here’s a small recap of some of the wild things that I’ve been doing this June.
I’ve Visited Brockholes and Lunt Meadows, Wildlife Trusts’ Nature Reserves, wild swam in Brothers Water, the Lake District. Spotted Wild flowers while on a walk to work. Gave a bumblebee sugar water for energy, watched lovely sunsets. Enjoyed a trip to the beach and discovered apples growing on my apple tree.
Have you spotted any wildlife where you live? What have been your highlights?
Where has the year 2021 gone? It only seems like yesterday that we were hopefully welcoming in the new year and wishing it would be better than 2020. Though this year has been fraught with worries and more uncertainty, nature, as always has been a constant companion. A quietude among the madness of life. Here’s my wildlife moments of 2021!
I live in quite a built up area of Liverpool and the amount of wildlife that frequents my small walled, inner city terraced yarden is truly amazing. If you look closely, wildlife is everywhere and certain species herald the seasons! I know that spring is around the corner when I spy a passing chiffchaff hunting hungrily for insects in my yarden before it moves on to better pastures.
The yarden is a haven to an array of avian species; this year I managed to save a stunned baby goldfinch who recovered after 30 mintues of heat therapy. Then there is of course the male sparrowhawk who has been visiting over the autumn. The small birds may not like him, but I think he is spectacular!
One mammal that was seen frequently during the summer months in the yarden and gave me such a buzz whenever I saw him/her was Batty, the common pipistrelle (I think). Like clockwork, after sundown, Batty would appear swooping and looping as he/she hunted the midges and moths that the yarden flowers attract. Bats are fantastic!
For The Wildlife Trusts’30 Days Wild this year, I made a hoverfly lagoon. Though I was not sure if it was successful, I did notice more hoverflies in the yarden than usual. So, perhaps it was.
Another insect that was a first for me this year was a four spotted chaser which I photographed at Brockholes Nature Reserve.
Other highlights from a nature filled day out at Brockholes, was my first ever sighting of a common tern, a male reed bunting, Kevin the Kestrel hunting and having a dust bath, as well as an abundance of marsh orchids around the reserve.
Wildflowers have been the star of Liverpool this 2021. They sprouted in parks all over the city. Among the colourful displays was the gorgeous cosmos. Also during a walk around the city, I came across a strange flower to be growing along the sidewalk, a common flax. Not sure how that seeded itself there!
I’ve noticed recently that in my local park, a kestrel has moved in. Not sure if it’s just one or several but it’s nice so see him/her flying around when I’m standing waiting for the bus to work. I’ve also spotted a buzzard scouting the park too and one day I managed to get a photo, though sadly only on my phone.
During our wonderful week away to The Trossachs in Scotland, we spied hungry red squirrels and a great spotted woodpecker all enjoying the peanuts on the cabin feeders.
This year I’ve also been lucky enough to see some stunning sunrise and sunsets.
David and I kept our memberships with the RSPB and The Wildlife Trusts’ this year and enjoyed many days out. At Burton Mere we were serenaded by a very gregarious reed warbler and photographed a bowl of spoonbills
During our visit to Leighton Moss, we saw a great white egret and there was a stand off between a dragonfly and a fly!
At Lunt Meadows, we spent half an hour with a family of swallows and I snapped a picture of a greylag goose and a black tailed godwit.
I’ve enjoyed looking back at all the wildlife I’ve been lucky enough to see? What wildlife moments of 2021 have you enjoyed?
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. 😥
Day 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.
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.
Big Wild Breakfast
Toxteth Park Cemetery
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!
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.
Day 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.
peregrine chicks jack perks-alamy stock photo
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.
Day 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.
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.
Day 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.
Day 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.