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Wildlife in November

Look up, look down, look all around!  Up in the air or on the ground! 😉

98FC1451-AC45-4626-A152-BE63AB07BC26 (Edited)

Woodcock (top). Siskin (left). Jack Snipe (right)

Informative videos (2011):  

Richard Hampshire is a top man. 🙂

Thanks for visiting! 😀

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Wildlife in September and October

Nature_SeptandOct_Collage

Below are some videos from my past, showcasing nature to be seen in September and in October. 💚  I am actually quite pleased with my voice-over work from-back-in 2011!  You might be happy to know, it is a skill which I’ve now honed.  😉

September (2011) 

October (2011) 

Apologies for the inaccuracies in the Fungi video; pronunciation of hallucinogenic and apparently you can eat  Amethyst Deceivers – but it is better to be safe than sorry!  (No matter how good a recipe sounds!)  😆

Thanks for visiting!  x

AFON Guest Blog: Here’s to a green 2017!

(My post for A Focus On Nature)

For 2017, what I would like is Nature Conservation to be taken more seriously by Councils and the Government.  They need to properly see it as a Universal Problem.  It is not an issue only for a certain class system, region, gender, sexuality, age or level of education – we all share this country, and caring for nature and our natural environment is everybody’s responsibility.  Hopefully Planet Earth II was a wake up call for those that work for a Town / City Council or as an MP who have not signed the Greener UK pledge.
I also hope it has encouraged people to support their local nature conservation charities.

Hearing about woodland / greenbelt being decimated for housing developments (or HS2) angers me – it is disgusting and very ill considered, as there are plenty of derelict buildings and brownfield sites that should be used instead!  Urbanisation is not progression, it’s alienation.  There is less crime in places with woodland / greenbelt and it reduces stress in people of all ages.  They are great for escapism, as they’re somewhere to walk your dog or get fresh air alone or with your partner or friend(s).  Such places boost children’s will to learn and they are often more imaginative and creative – it’s somewhere for these children to explore and find wildlife too!  It also improves house sales – people want to live near areas surrounded by greenery, because, let’s face it, it is pleasant!  Trees, hedgerows and grasses filter impurities from the air and also help lower temperatures during heat-waves.  Trees reduce erosion of soil, which finds its way into our waterways during periods of heavy rainfall.  This then has the knock on effect of creating flooding because of the build up of silt – due to the lack of trees in the first place.  They are also a much needed habitat for nature; plants and animals need somewhere to live and have safe connecting passages between urban sprawls.

Re-wilding our Towns and Cities needs to happen, all over, they should be made greener than they already are, for example Birmingham, it is already a surprisingly green city, but being greener will make it better.  I champion Matt Collis and the Avon Wildlife Trust for making Bristol even greener!  As you know, more trees are needed to helping fight Climate Change, as they reduce the Carbon Dioxide in our atmosphere.  More trees will increase oxygen and with increased oxygen levels, the health of people and wildlife will benefit. More oxygen in the air can stabilise unknown and potential pulmonary hypertension (raised blood pressure within the pulmonary arteries) and irregular heart rhythms caused by the lack of oxygen in the air.  Plus more oxygen to the brain relieves depression and fatigue.  Many diseases including cancer, thrive in an oxygen depleted body.

Longbridge in south Birmingham

What would I like for myself this New Year?  Well, I am currently on a City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Conservation, Countryside & The Environment – ideally I would like to complete my qualification at overall Distinction and would then like to work for a NGO specialising in Re-wilding, therefore assisting in restoring Britain (in urban and rural places too) to its natural glory!

In the past I have achieved several Media Production qualifications, my highest being a Level 5 Higher National Diploma.  I have considered a Masters, but Academia isn’t really for me, I would rather be out there getting on with it, or even teaching it!  Around 6 years ago I combined my passion for wildlife and filmmaking, and have recently been co-presenting / co-producing a series with Jamie Wyver, about nature conservation for Cambridge TV (now called That’s Cambridge).

Filming for The Wild Side

The series is entitled The Wild Side and it was broadcast to the city and has been put online for everyone to watch.  It would be brilliant if I get the opportunity to present a series with another TV station or even for a channel that broadcasts nationally.  I love how imaginative and creative ideas can come to life on screen, to entertain and inform an audience.

Thanks for reading  🙂

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Wildlife Monthly and Big Garden Birdwatch!

Wildlife Monthly – my seasonal video guide to British wildlife – is back!  😃

It has been 5 whole years since my first ever episode!  There were two series in total, which Reader’s Digest Magazine featured on their website, with the last episodes being uploaded at the end of May 2012.  Each month I produced 3 videos around a minute or more, detailing flora and fauna (mainly fauna) for you to look out for; be it in your garden, local park/reserve or further afield.

The idea this year, if all goes to plan, is to produce a single video per month, following that same criteria.  Episode 1 of 2016’s Wildlife Monthly is in support of the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch, in which I made some pink bird food.  It was filmed at Moseley Old Hall – National Trust, which is in located on the boarder of South Staffordshire and Wolverhampton – where for the day, I was Lord of the Manor.  😉 

Red Fat Balls and Lard Cake Recipe: 

  • 250g Lard (I used dripping, it’s fine to use suet and vegetable fat)
  • 150g Sunflower Hearts
  • 100g Crushed Peanuts
  • 50g Porridge Oats
  • 1 Red Gel Food Colour (Dr. Oetker)

Doubtless you’ll be doing yours in a kitchen!

  1. Crush the Peanuts with a pestle and mortar, or put them between a tea-towel and whack them with a rolling-pin.
  2. You don’t want to deep-fry the food, so just melt your chosen fat on a low-to-medium heat/flame.
  3. (Add everything to the lard and mix together) Turn your heat right down.  When everything is mixed together, line a small cuboid container with either grease-proof paper or clingfilm, fill it with the mixture halfway and pop it into the fridge – to set for an hour – creating your Lard Cake.
  4. Pop the rest of the mixture into the fridge for approx. 45 minutes, stirring every few minutes initially, so when it comes to making the mixture into balls it’s at the right consistency.
  5. Roll the mixture into fatballs – you should get approx. 6 in total.
  6. The rest is self-explantory/can be gathered from my video above…

RSPB.org.uk/Birdwatch

BTO.org/GardenBirdWatch

The breeding population of Goldfinches has risen by approx. 91% in recent years, and in Ireland the increase was around 158%!  The British Trust for Ornithology has launched a survey to determine what is attracting these fabulous finches to our gardens.  — BTO.org/Goldfinch-Survey

It’s estimated that since the 70’s we have lost 6 million House Sparrows!   However, I’m proud to write; in Birmingham they are in good numbers!  Along with Devon and Dorset, bucking the trend.  😊

UPDATE:

BGBWJan16

These are the results from my Garden Birdwatch (31/01/2016)

To catch up on pervious episodes of Wildlife Monthlyclick here.  

Thanks and all the best!  😀