With the familiar intro tune of Springwatch filling my living room every evening, the beginning of June has certainly been nature-packed and I have managed to do something wild each day as part of the Wildlife Trusts #30DaysWild challenge. I admit that some activites have been a little less wild than others, but all of my ‘Random Acts of Wildness’ have connected me to nature and made me happy.
So what have I done so far?
1. Using books and the internet, I managed to identify trees near my house from leaves I collected.
2. I took a longer walk home from work and tuned into the birdsong on my route and also admired all of the unnoticed wild flowers and plants growing on the pavement. I even found some poppies!
3. Day three was pretty busy, but I still managed to buy a beautiful succulent houseplant to add to my collection.
4. A long-awaited weekend off! I visited Welford Road Cemetery with my binoculars and spent a while bird watching and walking around the meadow area.
5. I took a trip to Middleton Lakes RSPB reserve.
Middleton Lakes in located just south of Tamworth, in the Tame Valley. Having been acquired in 2007, it is a relatively new RSPB site, but it has been beautifully restored and is a lovely reserve which homes a wonderful array of birds and wildlife, from tufted ducks and smews to butterflies, wetland plants and even otters (which I unfortunately did not see). The RSPB states that it will become the most important site for breeding waders in the Midlands.
The reserve benefits the visitors as well as wildlife, so there are plenty of areas for bird watching and photography, such as reedbeds, meadows, lakes, woodlands and one of my favourite features – the new Lookout hide, which overlooks the scrapes.
Open from dusk until dawn, there are a lot of things to see and countless birds to listen to at Middleton Lakes. Entrance costs £3 or RSPB members get in for free.
6. Having enjoyed identifying trees earlier in the week, I challenged myself to identify as many birds as I could from their calls. I only knew 3/7 and have always been eager to learn more, so searched and found some brilliant apps for identifying birds and plants- BirdUp and PlantNet. BirdUp works very well and is quick to identify the bird you have heard – it occasionally suggests two or three options, but it all depends on background noise. PlantNet seems to have potential, but doesn’t directly tell you the plant – it provides you with many suggestions which you have to search through.
7. I discovered some interesting insects on my rose bush and after some investigation, I realised that they were ladybird larvae. I was amazed and shocked that I had never seen them before!
8. This was another busy day which ended with a job interview, so after walking in the sweltering heat to visit my Grandma for her birthday, I decided that my random act of wildness would be to simply walk barefoot and sit outside in her garden. Simply lovely.
9. I had been growing tomatoes in my utility room over May and felt it was time to put them outside, so I replanted the best ones in their grow-bag in my garden (just in time for all the rain!)
10. RAIN! So much rain! I did the only thing you can do when caught in a downpour and doing the #30DaysWild challenge – I ran and laughed in it with my friends!