Category Archives: British Nature

Town bound!

It’s early October and the morning of my car’s MOT, I knew I was in for a long day. With the car delivered to the garage my day began, 8:30am and I’m trapped in Nuneaton.

As none of the shops were open yet, there were only a few shop keepers and early risers milling around. The sharp ‘chis-ic’ call of pied wagtails cut through the quiet streets. High up in the air or on roof tops, these black and white beauties were hard to spot. It was fair to say from the amount of calls that there was quite a few about.

I filled the morning with a wonder around the charity shops. I listen out for more pied wagtails and caught a glimpse of a couple of goldfinch. After several extraordinary long hours, I decided lunch was in order.

This decision took me passed the over grown, over littered murky waters of a river. In amongst the grime. three crisp white elegant mute swans dappled in the weeds. There couldn’t be more of a contrast between the beauty of nature and the pollution of man.

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The garage called, as I suspected the car needed work. I was to remain in town for a few more hours. Over a pot of tea and a plate of chips I pondered what to do with my afternoon, I was still wondering that as I re-entered the High Street. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a buzzard, I wasn’t expecting that! As I gazed upward and the buzzard glided out of sight, something else caught my attention. A bees nest in a chimney! That sealed the deal. I was going on an urban safari!

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I headed for the park, a couple of disinterested mallards paddled by in the small river. A group of pigeons had gathered near water, they weren’t alone! There was a rat amongst the pigeons! The more I looked the more I saw. One brave soul found some dropped bread on the bank just below my feet. Say what you will about these rodents, these were handsome individuals.

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Strolling through the park I saw squirrels and blackbirds eating yew berries. I also say my first (and only) insect of the day – a dronefly.

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Back onto the road and passed a church. Starlings happened about its castellations, while a song thrush perched on the weather vane.

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Still no word from the garage and I needed to rest my weary legs. I found a bench and tilted my head towards the sky. Black-headed gulls flew by, their bright white wings catching the sunlight against a cloudy grey sky. A flurry of pigeons appeared, some street lights others on the floor. Passing school children sent them scattering, only for them to gather ready for the next group of pedestrians. Each time the birds took flight and returned, I got to admire their skillful and graceful flight. Here I remained for quite a while, captivated by unexpected moments of nimble aerobatics. I have always enjoyed watching any bird in flight, but this really has renewed my appreciation of this feathered feat.

 

The garage called, time to pick the car up. Tired I headed back to the garage, one eye still on the sky. In the distance I saw a crow, a handsome beast stood proud a top a roof.

And then my day ended as it began, ‘chis-ic, chis-ic’, a small pied wagtail flew on by!

That day I went on an urban safari … oh and also had a car MOT!

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My photograph of the month for November

The winter nights are drawing in, the weather is getting colder and times are getting harder for our wildlife. Mealworms, sunflower hearts, fat balls can all be an important lifeline to our precious feathered friends.
That is why this hungry Great Tit I caught on camera, is my November pick!

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You can have a peek at my photograph for last month here.

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My photograph of the month for September

I got a bit of a treat this September, I got to visit Bradgate Park again. It’s been a while since my last visit and this time I decided to walk along the meandering stream. I had the opportunity to have close encounters with swans, along with a wigeon and a raven.

The star of the show however, goes to this very handsome and impressive fallow deer stag!

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You can have a peek at my photograph for last month here.

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#30DaysWild day 28, 29 and 30 – Urban wild

It has been a very busy few days for me, so I haven’t had much time to sit down and blog. I have, however had plenty of opportunities to enjoy some wonderful urban wild moments.

Here are my last few 30DaysWild for 2017, with a promise that I will – as always – be staying wild!

Day 28 – Urban plants

I know that I haven’t paid much attention to plants so far this month, but that all changed today!

First I spotted that someone had carved a leaf into some stone masonry. Walking a little further I found a real plant, this one growing out of a gutter. When I rounded the next corner, I found a building that had been almost entirely covered by a vine! I thought it was quite an impressive sight!

 

Day 29 – Birds

Today I was going to see some friends off at Heathrow, so I promised myself that I would find some of the Pied Wagtails known to hang out in the trees outside the Terminals. I thought it was a long shot, but still worth a try.

It was dusk as I said good bye to my friends, and as I made my way outside I decided to for fill the promise I’d made myself. I headed over to the nearby trees and sure enough several feathered faces peered back at me in the fading light. Happy with my ‘wild’ moment, I left for home.

Pied Wagtail

A quick pit stop at the services were required, I looked out through the car window expecting to see only cars and lorries. Then a flutter caught my eye, a bird flew over the car park and landed in a nearby tree. It was only then I realised it was a Tawny Owl. I approached carefully, and using only the light from the nearby street lamp, I took a photo. The owl remained for a few moments, looking around its surrounding before it was off into the night!

Tawny Owl

 

Day 30 – Travelling

Today was another day of travel, this time from Worcester to home with some urban wild in between.

At the train station in Worcester I watched the gulls flying, landing and resting. A sight I won’t see for a while and will miss.

Lesser black-back gull

In Nuneaton train station, I noticed cosy little nests had been made by Sparrows, exploiting the holes in the eaves to make themselves a home.

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On my walk between the train and bus station I passed an over grown buddleia that was spilling out over the pavement. The purple bush was smothered by busy bumblebees, foraging for every drop of sugary nectar they could get.

Bumblebees on a buddleia

Finally a short break for a snack before catching the bus. I was kept company by hungry pigeons, who snatched up any clumsily dropped crumbs in a blinking of an eye!

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I find it so easy to admire urban wildlife. While we build with concrete and bricks, it is the plants and animals that find the cracks and fill them full of life.

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#30DaysWild days 26 and 27

Day 26 – Bees and hoverflies

Today I spent a blissful few moments watching bees and hoverflies!

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Day 27 – A trip down the River Severn

As I’m now in Worcester for a few days, I decided a trip down the river was in order. I was surrounded by birds! Sand martins darting low across the water, blue blurs of Kingfishers gave out their distinctive whistles as they passed by, the gulls were more relaxed on the water as they just floated easily on the river’s surface.

 

I couldn’t help but smile that the Mallard who had made her nest in a plant pot on the brow of a barge!

A nesting Mallard

The cutest moment of the day goes to a little Cygnet, catching a ride on its mother’s back!

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#30DaysWild days 22, 23, 24 and 25

Day 22- Some unexpected wildlife

As I was leaving work, I was beginning to think I wasn’t going to have a wild moment, a Red Kite flew overhead. Not something seen there until about 2 months ago. Exciting to see!

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Then when I got home, I came across this beauty waiting for me on my front door!

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Day 23 – Ox eye daisy

In May I planted an Ox eye daisy plant, today it finally flowered! I took a photo because I clearly wasn’t the only one enjoying the new bloom.

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Day 24 – Burt

While out and about at work today, one of the very tame resident Robins came to say hello! I call them all Burt – after Burt Ward. If you’re really lucky, they sometimes come and feed from your hand!

Burt the Robin

 

Day 25 – An unusual view of a moth

Today I had the chance to admire a very pretty moth. It had landed on a window, so I was able to not only see the top of the moth but also the underside of it. I think those eyes are amazing!

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#30DaysWild day 17, 18, 19 and 20

After a few busy days, I’m playing catch up with my 30 Days Wild blog.

Day 17 – Bradgate Park, Wildlife Weekend

I knew Saturday was going to be a good ‘wild’ day when I heard my first cuckoo of the year right at the very beginning.

I managed to get myself to Bradgate Park again. This time to help out on the stand for my local bat group who were attending the park’s Wild Weekend. There were lots of other wildlife organisations there and I enjoyed having a little nosey at their stands too.

The last few hours of the day I spent walking through the park and despite the blistering heat, the wildlife was really active in the summer sun.

Day 18 – A little Leafcutter Bee

While being given a lift I had an encounter with a lovely little Leafcutter Bee. It came through the window as the car was moving at a little speed. It landed in my lap stunned, so I held it in my hands for a few minutes as it gained its bearings. As we slowed for a junction the wee mite found its wings and was back out through the open window into the world!

Day 19 – Moths

Today I found some rather beautiful moths in places you wouldn’t normally look!

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Day 20 – A country drive

While driving through the countryside my friend and I stopped to enjoy the grand oaks that lined the narrow lanes. The gentle breeze was a cool welcome sensation on the skin. A simple moment of peace and serenity.

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#30DaysWild day 16 – An early morning visitor!

My wild moment today happened very early on, 3:30am in fact. Waking up and needing a glass of water, I headed down stairs. A quick nosey out into the garden lead me to find a hedgehog scoffing the food left out for it. I normally step away at this point but as a one off I quickly took a single photo, lit by the light of the screen of my mobile phone. I then let the hungry hog be.

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#30DaysWild day 12, 13 & 14 – rhinos, sparrows and socks

Day 12 – Rhinos

For my wild day 12, I attended a fantastic talk about rhinos and the conservation efforts being made to protect them from poaching in South Africa.

Doctor Jana Pretorius gave the lecture and spoke passionately about rhinos as a species and the individuals that she had encountered and cared for.

It was emotional and inspiring! If you want to see the work that she and her foundation do, you can find them here:

Website: http://www.rhinopridefoundation.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rhinopridefoundation/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rhinopridefndn

Day 13 – Sparrows

Day 13 was my last day at work before a long weekend. I must admit to having been rather tired before my short break, so I am glad that this was the day where the ‘wild’ came to me and my friends. As we had lunch, a little sparrow came to investigate what we were up to. Very sweet!

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Day 14 – Socks!

This was a time to relax and chill. I thought some gardening would be a good idea, so I popped outside to get some of the overgrowth a little under control. I got to watch the ants and bees go about their business all the way up till I nearly cut the top of my finger off with secateurs!

I was never one for being green fingered!

In honour of “Pull your socks up for wildlife” my friend Bex and I put our favourite wildlife socks on. Turns out we both loves bees!

And one final but important note, Happy Birthday Bex!!!

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#30DaysWild day 10 & 11

Day 10 – Starlings

A blustery day at work ended with a few magical moments watching a small group of Starlings, all foraging in a windswept patch of grass.

Day 11 – Beetles, bees & blooms

Today I took the opportunity to appreciated beetles and bees revel in the nectar and pollen provided by beautiful wildflowers.

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