Thursday, 11 June 2015

30 Days of Wild - Day 10 - Patch

Having a patch is where it all began for me, starting from the bottom up, learning the basics, learning the patterns of annual cycles and seasons, and the idea of migration. It gives you a sense of belonging, a second home, and personal relationships with its inhabitants. There's no greater tool for learning, appreciation, or the development of a passion than a patch.

The excitement of seeing a new species, or behaviour never ceases on a patch, and it always seems to know when to deliver, reminding you of that spark, where it all began.

My first Holywell Long-Eared Owl!

30 Days of wild - Day 9 - Subtle pieces of magic...

30 Days of Wild - Day 8 - The Skylark

At this time of year, the Northumbrian hills, meadows, grassland, farmland and dunes are full of song. One song dominates all, usually heard from high above, at unbelievable heights the Skylark makes itself known. 

The rolls and harrows lie at rest beside
The battered road; and spreading far and wide
Above the russet clods, the corn is seen
Sprouting its spiry points of tender green,
Where squats the hare, to terrors wide awake,
Like some brown clod the harrows failed to break.
Opening their golden caskets to the sun,
The buttercups make schoolboys eager run,
To see who shall be first to pluck the prize—
Up from their hurry, see, the skylark flies,
And o'er her half-formed nest, with happy wings
Winnows the air, till in the cloud she sings,
Then hangs a dust-spot in the sunny skies,
And drops, and drops, till in her nest she lies,
Which they unheeded passed—not dreaming then
That birds which flew so high would drop agen
To nests upon the ground, which anything
May come at to destroy. Had they the wing
Like such a bird, themselves would be too proud,
And build on nothing but a passing cloud!
As free from danger as the heavens are free
From pain and toil, there would they build and be,
And sail about the world to scenes unheard
Of and unseen—Oh, were they but a bird!
So think they, while they listen to its song,
And smile and fancy and so pass along;
While its low nest, moist with the dews of morn,
Lies safely, with the leveret, in the corn.

The Skylark by John Clare

30 Days of Wild - Day 7 - Twitch

Twitching is always fraught with opinions and personalities but it's a brilliant way to observe the movements of none UK species. It allows you to see the global connections some of these species travel in, and how far out of their way they can get. Tracking the individual journey of certain species, through the use of modern technology and personal observations by birdwatchers all over the UK, Europe and the World builds the possibilities of some of the best travelling stories. 

Spoonbills, sleeping at Cresswell Pond.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

30 Days of Wild - Day 5 & 6 - Immerse yourself...

Flowers are everywhere, the meadows are in almost full bloom. I've spent quite of a bit of time loosing myself in meadows over the past couple of years, and I'm pleased to be back in them. At first glance, a few pieces of colour catch your eye, enough to draw you in. Once your in thats it, you can't escape, your mind and senses can't stay still. Where to look? What to smell? Who's buzzing? Where to begin? 

Before you know the surrounding world has been lost, and you've arrived on a completely different planet. You haven't flown here, you haven't took the train or boat, you haven't even driven here, you've simply stepped in, and your mind and perceptions have been opened for you. Thats the beauty of it.

Wild Flowers seem to be abundant this year in the North East, and with new local efforts, you can experience meadow like environments almost everywhere. Some of those road verges are looking stunning!

30 Days of Wild - Day 4 - Citizen Science

Citizen Science has never been so accessible, or so valuable. Our world is beginning to change at a rate we can't keep up with, but citizen science projects are helping to gain vast quantities of data across the board. Last week we began recording some of Mull's plant species, with the National Plant Monitoring Scheme.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

30 Days of Wild - Day 3 - The Unexpected

I headed down to the Co-op today to buy some dinner, I struggled to find somewhere to park, squeezing into one of the smaller bays. I cross the road and joined the hustle and bustle of the busy high street, bumping shoulders with a man coming out of the shops. The Co-op was chocker, everyone stocking up, shoulder to shoulder in the clearance section. 10 minutes in the que for the tills and I was out, back onto the bustling high street.

In the distant I spotted a distinctive shape, logging on the surface of the water. An Otter! Two steps out of the door of a Co-op, on a bustling high street. This Co-op is on the Isle of Mull, and does outlook onto Tobermory harbour, but it reminded me how important it is to never switch off.