30 Days Wild: Days 8-12

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Damselflies at Holme Fen Nature Reserve

Wow, the last 5 days have flown by and thrown up quite a variety of wildness, with us visiting new and old wild places, and seeing new and old species. Two of my biggest highlights of 30 Days Wild and a new favourite reserve have also come out of these adventures.

It’s been a busy few days so I’m a little behind with this 30 Days Wild update, so thank you for bearing with me. Here’s a few snapshots of what we have been up to!

Day 8

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This was polling day and so for our wild act Alex and I went to the polling station to vote for wildlife. As always, mention of the environment was woefully lacking in this election. Whilst voting for different parties at the polling station, we followed our hearts choosing what we felt were the best options for protecting the environment.

And an unexpected act of wildness. As it had been a windy day we’d come home to find our compost bin fallen over with its contents strewn across the lawn. It was in the garden when we first moved in and we found, with its recent collapse, that its contents were actually wholly unsuitable for creating compost, including mostly dry conifer branches and plastic. So, with leftover lawn cuttings I started again, creating a compost bin that will actually create compost and benefit our garden wildlife.

Day 9

After a day of political debate and chaos in the office with the shock election result, a wild escape was certainly needed! And we found one at the peaceful Ketton Quarry Nature reserve which is only 10 minutes drive from home and yet we’d never been. It’s a small reserve so it was ideal for an evening adventure!

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Ketton Quarry Nature Reserve

We wandered through mini valleys and mounds littered with rocks and uneven ground that evidenced its quarried past. The dense jumble of so many plants, wildflower, birds, rabbits and insects all intertwined was wonderful and absorbing to be in. It just shows what can develop if you let nature be after scarring a landscape through human exploitation. We also spotted a deer as it fled from us in the woodland and the alarm calls of a blackbird.

As the light began to fade we sat at the bottom of one of the mini valleys looking up at brambles and hedge that lined the brow of the hill. We’d seen a green woodpecker flit across and chattering blue tits in the brambles so we sat down still and silent for a bit of wildlife watching. And we were rewarded for our quiet vigil!  A ball of pinky-red ringed with black appeared in a dense tree with Alex’s cry of ‘Is it Bullfinch?’. I confirmed it was, having seen them during my uni days in Cornwall. But I was just as thrilled as he, having not seen what is one my all time favourite  birds for over three years!

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Bullfinch

Day 10

Our trip to Holme Fen Nature Reserve for our wild adventure on Saturday has been my favourite wild act so far this month. Another local reserve we’d never been to, and we’d not even heard of it before. It’s tucked away secretly on the edge of the Fens. It is a stunning silver birch forest covered in jungle like fern with stretches of water hidden amongst trees. I won’t give away too much about it as I’ll be blogging about it for Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust for 30 Days Wild, but I will share some of my photos here. And I must mention that we heard a cuckoo which was a huge highlight for me! Watch this space for my blog over the weekend.

Day 11

Stamford Meadows is our nearest patch of wild with us living in the town centre. The closely mown carpet-like grass of the main area of greenspace gives way to a truly wild meadow, if not as filled with wildflower as I’d like. Brambles, thistles and nettles stand as tall as us in places. Insects and bird song crowd this area with a river and stream running either side filled with fish. But the little egret and kingfisher didn’t greet us that day. I think of the meadows as my very own edgeland, a concept that anyone who has read Common Ground will be familiar with!

There’s always wild things to discover if you look closely in the meadows, as you can see!

Day 12

Today’s act, as written on our 30 Days Wild wall chart, is to watch a nature documentary and after a long Monday at work and me writing this blog I think it’s likely that’s all we have the energy and time for today. The show of choice will of course be Springwatch! I’m particularly enjoying this series with the focus on birds of prey (especially the red kite) and with the new setting away from their usual nature reserves. I feel I’ve learnt a lot from this series, and I’m looking forward to seeing what else I’ll learn today!

What have you been up to for 30 Days Wild over the past 5 days? I’m loving reading all about everyone’s wild acts on blogs and social media!

If you’d like to hear more about what I’m up to this month for 30 Days Wild, follow my blog (click the button at top of right sidebar ^), like my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter and Instagram!

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