Wednesday, 29 June 2016

#30DaysWild Fin!

Okay, I know that technically it all finishes tomorrow, but tomorrow I will hopefully be too full from curry and too tipsy to be blogging! So I am finishing this challenge off today!

I haven't been doing too well the past week or so, for personal reasons, but for the most part, I have kept up to date! So here is my big old recap!

  1. Watched Springwatch!
  2. Had breakfast outside 
  3. Educated myself on the Goosander
  4. Got tweeted my the @30DaysWild account! Thanks for wishing me to get better!)
  5. Spotted 2 kingfishers hunting along the river 
  6. Attempted to make a vlog  - and failed terribly! 
  7. Made some ink drawings of some common leaves 
  8. Went for a run in the wild 
  9. Spotted a female Goosander with her chicks!
  10. Wandered around a nature inspired art gallery
  11.  Spent the day at Severn Valley Country Park - Identified a lot of species! 
  12. Appreciated the beauty of my Sweet Pea plant growing 
  13. Watched as the heavens opened 
  14. Spotted a beautiful Buff Tip Moth 
  15. Got tweeted by Chris Packham himself! 
  16. Took a walk along the flooded river 
  17. Researched the effects of hiking on our wellbeing 
  18. Wrote a wild poem 
  19. Did some nature inspired art journaling 
  20. Learnt about urban wildlife 
  21. Helped at a beautiful outdoor wedding 
  22. Found the rainbow! 
  23. Made a weather chart for the month 

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Urban Wildlife

For the #30DaysWild Challenge I appointed my urban dwelling cousin to rise to the challenge, and this is what she had to say!

"At the end of May I was talking to my sister in law about 30 Days Wild, and she said something along the lines of, 'How could you even do that here?' (We live in a city, in the middle of the country). I immediately pointed out the strategically planted trees as we walked through the city centre, and looked to the sky for birds.

But it brought up a good point - how can we get in touch with our wild side, get in touch with nature, in the middle of a city? It's all too easy, especially for is city folk, to get caught up in the world of concrete, cars and capitalism.

So I have written up a list of 4 of my favourite 'wild' things about my city. There were a lot more when I sat down and actually thought about it, but I've manage to trim it down. I'd advise you all, no matter where you live, to take stock of your home town and see past the industrialisation.

4. Although it may not seem like much, I saw a fox once. In an area where there's no wood or forest, or anything like that. On my walk home, just off the main road. I saw a fox crossing the road. Such a surprising sight, it was the last thing I expected to see, but there it was. I hope it got home okay. (Also, my nan used to feed the foxes by her old house, although she lived close to a wooded area!)

3. There's a country park just a couple of miles outside of the city centre. It consists of 500 acres, a lake, woodland, gardens, areas of conservation and much more. Click here to see their webpage!

2. The view from my bedroom window. we don't do much gardening in our household (something I hope to change when I have my own place!) So whatever is here if leftover from whoever planted the garden, but I love watching it. We have a tree that that neighbourhood cats used to take shelter from the rain, we have flowerbeds that die in the winter and then bloom in the spring.There are Bees and Butterflies, Ants and Spiders. And these past few months I have been kept awake in the mornings by a particularly annoying bird! But it's out there - City Wilderness that is.

1. Swanswell Park. This was one of my favourites places as a child. It's not exactly a great area, but it simply a few minutes walk from the city centre. But it has a small lake with an island, and it is home to Geese and Swans. As a child I remember watching the Swans attend to their nests on the Island. It's incredible to see such wild nature so close, so close to bus stations and shopping centres.

I realise that most cities are different, and not all make an effort to have such areas as these, but go and explore yours, see what is has to offer, and heck, go wild! "

Written by Amy Elson,
Urban dweller and Forensic & Biology Graduate

Saturday, 18 June 2016

#30DaysWild Day Day 16-18

Well, so what have I been up to? Apart from lots and lots of hours at work, I have been trying to fit in some small acts of Wildness every day, although some are very small!

On Day 16 I have a total fangirl moment as Chris Packham tweeted me back about the severe lack of graphs on this seasons Springwatch! (anyone else agree with me here - well he did at least!)

Day 17 I took a walk along the wild rising river in Bewdley, after about 6 days of almost constant heavy rain, the river is a murky brown and flowing swiftly, but it is still a joy to watch the bird hunting.

And today - I have made a crack at writing a wild poem! (now, please don't laugh, I probably haven't written a decent poem in about 5 years or so!) but here goes ...

Leaves softly waving in the wind,
Gusts small, but so big from down here,
But life this tiny learn to be thick skinned,
So that we grow, buds to peek and peer.

The sun, so gentle and warming,
I stretch, I unfurl, I grow,
Turning me head to the sky, petals so yellow.

I bask and I breathe, filling my cells with life,
A radiance so full, yes so minute,
I am one of many, and we are the wildlife,
A presence so strong you cannot dilute.

Poet of the year material right? Thought so hahaha!

Oh- and I've also been watching Emma Caton Vlogs over at ( and I have been loving them! So if you haven't already, you should really go check out her videos and give her some love!

That's all for now folks!

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

#30Days Wild Day 15!

I cannot believe we are now halfway through the #30DaysWild Challenge already!! So many more exciting things to do and see!

An absolutely sodden day tonight! It just about managed to dry up and brighten in time for me to head home for work - and just as I was packing away the outdoor cafe furniture, I spotted this little guy drying off on the windowsill! I calmy had to run into the shop to grab my phone to get a photo!

Now for anyone who doesn't know, this little guy is a Buff Tip Moth! He stands out a lot on our beautiful teal paintwork, but he is designed to camouflage as a Silver Birch twig. I'd known about these moths, but this is the first I have seen with my very own eyes, and of course I was embarrassingly excited about it. (Making sure to message my best friend about it all as quick as I could!)

So, I've made it a job that any species I spot I'm going to learn me some facts!

  1. Their Italian name is Phalera bucephala (Okay so I'm probably not going to remember that)
  2. They are a common species, often found in farmland, grassland, towns and gardens and woodland
  3. You are likely to see them in June and July (mostly at evening or night!) 
I also went for a quick walk this evening after dinner, I didn't manage to escape the rain this time! But I did spot a wagtail of some sorts! It was either a yellow or a grey wagtail, oh I cannot wait to buy myself a camera that will do these beautiful species some justice! (only another £492.78 to go!) 

What wild things have you been up to? 


Saturday, 11 June 2016

#30DaysWild Day 11!

Ophrys apifera - Bee Orchid
So today I visited somewhere pretty special to me, I like to think it's the place that made me fall in love with nature.

Severn Valley Country Park, Alveley (See their website here) is a 126 acre park that has been regenerated from abandoned coal spills to a beautiful park. budding with life every single which way you look. I was a frequent weekly volunteer on the park for over 18 months, working alongside the Park Rangers and the truly valiant group of volunteers who truly keep the park going. And it's pretty safe to say I enjoyed every minute of it (okay, except that day of pulling ragwort on a cold and drizzly day, yep totally didn't enjoy that bit so much ... )

There had been a few new caches put about the park and surrounding area, so for my day off I go up early and got the bus back to my home village. (It's so weird how everything always seems so much smaller than you remember!) In total I wandered around the park, and its many trails and habitats, for about six hours. After a major Geocaching App malfunction (thanks to a souvenier day!) I only managed to find 3 caches :( Some of them were pretty tricky, so I will have to come back and find them!

But no doubt, today was all about the wildlife, as always some of the photo quality is pretty poor, but at the moment there really isn't much I can do about it! The park's natural wild meadow is coming along nicely, with a few years of maturity behind it now, where the Bee Orchid and the Common Spotted Orchids are standing proudly.

Dactylorhiza fuchsii - Common Spotted Orchid
I then went to have a look at the newly refurbished Easy Access Pool, having helped inlay the new wooden sidewalk panels myself. and to see it had now been finished off with a new tarmac surface was brilliant! I sat and watched a moorhen happily collect materials for its nest (I wasn't about to catch a glimpse without risk of being in the pond myself!) I then carried onto the bird hide, a place where I hadn't really had loads of luck, but as I unlatched the shutter, there perched proudly was a vibrant Kingfisher (A bit like buses you see, you wait ages for one and then they all turn up!) I watched it for almost an hour, as it fished for its lunch.

Alcedines - Kingfisher

Gallinula - Moorhen
Possibly a Common Blue Butterfly? 

As I was leaving the park I was instructed my other volunteers to check out the Kestrel nest, which of course I did. Now no photos I'm afraid, there was no way my puny iPhone was going to manage a distance of over 100 meters! (I mean my binoculars only really managed to show me just enough to keep my excited!)

Inside the next was three fluffy chicks, with their proud Momma just standing outside, it really was a sight to see, and its really topped off an already amazing day!

Here's to the next adventure!

Friday, 10 June 2016

#30DaysWild Day 9 & 10!

If I didn't blog about what I was doing every day I would have totally forgotten everything I have done so far, this heat is frazzling my brain!!

So on day 9 I somehow found myself sat outside the pub with a large glass of wine, no idea how I got there honest! As I sat, chattering away, I saw something gliding down the river from the corner of my eye. A female bird and about 6 happy little chicks! Right, it all happened so quickly, or maybe it was the wine.. but what if this is the Mrs to my Mr Goosander!?

Fair to say, I got really excited, so I will now be on the hunt to see if I can spot them again (And maybe even scope out where they are nesting!)

And for today, day 10 (Can you believe we are already a 1/3 of the way through!?) I left my house extra early to take a walk through to the park to a local art gallery near me!

There was beautiful pieces of work, but I was mostly looking at the nature inspired pieces!
Beautiful pink water Lily peeping out! 

My Favourite piece, 'Hartlebury Common' by John Instance 

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

#30DaysWild Day 8!

I seem to be doing a lot of things for the challenge that aren't on the list of ideas I had, but yaknow, we're just gonna roll with it!

But anyway, today I started the Couch to 5K challenge! And instead of hitting the pavements, I decided to go along the river path! Of course, I decided to go out just after we had some heavy rain, good job I've always been a fan of mud! So you'll all be glad to know I survived my first run in probably forever, but it did make me think, are there benefits to exercising outdoors? Of course there are!

And here they are:

  1. Technically you burn more calories, factors such as wind resistance, slopes and uneven ground all make small differences that make you work just that little bit harder. 
  2. Being outdoors improves your mood, it has been proven by many studies that spending time outdoors reduces stress levels, and the fresh air and increased oxygen releases Serotonin! (We all love that feel good brain chemical!) 
  3. It can help to improve your self esteem - Just think about it, no mirrors, anywhere at all. And I can promise you the wildlife don't care how similar your running looks to a beached walrus! (Not a care in the world!)
  4. Benefits of sunshine! We are all well aware of the risks that come to exposure to the sun, but we also need to remember that sunlight is important to our health too! Sunlight on the skin creates the Vitamin D3, which is vital to bone health, metabolic function and helps you sleep better at night. 
  5. Its cheaper - I really don't think I need to explain this any more that that!

Of course, I spotted a bit of wildlife whilst I was trying not to die! A few slimey snails making the most of the moisture from the rain, some startled bunnies and the odd dragonfly! 

After all of that information to digest, I think you've deserved a selfie! 

Monday, 6 June 2016

#30DaysWild Day 6!

Right, so I thought i'd try something new for today! I made a vlog! And then it turned out alllll my hard work has been wasted because I can't upload it! ARGH! 

Well what a poop! 

I hate vlogging anyway, really not for me!

Sorry guys! I was really hoping to have something for you! All i've got is this cool picture of a bee! 

Regardless, I had a lovely walk in the scorching weather today! AND - I may or may not have made some unplanned purchases, oops! My local Trespass Store was having a sale, I picked up a lightweight and compact sleeping bag, reduced from £59.99 to £23.99 (perfect for summer camping!) and a compact travel pillow for just £5.19, chuffed as a bean! hehe. I will put a review up as soon I get change to try them out!

Friday, 3 June 2016

#30DaysWild Day 3!

Treated myself to a nice and cosy night in for my challenge today! (Probably the only perk of feeling less than 100%!)

A few months back I spotted a mysterious bird meandering down the river, disappearing and then reappearing some few meters away. Now, I feel the need to produce a disclaimer before I go any further, I am not, by any means a bird expert, heck I'm probably totally wrong! But either way, I am trying to educate myself.

Right, where even was I ... ah yes, I was stood, lingering, waiting to spot it come back up. I was totally transfixed, a bird that I had never spotted before, on the same patch of river I had walked for months beforehand, and the only identification I have been able to come up with, is that it may be a Goosander! Here's the very few pictures I've managed, and the quality is absolutely awful, but you're just gonna have to deal with it! (Roll on the day I can afford a decent camera for myself!)

Do you guys agree? If not then pleasssse get in touch with me! I need to know what this beautiful bird is!

Regardless of what it is, I thought I would teach myself a few things about the Goosander anyway. It's Latin name is Mergus Merganser and it is a sociable bird (although I have only ever seen one of them, BUT it does hang out with all the swans and geese? does that count!?) It tends to nest in upland rivers, nesting in tree holes and crevices. The call of the Male can be determined by a low pitched croaking, whereas a harsh 'karr' sound and cackle with determine the female.

I may not have jumped in some cool puddles for my challenge (some of the things I have seen people doing have been amazing!) but I learnt myself a few new things!

Stay Wild Folks!

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Day 1 & 2! #30DaysWild

I still don't think I've gotten over the excitement of this challenge, I mean you wouldn't think I was an adult or anything! For Day One I sat down with a hot cuppa (and too many chocolate digestives to admit), and caught up with this years Springwatch! Once again this year they are filming from the RSPB Minsmere Reserve, down on the East coast of England. That place looks absolutely astonishing! That's definately going on my big old 'to do' list! This year, for the first time. they have managed to cam a Golden Eagle nest! (and yes, you know it's just as amazing as you think!) You can actually watch the live webcams live by clicking this link right here!

For Day Two I sat out on my front step to enjoy my first coffee of the day! (We all know that's the most important one) I let the cold air wake me up slowly, the sweet sound of birdsong filling my ears. This is the exact reason why this 30 day challenge is so amazing, it isn't about scaling the highest mountain you can every day. it's about consciously opening up your life for nature, and it's the small things that make that big difference! It didn't take long for my joyful meditation to be interrupted by my poor herb garden in desperate need of a watering - but I am really happy with how everything is growing! (Except for the Thyme, honestly letting the team down!) You should check out my 'National Gardening Month' post to see what it looked like before!
Sweet Pea, Parsley, Rosemary, Thyme and Chives! 

Admit it, you wish you had slippers as cool as mine!