Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Well here goes nothing ...

I honestly think this is the tenth-hundredth (is that even a word?) time I've opened up a blog post apologising for being a bit MIA, but I mean it's been 151 days since I last posted, so I'm here to tell you that I'm not dead. You know what can happen in 151 days? I can complete my first year of my Geography degree, do my first ever two night proper wild camp excursion (I will do a write up on it and some of my newbie tips - aka all the things that went wrong!), the entire British political system can be thrown into chaos and, I'll have you know, baby goat can be created (bet you didn't know that eh).

So yes, I have now completely finished my first year of my degree, and I am very chuffed to have recieved 4xBs and an A! (I'm still in shock). The last few months were pretty tough with assignment work and exam preparations, but I did only have like four mental breakdowns so it wasn't really all that bad I guess. I am spending my summer relaxing and putting off my summer reading (standard). It feels crazy that the first year is already over and done with, if you're about to start a degree, just don't blink. The entire time, because you'll miss it all.

A sneak peak of the WIld Camping trip!

What's next? Well I'm excited to be moving back to university at the end of August to start my training for a new job, before a week in the Cairngorms (Scottish Highlands) on a fieldtrip, so yes be expecting some amazing photos, hopefully with a wide angle lens too! The second year at university will hopefully be another great year, I've even swapped some modules, and instead I am taking a semester on cultural changes in society, so it will be exciting to do something running at a bit of a tangent to my Geography course!

I think I'll end this update with yet another promise to be a regular blogger again - when will I ever get my life together!? Although having allowed my blog to sit and gain some cobwebs has vastly affected my motivation to go out and be outside in nature, so this is something I am really going to try and bring back into my life.

Also I missed 30 Days Wild this year - I am heartbroken, it's almost like it sprung out of nowhere. It would have been my third year in a row too! (Boo me :( )

Anyways, I'm off now to type up a mahoosive blog schedule and ideas pot to keep me accountable!!


Thursday, 26 January 2017

Ever have one of those days where you quite literally get everything done? Well today has been one of those days, so I thought it best to sit down and give my blog a little bit of attention!

I haven't been up to much lately, my first semester at university is finished (which I quite honestly can't believe!) All of my January assignments have been completed, and exams sat! So I have had a week between that and the start of the second semester, and I haven't even had time to get out with the camera! (which makes me so sad!)

However, I did manage to catch a crazy five minutes this morning, I got back to my room after a promising interview (which will both secure my accommodation and extra money next year! so fingers crossed y'all!) I saw the dart of a Goldcrest on the tree outside my window. And I kid you not when I say I have never grabbed my camera so quick in my entire life! So I sat down and in the space of literally 5 minutes the tree was abound with Blue Tits, Great Tits, Redwings, Long-tailed Tits and a lovely little Goldcrest! I'm not sure my flatmate was please when I screamed about there being a Goldcrest, but I know that you guys get it ... right!?

So here are a few shots! (and my first decent and in focus photograph of a Goldcrest!)

Blue Tit

A Beautiful Puff Ball! (Goldcrest)

Great Tit

Long Tailed Tit - Out of focus but I thought it looked artsy :P

A new addition to the neighbourhood - a Redwing! 

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Where is the time going?

I can't believe it's almost been another whole month since I last posted, I honestly have no idea where the time is going, or what the hell I've been doing with it! Okay well I do know, mostly sleeping and ploughing through all of my university deadlines. (I mean, who on earth came up with the idea of January assignments!?)

As a result I haven't taken any time to go out and see nature, apart from a new mutation of Song Thrushes that have taken a liking to the tree outside of my bedroom window! (And so I am thankful for the last few remaining berries, perhaps a Hawthorn tree?, that are keeping them interested!)

However, I did take a trip to the National Sea Life Centre in Birmingham (on a date I'll have you know ;) ). Although quite different from what I usually post, I enjoyed the opportunity to try out my camera in a new setting! It was interesting to see and read about some of the amazing species they have there, being the only place in the UK to breed a certain penguin, to ensure that all centres are keeping healthy and managed penguins! There are stories like these all across the centre, ensuring that visitors are aware of the real issues facing aquatic wildlife, and how the tourist industry really needs to be a sustainable and happy industry.

Here are a few shots from the day:

Monday, 19 December 2016

Currently drowning in Assignments ...

My first christmas as a university student has found me buried beneath two assignments, an exam and an assessed presentation in January. So having decided to stay on campus a little longer to get ahead on all the reading I need to do, it all got a little overwhelming. To clear my head, I set an early alarm on Saturday and was up and out just as the sun was rising. (one of the perks of winter daylight times - I don't have to get up so early to see the sunrise!) It wasn't too cold thankfully, but was beautifully quiet. I had a gander across the racecourse in Worcester, which led me to a small park. I have been trying to find the right settings on my camera for landscape photography, but I am still disappointed, I feel they don't have the depth of detail I'm wanting. I have followed the manual settings guidelines for landscapes, so perhaps it is the lens that I use perhaps. But anyway, here are the photos I managed to capture ... anything to get put off all the work I have!

I am going home this week, so will hopefully be able to get out to my favourite country park and bird hide, which I am very much looking forward to, so there will be at least one more post on here before christmas day! (But you can always stay updated on my twitter account! @thegeogstudent )

Saturday, 19 November 2016

A Muddy Morning Walk

What' this, two posts in two days!? I must be ill!

I have a bit of spare time this evening between my studying to type up a quick post. This morning I joined my University Nature Society for a walk along the river. For some reason I didn't give any thought on the amount of mud there would be, rookie error!

Nevertheless it was a beautiful walk, and a new route to take that is nice and local! (Hurrah!) A few new sightings for me personally too, the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and the teeny Goldcrest! There were also plenty of Great Tits, Blue Tits and Long Tailed Tits! Although photographing was difficult with the sheer amount of naked branches competing within the photos! (thanks winter!) But of course, I am not one to be beaten yet!

Here is what I did manage to get:
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

Long Tailed Tit

I promise this is a Goldcrest!! 

Another Long Tailed Tit

Thursday, 17 November 2016

The Art of Birdwatching

Now, this is not something you are born with, but is something to be gained through sheer guts and determination. For only the truly strong will survive into professionalism.

But all jokes aside, birdwatching most definately isn't for everyone, and takes a good deal of practice, but often with unmistakable benefits. I remember the first time I sat in a bird hide, cold, confused and simply impatient. And of course I wasn't going to see anything, mostly because I simply didn't want it enough, and because nature takes time. It's really as simple as that!

My top 3 tips for birdwatching:
1. Wrap up warm (Obviously) Often times I have been sat on a cold morning much longer than I initially anticipated too, after all, some days can just be really good like that!
2. Invest in a decent thermos flask! Much related to the previous point, it really is important to make yourself comfortable whilst you're waiting about.
3. And while you're waiting, get used to the scenery. In my case I spend this time setting up my camera settings, trying out settings in order to get the best shot when the opportunity arises. There really is nothing worse than not being camera ready when a beautiful bird finally decides to grace you with it's presence.

Now, about a fortnight ago (can you tell I've been super busy with first university assignments) I had the opportunity to go back to the Severn Valley Country Park, so sat in the bird hide for almost 2 hours in the morning. At first there was nothing, but the key here is to be stubborn and wait it out a bit longer. And I am yet to be disappointed. Like buses, many came at once. Groups of Great Tits, Blue Tits, a pair of Pheasants, A shy Heron and an inquisitive Robin. And perhaps, if my ID is correct a little Dunnock. (which is a first for me I believe)
I would ID this little fellow as a Dunnock, any other suggestions? 

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Fairground and Fireworks

Not exactly nature related, (okay so not at all, but it's my blog guys!) As you all may know last night was bonfire night, and my first here in Worcester! The Racecourse held the biggest one this year, and seeing as it was a five minute walk away, it'd be rude not to go. I was really pleased with how my camera worked, and had a lot of fun with the exposure settings too!

Next week I hope to have some amazing pictures, as I am going back home and having a day at the Severn Valley Country Park again, and I'm already really excited! (I really really hope the Kingfisher is there again!)

Anyways, I should really get back to my assignment now, I'm only posting this small update because I'm procrastinating, haha oops!