30 Days Wild 2017

It’s the 1st of July and that means that the Wildlife Trust’s annual month-long challenge of #30dayswild is over for another year.

Last year, I wrote a blog every day for #30dayswild but this year I’ve had to settle for a tweet – so this is my retrospective of highlights from June 2017.

I am incredibly lucky to have a job which, along with writing reports and assessments, also gets me out in the wild to undertake surveys. Despite this, here are my top tips for engaging with wildlife on a day to day basis.

#1 Get out every day!

This might seem like an obvious one, but there”s nearly always time to connect with nature if you make the space. If I am in the office for a day, I always get out at lunchtime, rain or shine, for some fresh air and exercise. Sometimes I’ll have a target in mind – visiting the wool carder bees down in the Sensory Garden in town for example. Other times I’ll just wander, but never yet have I returned without encountering something unexpected – whether this is a grasshopper landing on my hand or finding a new orchid colony in the wind and rain. If you’re receptive to the wildlife around you, there will be something to intrigue you! The following photographs are all lunchtime encounters:

#2 Keep your eyes peeled for surprises

When I’m out and about on surveys, we had particular targets in mind. One day we might be surveying for newts, other times we’ll be carrying out habitat surveys or scoping for suitable bat roosting trees. But the opportunity to be out and about provides ample opportunity to witness something new – here are a few from surveys during June:

 

 

 

#3 Spend time in your garden

Spending a day out in the garden at a weekend allows an insight into all the activity and life which occurs every day when I’m out at work. There’s something special about wildlife in your garden – especially if they are attracted by, or using, things which you have provided for them – be this native wildflowers for the bees; the pond for damselflies; or the log pile for woodlouse spiders and frogs.

I am aware that I’m lucky to have a garden and some people do not have this space – but the principle still applies to a local park or even a patch of grassland at the road verge. I always feel a stronger connection with wildlife close to home, which you don’t need a special trip to see.

 

 

#4 Take the time to visit somewhere special

Despite stating that wildlife close to home feels particularly special in #3 above, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take the opportunity to explore somewhere new and exciting when you can. The Wildlife Trust manage some incredibly diverse and exciting reserves around the country, and the vast majority are free to explore.

I love the Nature Finder App which the Trust have produced – this maps their reserves and will show you which ones are close to you, along with details of what you might find there. As I travel around a fair bit, there are often opportunities to call by somewhere new and see something unique. When you’re planning a long journey, I would urge you to check it out and find somewhere magical to stop off on the way. Or use it simply to find somewhere new closer to home.

These are all opportunistic stop-offs when I was driving close by in June:

 

 

#5 It doesn’t hurt to have a holiday booked in the middle of #30dayswild!

We had an amazing week away in the Dolomites at the beginning of June and spent the time walking the mountains and valleys and experiencing some amazing flora. If you feel like perusing the photographs, you can read more in my blog post here. Otherwise, here are a few #30dayswild highlights!

 

 

 

 

 

#6 Keep it going!

Why stop at #30dayswild – keep up the habit and enjoy wildlife all year round – you can tweet #365dayswild to share your experiences and don’t forget the Wildlife Trusts who have masterminded this campaign – they do some excellent work preserving some of our most precious sites but they need your support!

  1. Find your local Wildlife Trust here.
  2. Get the Naturefinder app here.
  3. And keep up to date on the latest news from the WIldlife Trusts here!
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30 Days Wild – Week 3

For the last month, all through June, I’ve been taking part in #30dayswild. Now that June has come to an end, I am looking back on the activities which kept me feeling connected to nature through the month. The following post summarises Week 3 – feel free to click through the links to read more about any of these activities!

Week 4 summaries will follow!

Day 15 – Wildflowers and Stormy Skies
Another thundery showery day when the temptation is to stay inside. Resist it! Getting out and about and seeing how different the earth is after a good downpour makes an excellent activity for #30d…

Source: 30 Days Wild – Day 15

Day 16 – Wildflowers and Stormy Skies
Another grey showery day – has nobody informed the weather that it’s supposed to be June? After a dawn bat survey, where the dawn chorus was the only activity I witnessed, I called by a…

Source: 30 Days Wild – Day 16

Day 17 – Finding new local Orchid colonies
I’ve been tempted into visiting some beautiful sites recently – mostly Wildlife Trust sites from the excellent NatureFinder App. Many of these sites have some exciting species which you…

Source: 30 Days Wild – Day 17

Day 18 – Damselflies in the Garden Pond
A pond is certainly one of the best ways to encourage wildlife into your garden. I spent a while watching ours today – the constant coming and going of honey bees is one of the most interesti…

Source: 30 Days Wild – Day 18

Day 19 – Contributing to #Wildflowerhour
I would urge everybody who has an interest in botany to get involved with the #wildflowerhour on a Sunday evening between 8 and 9pm – it’s a great opportunity to share your sightings an…

Source: 30 Days Wild – Day 19

Day 20 – Cygnets along the Grantham Canal
Sometimes, opportunities to connect with nature are hard to come by – today was a busy day with meetings, lots of office work and a few days of overnight surveys to prepare for when I got hom…

Source: 30 Days Wild – Day 20

Day 21 – A visit to Shadowbrook Meadows
Plenty of opportunities to connect with nature today – I spent a day out tree climbing inspecting potential features for roosting bats. We didn’t find any bats but a treecreeper nest wi…

Source: 30 Days Wild – Day 21

30 Days Wild – Week 2

For the last month, all through June, I’ve been taking part in #30dayswild. Now that June has come to an end, I am looking back on the activities which kept me feeling connected to nature through the month. The following post summarises Week 2 – feel free to click through the links to read more about any of these activities!

Weeks 3-4 summaries will follow!

Day 8 – Invertebrates and helleborines

I write this post from the shelter of the car as the rain hammers down outside – fingers crossed it passes in time for tonight’s bat survey! I was lucky enough to spend a good portion o…

Source: 30 Days Wild – Day 8

Day 9 – Insects on hogweed

Today began with a bat survey, where there was little to be seen in the way of bats activity but plenty of swallows who started chirping away a good 90 minutes before sunrise and taking to the wing…

Source: 30 Days Wild – Day 9

Day 10 – Wildflowers along the Grantham Canal

I left early this morning to give me chance to walk along the Grantham Canal before work – I love the stretch between Grantham and Harlaxton which runs in a cutting, the habitat shifting from…

Source: 30 Days Wild – Day 10

Day 11 – Painted Lady Butterfly

We took a walk out around home this afternoon and spotted this very tattered painted lady butterfly feeding on the hogweed flowers. It had lost chunks from its wings and was far from a pristine spe…

Source: 30 Days Wild – Day 11

Day 12 – Urban Botany

I think one of the single best things about botany is the ability to enjoy it just about anywhere. As Sunday was so overcast and rainy, I decided to head off to the Depot Climbing Centre in Notting…

Source: 30 Days Wild – Day 12

Day 13 – Orchids

Day 13 of 30 Days Wild is pretty grim and overcast here in the midlands, but don’t let that put you off getting out and about! The rain awakens so many scents from the earth and vegetation th…

Source: 30 Days Wild – Day 13

Day 14 – Moorhens along the River Wytham

A dawn bat survey started the day, followed by a morning in the office so my attention was starting to flag a little by lunchtime. Luckily, our office is only 5 minutes walk from the River Witham w…

Source: 30 Days Wild – Day 14

30 Days Wild – Week 1

For the last month, all through June, I’ve been taking part in #30dayswild. Now that June has come to an end, I am looking back on the activities which kept me feeling connected to nature through the month. The following post summarises Week 1 – feel free to click through the links to read more about any of these activities!

Weeks 2-4 summaries will follow!

Day 1 – Bat Survey

I started Day 1 of 30 Days Wild at 2:30am when I set a very early alarm to carry out a bat survey. Despite the murky conditions, the night had been damp but without rain, and the dawn temperature o…

Source: 30 Days Wild – Day 1

Day 2 – Meeting a Mayfly

The arrival of the mayflies – those famously short-lived river dwellers – is one of the most dramatic events in early summer. Their appearance is of interest to many more species than j…

Source: 30 Days Wild – Day 2

Day 3 – Common Blue Butterflies
I called in at a Warwickshire Wildlife Trust site on my way home from site survey to see whether the butterfly orchids were yet in flower. I found several spikes where the first flowers were openin…

Source: 30 Days Wild – Day 3

Day 4 – Wildflowers in the Garden
It is often said that a weed is simply a flower in the wrong place. I would consider that any flower which adds life and colour to a drab lawn has found it’s right place, and so I went out in…

Source: 30 Days Wild – Day 4

Day 5 – Sunset in a Wildflower Meadow
For Day 5 of 30 Days Wild, I walked out to a local National Nature REserve (NNR) called Muston Meadows to watch the sun go down. As I spend much of the summer doing bat surveys, I do get to see my …

Source: 30 Days Wild – Day 5

 Day 6 – Recording a Cuckoo Bee on iRecord
The blue skies and sunshine first thing this morning made a walk around the garden a must-do before heading into work. I spotted a bumblebee on one of the ornamental garden shrubs which looked rath…

Source: 30 Days Wild – Day 6

Day 7 – Orange -tip Butterflies along the Viking Way
Taking the time to watch nature, rather than simply notice it and keep on walking, is an immensely rewarding experience. There is much information available on so many species, but sometimes it is …

Source: 30 Days Wild – Day 7