Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Day 21 - Solstice Gloaming

It was a joy to be out in the cooler air of the evening tonight around Barrington in Somerset for an evening stroll and enjoy the twilight song of the Blackbird and Song Thrush. Even Red Admirals were still flying around 8 pm! The longest day of the year and I still haven't achieved my aim of walking through the night on this night - maybe next year! At any rate the soft evening light was delightful.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Day 20 - Moths

An Elephant Hawk Moth is resting on our parquet floor in the living room at the moment, no doubt awaiting the cool of the evening before it flies again and we will then release it outside. What a guest though!

Also on our greenhouse, this Emerald moth was resting - so it's been a pink and green moth fest tonight! We really must get that moth trap out!

Emerald Moth

Elephant Hawk Moth

Monday, 19 June 2017

Day 19 - Smelling the Jasmine

Day 19 was even hotter than Day 18! My vegetable seedlings are wilting away so I planted some more this evening and have just watered them all and wished them well and smelled the jasmine's beautiful scent. yes, we have a jasmine hedge, which is truly delightful!

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Day 18 - Eggardon Hill again

It might be Day 18 of 30 Days Wild, but it was Day 2 of my creative writing workshop at Askerswell/Eggardon Hill and another scorcher. Again I was glad of the breeze as I sat and contemplated what this landscape would have looked like as a gleaming white beacon, ravaged of its lush verdant beauty. I was glad to see it in its regeneration, revitalised - for once human intervention has enhanced our landscape - let's hope it stays that way.

The poetry - well, amongst other things, I wrote a haiku:


Home to Meadow Brown
And the summer song of larks
In exaltation

Eggardon Hill - south face

Quaking Grass and Hawksbit

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Day 17 - Eggardon Hill

A day spent on a breezy Iron Age hill fort in rural Dorset, admiring the butterflies, birds, moths and orchids and musing on what has changed in the landscape over the past 2500 years nd what remains the same and trying to write poetry about it.

It was a delightful way to spend the hottest day of the year, immersed in nature, watching red Kites, Buzzards, bees, beetles,moths and even grasses just blowing ever so gently in the breeze.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Day 16 - Large Blue at Collard Hill

What a wonderful day to spend on day 16 of 30 Days Wild! This was my fourth year of going to see these creatures which have an incredible success story. Once extinct in Britain, they are now thriving in several British locations, the most accessible being on the National Trust's property at Collard Hill near Street in Somerset. this year we had by far the best views we've yet had of these butterflies and I wish I'd worn blue in their honour!

Day 15 - Nature Ramble at Cerne Abbas

A small group of enthusiastic nature ramblers set off today for Giant Hill, a utopian chalk downland for wildlife. Armed with our binocs, cameras, hand lenses, notebooks and identification charts and books and, most importantly, bags of enthusiasm, we aimed to cover no more than 3 miles in as many hours.

I think we managed one mile in that time span; there was just so much to see. Whilst I enthused about Thick-legged beetles, someone else spotted yet another Six-spot Burnet Moth and we learned A LOT about the folklore of many of the downland plants, musing over why so many of them have local Somerset names. Here are a couple of examples:

Milkwort (Polygala vulgaris) - Cross-flower because it was carried in processions at Easter time.
Agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria) - Lemonade because lemons, oranges, ginger and sugar were added as a cure for the common cold.

A wonderful morning out in the sunshine.

6-spot Burnet Moths

Small Heath

Thick-legged Flower Beetle

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Day 14 - Cloud Study

I love my morning walk to work. It's just over a mile of pavement walking, but I try to observe and take note of everything I see so I have just about built up a complete map of the whole walk and know what species I can see on that walk. I would like to do the walk later in the day too when the butterflies and insects are buzzing too. At 7 am there's not much in the way of insect life about!

Today as I crossed the Tesco bridge across the dual carriageway I lifted my eyes skyward to behold the most wonderful cloud study. Alas! I only had my phone to capture that moment. How wonderful are these ethereal creations which are ever changing, creating shapes and illusions from water particles. How dull the world would be without clouds and yet we think of a dull day as being one that is cloudy and overcast. Clouds, like many things in life, as Joni Mitchell discovered, can be viewed from both sides and we discover that it's often our perspective that changes. And that's why I love being in nature so much - it gives me a whole new perspective. Thank you 30 Days Wild for giving me the opportunity to stop and reflect about such beautiful things!

Day 13 - Pondering the pond

Another day at work so little time to sit with nature and breathe in its scent. We have, however, taken to sitting in the garden with a cup of tea after work and just reflecting on nature in the midst of urbanity (relative urbanity that is). There's our pond with the pond skaters having been fruitful and  multiplied, there's the fruitful gooseberry bush and every day one or two strawberries, both cultivated and wild varieties. The cooking apples are getting bigger, as are the damsons and we are looking forward to picking the harvest from our own garden. Sitting in the warmth reflecting on these things is good for the soul I have found, and hopefully will soon be good for the stomach too!

Monday, 12 June 2017

Day 12 - Hummingbird Hawk Moth

Just when I thought I was going to struggle to get anything for today, having been at work all day, we sat in the garden with our cup of tea in the late afternoon sunshine and I turned my head just in time to see a Hummingbird Hawk Moth buzz round the pansies. It didn't linger (I don't think it likes pansies). I must get some red valerian and wait for our fuchsia to flower. I nearly went out and bought some straight away, I was so keen to see it again. But what a delight! (No time for a photo)

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Day 11 - Green Scythe Fair, Muchelney

I think this was the 13th annual Green Scythe Fair, but the MC's PA system worked only every second word so I may have got that wrong. Anyway, what a way to celebrate Day 11 of 30 Days Wild. There was certainly lots of wildness about today. We did the environmentally friendly thing and walked to the Fair, at least we walked from Kingsbury Episcopi a couple of miles away from the fair ground. This way we got some exercise and saved £5!

The walk takes you along the River Parrett where we saw Kingfisher, Small Tortoiseshell and Banded Demoiselle as well as lots of water lilies and the delightfully named Thorney Silent Mill.

The fair was apparently busier than ever with lots of colours, sounds, stalls, cakes, ciders and, of course, scythes! Close up you can hear that wonderful swooshing noise the scythes make, but from our distance with the general hubbub of the crowd, that sound was lost. It was wonderful to see children playing in the cut grass and building a hay lady and then the fun of building a haystack and deciding which was the most stable (yes, this is a genuine competition). We watched all sorts of traditional crafts - bodgering, leather making, music making, withy weaving, forging, sawyering, apple juice making, tool sharpening . . .

The scything competition was great fun. We watched from a distance and admired the almost dance-like movements of the scythers as they moved gracefully with the grass.

A wonderful day out celebrating crafts and trades which embrace wildness.

Banded Demoiselle, River Parrett

Creating electricity by pedalling - I made bubbles!

Day 21 - Solstice Gloaming

It was a joy to be out in the cooler air of the evening tonight around Barrington in Somerset for an evening stroll and enjoy the twilight s...