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Day 16 – 30 Days Wild

Enthuse About Nature

16/06/16

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I was at the Birmingham N.E.C yesterday and today – as a member of Press – to report on BBC Gardeners’ World Live (but my focus was on the wild side of it).

I interviewed a number of interesting people (the interviews haven’t all been edited together yet) and in the video below, I have taken a selection of clips from the interviews; showing gardeners – from all walks of life – enthusing about nature:

Thanks for visiting. 💚

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Day 1 – #30DaysWild

“Discover urban wildness”

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Hello!  I’m baaack! 😀  And so is Random Acts of Wildness!

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_01I had work today at 7AM and finished around 2.30PM.  Due to that and wanting to blog about what I’d do today, I needed something easy for my Act of Wildness.  So of course, I was very pleased that I changed my usual route to work (as I needed to grab breakfast), because I ended up walking passed the Mini-Meadows in the video below!

I ran back after realising what I had saw!  And then stood there watching a couple of bees (unsure which ones now) buzzing about the various flowers for a minute – whilst listening to a Blackcap singing in the background! 😃  When I got phone out to film, the bees had flown off, naturally!  They must have been camera-shy 🐝  Unfortunately the sound didn’t record (I have a new phone and have sorted out the problem now), but luckily YouTube have provided a lovely soundtrack.

I believe the flowers that are featured most prominently in this video, are Red Campion, Meadow Buttercups and Oxeye Daisies.  Correct me if I’m wrong! 👍🏻 🌺

I’m off to somewhere quite special tomorrow, I’ll give you a clue: a Nature Reserve (I’ve never been there before).  I best go and pack! 😉

See you tomorrow, for Day 2!

Thanks.

Video

Wildlife Monthly: Bewick’s Swan

If you’ve not seen or heard of Wildlife Monthly; click here.

This month’s instalment features one of our large feathery winter visitors from the high Arctic; the Bewick’s Swan. Part of the “Wild Swans” family, they’re not sedentary but are free-roaming and make a lot more noise than Mute Swans do – with their load trumpeting calls which often mark their arrival.  They are also famously known for their individual black and yellow beak markings – allowing each bird to be identified and studied, which the staff at WWT Slimbridge in Gloucestershire, have been doing since the 1960’s.  They’re named after the celebrated bird illustrator, Thomas Bewick – and funnily enough, the yellow on a Bewick’s Swan’s beak forms the letter B!

To see my video on the Whooper Swan (another member of the Wild Swan family) click here.

Thanks 🙂

The Annual Rutland Romp!

“The Annual Rutland Romp!” ??  I’m referring to the British Birdwatching Fair, the Birdfair of course! 🙂  Last week was my 5th time at the fair (I’ve been going every year since 2010).  It’s on for 3 days over a weekend in mid August, and has been on every year for more than 25 years!  I love that it’s not just people from all over Britain visiting Rutland Water, but people from all over the world that migrate to England’s smallest county for this annual and eventful occasion too!

Birdfair 2010 - Me and Simon King OBE.

Birdfair 2010 – Me and Simon King OBE

Over the years – despite its name – Birdfair has evolved to not just be about birds and aiding their conservation, but wildlife and conservation overall.  I often refer to it as a wildlife festival before telling people the name of it.  It is an amazing place to meet and be surrounded by like-minded passionate people, and rub shoulders with TV personalities 😉  There are talks from wildlife TV presenters, naturalists, conservationists and filmmakers, as well as authors and photographers too.  I could only do two days of the fair and arrived on Saturday, with my wildlife photographer friend, James Burman – who has taken some stunning pictures.  We camped at Rutland Water Camping, on the lovely Hambleton Peninsula – where we saw Foxes and a Badger 🙂

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Chris Packham’s talk was brilliant – in short; it was about cutting the crap regarding what dangers children might face outdoors, and to let them experience and enjoy nature in all its glory!  Chris featured three young wildlife enthusiasts, who in turn talked about their experiences and passion for nature, and what they have been up to.  I realised they each represented a region of England: Josie Hewitt – The South, Connor Coombes – The North and Georgia Locock – The Midlands.  All of their talks were very good, and insightful 🙂  I’m hoping this is a progressive change, as it’s really nice hearing from a diverse range of people on stage in the Events Marquee.  Connor with his Cumbrian accent and Georgia with her West Midlands accent (similar to my own), I couldn’t help but be moved, it was refreshing and humbling!

In various other marquees you can find hundreds of stands selling and promoting the latest products for wildlife enthusiasts – gadgets and clothing, scopes to sculptures, binoculars to bird food and eGuides to eco-holidays! 😀  I mainly go to the festival to catch up with old friends and make new ones, and to share it all with them! ❤

This year - Me & James Burman (that's Alex & Gordon looking at the Birdfair programme) :)

Birdfair 2015 – Me & James Burman (Alex & Gordon looking at the Birdfair programme) 🙂


Birdfair 2015 - Christine Hall and Me

Birdfair 2015 – Christine Hall and Me 😀

Since my 2nd time, I have meet up with my friend Christine Hall, a great wildlife camerawoman, photographer and conservationist.  It’s possible you’ve seen her video of a Red Squirrel on a previous series of Autumnwatch, it was slipping down a post whilst trying to get peanuts from a bird-feeder, and you may have recently seen her in the Springwatch Unsprung audience 😉

It was really good meeting Yusuf Akhtar, Victoria House and a mixture of AFON and NGB members (to name a few); Alexandra Hoadley, Ryan Clark, Susan Jones, Josie Hewitt, James Common, Georgia Locock, Drew Lyness, Billy Stockwell, Sorrel Lyall, Tom Mason and James O’Neill.  Plus it was really nice catching up with Peter Cooper, Jack Perks, Josh Jaggard and Matt Collis 🙂

Birdfair 2011 - second time meeting Mike Dilger, first time meeting Bill Oddie.

Birdfair 2011 – Mike Dilger, Bill Oddie OBE and Me!


Birdfair 2015 - Me and Kate MacRae

Birdfair 2015 – Me with Kate MacRae

Every year at the Bushnell stand I chat to WildlifeKate quite a lot, we came to realise we’ve never had a photo taken together, so the picture above is the only one ever for now 😛

Birdfair 2015 - Mike Dilger and Me

Birdfair 2015 – Mike Dilger and Me

Mike Dilger and I chat quite a lot too, this year he bumped into me – in the Art Marquee – James and I happened to be getting to know the illustrator of his new book, Darren Woodhead – a wonderful artist.  Mike’s new book is being released next year!

Simon King’s talk this year – as well as hearing about his recent wildlife filmmaking – contained a much needed reminder; a bit more needs to be done to conserve the natural world.  We were made aware that nature is losing places in the dictionary!  Words like Snowdrop are being taken out and replaced with the likes of “selfie” and “blog”.  So I was pleased that towards the end of his talk we were informed about the Simon King Wildlife Project, which is a new charity assisting in the prevention of the degradation of the natural world, globally.  The project intends to safeguard habitats, reclaim land for nature and engage people with wild creatures and wild places, which in turn will help keep the natural world intact! 🙂

Before my entry comes to an end – wildlife I observed around the reserve:

  • Common Sandpiper
  • Greenshank
  • Muntjac Deer
  • Ospreys
  • Hornets
  • Hares
  • Barn Owl

Thanks for visiting 😀

Day 25 (YD) & Day 26 – 30 Days Wild

Day 25 

I’m going to the Lake District on Saturday (Day 27) for a week.  I shall be staying in a National Trust Cottage in Little Longdale near Coniston 🙂  So I made sure I was all organised for my trip to Cumbria!  I’m pleased I will be spending the last few days of 30 Days Wild in a stunning part of the UK!

All packed for my trip to The Lakes!

 

Day 26 – “Save a life”

I’ve allowed what I believe to be a Thistle (and a wee Doc plant) grow in my plant pot; which also contains a baby Pineapple plant (the original inhabitant) on my windowsill at my house-share.  I shall consider this as saving a life 😉  

 Thanks 🙂

Day 24 – 30 Days Wild

Behind the Scenes: Video for the Wild

#30DaysWild

#30DaysWild

I chose the mystery location for yesterdays’ video, because I grew up a short walk away from it and was inspired by an episode of Countryfile where Anita Rani showcases rural Bradford 😛  Incase you’ve not seen the video, I’ll not ruin the ‘surprise’ with naming it.  It’s where I cut my teeth as a child and naturalist, so to speak and over the years I’ve seen loads of wildlife there, a few firsts, which includes the time I saw my first Weasel as a child!  Yesterday my friend Gary and I observed a Kestrel and Jay up there.

In the second shot of the intro to my video, I’m on the top of Rubery Hill/Cock Hill, with the Frankley countryside and suburb in the background, there are more great views from up there; the Lickey Hills, Rubery and Bromsgrove in the distance – plus the country park I reveal in my video 😉

When we were filming near Frankley Beeches wood, we heard and saw a beautiful male Yellowhammer – it’s the second time I’ve seen one in Frankley, (I’ve mainly distantly heard their song now and again) so I decided to record and feature this Yellowhammers’ song as the soundtrack for the video.  We could also hear the beautiful song of the Skylark in the distance, down near Lower Hill Farm.  On New Street, near the Greenbelt just before Frankley Hill Lane (which leads up to the Frankley Beeches Wood) I saw a partly Leucistic male Blackbird collecting worms, I almost mistook it for a Ring Ouzel!

**Yesterdays’ Video for the Wild** 😀

Today I observed a male and female House Sparrow feeding on aphids from the wee Willow Tree that’s in my parents garden.

Thanks for reading 🙂

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Day 23 – 30 Days Wild

Video for the Wild

#30DaysWild

#30DaysWild

My favourite local patch – and why it matters to me:

Ode to a Secret River – the poem I mention in the video.

Thanks for visiting 😀