Wednesday, 15 June 2016

#30dayswild days 12-14 - metal leaves, rainbows, clouds and webcams

Saturday - 12th June
We went away at the weekend and spent some fab time walking around College Lake, watching lightning, listening to thunder, making metal leaves, walking up Ivinghoe Beacon and generally having a great time with some of my family.

It was lovely visiting another Wildlife Trust place and watching my kids sharing the wildlife with their younger cousins. It was also amazing seeing a red kite fly just overhead whilst eating what looked like a fish. It was a shame I didn't manage to get a picture of it though but I did remember to tweet about it!!

Monday 13th June
I snapped the picture of the overgrown ditch in Berkhamsted (above, top right) because I am now more attuned to seeing green.

I spotted Jack by the Hedge at College Lake which I already knew about but I now recognise because I am trying to learn more edible plants. I am especially trying to learn about the ones in my garden and I have Jack by the Hedge underneath my trampoline.

I enjoyed making the metal leaves so much I bought more wire so that I can make some at home or in the woods!!

I even remembered to use my other camera which has a better zoom.

It was the only way I could get a decent picture of the chalk lion on the side of the hill near Whipsnade Zoo from the top of the beacon.

Again being more attuned to nature I got some rubbish video of the fabulous sunny, stormy sky on the way home. Watch and marvel at my videoing skills below!!

Tuesday 14th June 
Today I decided to do my #30dayswild task by watching some of the webcams and it was great. Until doing this challenge I didn't even know there were such things that you could watch for free.

Here are some of the photos I got but it really is better if you go and watch them yourself here and here.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

#30dayswild - day 10 & 11 - baby birds, raindrops, haiku, road-crossing geese

Day 10 of #30dayswild 

We went to Moorlands Nature Reserve again today after the rains and it was wonderful to see all the plants with water on them.

It was also fascinating to see the humidity it was creating as can be seen vaguely in the picture to the right.

Having been to the same place last week on day 3 of the #30dayswild challenge (blog and pictures here) is was interesting to see that a fair few of the blossoms were already gone and were scattered all over the path.

Again I found myself trying to identify bird calls which seems to be my thing as part of this challenge. I found a little pond whilst the family walked off and got some lovely video of raindrops causing ripples in the pond whilst the birds were singing all around (see below). 

Although Moorlands is a relatively small woodland it is amazing how many plants, ponds and birds there are as well as carvings, seating areas, a treehouse and great trees for climbing.

It is definitely a family favourite and it was great to see it whislt there were still lovely, colourful  rhododendron blooms before they all go.

Just before getting back to the entrance of the woodland I heard these baby birds chirping for food and managed to get a video of them being fed which was great.

Day 11 of #30dayswild 

I knew day 11 was going to be a tricky day because I was working a half day before heading off to see family down South which would leave very little time for wilderness stuff. Luckily I used the #30dayswild app before going bed and was told to write a haiku!! I love poetry so thought I could manage that whilst on the 3 hour car trip. However I didn't have to wait until then because I was woken up by birdsong at 5.40 am and I decided to write haiku about the birds that heard. Here are my attempts:

5.40 bird song / awake too early, so wrong / wake up call ding dong

6 o'clock birdsong / exchanging calls like ping pong / all still going strong

Now film ref birdsong / the crows singing bring it on / up where we belong

6.40 birdsong / small birds are still going strong / singing on and on

6.50 birdsong / a pigeon's cooing along / filling in plainsong

I then came across the road crossing geese on the way to work which shows you that even in central York nature is all around.

They made me chuckle because they crossed the first road (1st video) and waited to cross the double carriageway when it was clear (2nd video). This is something they have obviously done before!!

Thursday, 9 June 2016

#30dayswild - day 8 & 9 - maps, trains, owls, the bounts app and 4 green spaces in York

I took the opportunity on day 8 of the #30dayswild to walk a slightly longer way to my appointment over 3 miles away so that I took in 4 of the green spaces in York between my house and my appointment. I also decided that I would take this opportunity to be more aware of my surroundings.

Fishponds Wood is a nature reserve between Danebury Drive and Rosedale Avenue quite near my house and is the big green space on the map below. There are various ways that you can into it but it is a lovely green space right in the middle of Acomb, York.

There are always loads of birds singing there which is fab and because I knew it was going to take me just over an hour to walk to my appointment I set off extra early to make sure I had time to enjoy my suroundings on route.

What I also love about this nature reserve is that there are various different ways you can get out of it so you can always walk through it even if you are heading along Danebury Drive as I was - it is definitely nicer than walking along the road!!

Then is was on to Acomb Green which I skirted around the edge capturing this lovely picture of a laburnum and cherry in blossom before heading onto Hob Moor. Having spotted so many concreted driveways walking down to Fishponds I decided that along one stretch of road I was going to do a survey of drive ways.

It was quite depressing to be honest as there were more driveways concreted, bricked, paved with hardly any signs of plants or grass than there were flowers, hedges, greens. As you can see from these 2 pictures nature was trying to make a breakthrough in a fair few cases but I find it sad that people aren't considering the health impacts on paving over their front gardens. It is so much nicer/healthier to come out of your front door and see some plant or grass. I know people have to park cars but we have compromised on our driveway by using the plastic grass filled stuff - golpla - rather than extra paving. It works really well if anyone comes to stay and needs to park a second car and it means that we get grass, clover, dandelions, etc in our front garden.

Having done my little survey along one stretch of road I was over-joyed to view the following:

There have recently been a lot of murmurating (is that even a word?!?!) birds very near where I live but these were much bigger birds so thought I would get a video. It turned out that they were a group of homing pigeons that lived nearby. I didn't even know pigeons could flew like a starling murmuration!!! I know it wasn't as impressive as a large starling murmuration but it was fab to see at 12pm on a Wednesday.

Anyway on to Hob Moor which is right behind Lidl and is a great green space where I have done a forage with York Timebank before. Cows graze there which is always funny to see especially when they are right up at the fence next to Lidl.

Again I was greeted whilst I was walking with a lovely bunch of birds that were flying together very close to the ground, landing and then flying off again. My apologise for my appalling camera skills but I did at least capture the birds!!

There are some lovely trees on Hob Moor but this was my favourite.

What I also like about Hob Moor is the fact that right on the edge nearest the Knavesmire the railway goes goes by and there is a patch of woodland. Normally I walk right past there but today I thought it would be a great place to observe birdsong and I luckily captured 2 trains going past and then the birdsong on the video below:

I was sad not to capture the chiffchaff singing as they are favourite bird and I had heard one before the trains went past but I thought it was a lovely contrast between the trains and the birds.

So on to the Knavesmire and Knavesmire Woods were I enjoyed walking across the grass after so much concrete.

But soon it was back to pavements and my final destination.

You can see my map from Strava showing my route below and if you are someone who uses a fitbit, strava, mapmyrun or anything like that you might want to check out Bounts (and if you use my referral code to join you will get 100 free points which you can use on M&S, Starbucks, Waitrose, etc -> chamberlin-kidd183

Day 9
I had a lazy day today because I have a house full of ill people and wasn't feeling great myself either. So for my #30dayswild challenge today I stood outside once it had got dark and listened for a while.

My main reason for doing this was that last night laying in bed with the velux windows open I swore that I heard an owl. Owls are not something I have ever heard on the edge of York before but maybe this whole "being more observant for the #30dayswild challenge" is actually paying off because I did indeed hear an owl as I stood outside in the dark!!!! Amazing end to the day.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

#30dayswild day 6 & 7 - friends, sun and Museum Gardens

Day 6

Today I got my copy of How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff and I also had some rare free time so I decided to spend some time appreciating my garden and reading my book. I only ordered How I Live Now because I saw an article in the Guardian about Meg Rosoff condemning UK education policy as an 'assault on childhood' - what a woman!!

Here are the views I got to see whilst I was reading the book.

It was great to spend some time enjoying a book and stopping occasionally to enjoy my garden was a bonus.

This is one of the things I am loving about the #30dayswild challenge - it has made me slow down and actually observe myself  (needing to take some time for me and finding the space to do that) and it has made me think about my surroundings whether when walking, in my house, in my garden, etc.  

Later when I had a friend over I shared some Sweet Cicely with her - again something I might not have thought to do without the #30dayswild challenge. I am gaining knowledge and I want to share it with people. She loved the pods.

Whilst we were sitting outside I decided to have a got at my now dry nettle stems and started splitting them into 4 strands. It was not as easy as I had hoped and took longer than I thought but I managed to get some strands done.

I did a few more when she was gone whilst my husband finished carving a spatula with one of our new knives mentioned in the Bushcraft Show blog post here. I then finished the book and highly, highly recommend it to EVERYONE. It was a fantastic book to read as part of the #30dayswild challenge because there was food foraging, wild camping, river swimming and other wild activities.

Day 7
Knowing that I was going to be spending most of the day in York so that my dd could attend her drama class at the York Theatre Royal I decided to again spend some time noticing the nature that is in York.

It wasn't difficult to find some lovely nature throughout the bits of York I visited. We are very lucky to have the River Ouse running through the centre of the City which is always lovely to walk along or look at.

Quite often recently there has been a bird of prey place in the Museum Gardens and they had lost one of the new additions. It had a great time looking around and exploring.

I took the picture to the right with my phone before I remembered that I had brought my Samsung WB250F camera with me.

I got these other pictures with that camera and you can see the difference!!

I am trying to get better at using my camera so again the #30dayswild has again helped me to practice with the photography skills which is always easier if I remember to take my camera AND I remember to use it!!

After drama the children always like to spend some time in the Museum Gardens.

This gives us parents a chance to catch up with each other and it gave me a chance to get some pictures of us all connecting with and enjoying nature.

It was fantastic as always seeing the children running around playing together and we had decided to visit a different part of the Museum Gardens.

I sampled a coffee from the No8 Pavilion Pop Up Cafe and also enjoyed briefly visiting the Edible Wood and Artists' Garden that were created as part of the York City Art Gallery refurbishment.

Below are some of the things that I saw whilst walking through the gardens on my way home.



Edible Woods

Monday, 6 June 2016

#30dayswild day 5 - a day in the woods

Today was all about having fun in the woods. Dh gets to the woods most weeks but I prefer to go when there is a bigger group but I decided as part of the #30dayswild I thought I would go and drag ds, dd and coerce my fab bro to come with us aswell.

I thought I would also take the chance to take some pictures and cool videos. Here is one of the fabulous birdsong that you can hear when sitting in our lovely woodland.

Recently I have tried to start learning birdsong using an application on my phone. Like most people I seem to have always been able to recognise the cuckoo and pigeon. Recently I have learnt the song of the blackbird, chiffchaff and willow warbler. Today I learnt the chaffinch birdsong.

We then tested out dh's pot tripod and it worked a treat. The pot is one from Ronnie Sunshine which we bought from the Bushcraft Show 2016.

It is a 4 litre pot and I am very much looking forward to using it in the future.

At the same time we had bought a grill stand and this we did get to use for cooking lunch and making a cuppa. Listen to my kettle sing to tell me my water was ready.

My dh had even made a stick handle to pick up my kettle which worked really well and saved me having to find the fire proof gloves.

Dh then showed me the stash of stinkhorn mushrooms he had found the previous day. Our are obviously at the development stage but go here if you want to see what they are going to end up looking like although its latin name phallus impudicus might give it away if you don't know!!

I then thought I should actually try and find some wildlife myself rather than relying on my dh to have found it for me so I went hunting but I didn't have to go far until the wildlife came to me in the form of a bee.

#30dayswild day 4 - lunchtime walk and walk home York-style

It isn't always easy finding time to get out and about especially if you are working. I am in the planned/lucky position of home educating my children but I do work very part-time at the Northern College of Acupuncture in York as a Receptionist every other Saturday and I sometimes cover when the weekday receptionist is on their hols.

I have endeavoured whilst working here to take my 30 minutes lunch break and get out in some fresh air. The College is on Micklegate so a walk around or along the City Walls is often my walk of chose. So today that is what I did and here are some of the things I noticed!!!

I am not a particularly observant person so it was great as part of #30dayswild to actually have a reason to slow down and take in the scenery and how much green there really is even in the centre of York.

It was really lovely to notice that even when there are loads of roads and houses that there is still loads of greenery like here ->

I have fallen in love with York City Walls though because there is always something new to see as part of  the nature that grows near it.

I was really pleased to get this picture of a blackbird pecking along a wall and I noticed that there was a lot of birdsong which I could hear even above the noise of the constant traffic.

It is really important that these green spaces and trees are here because York is one of the cities that has very recently been names as one of the cities that breaches the pollution levels of fine particles in the air (read about it here.)
I also sometimes walk home (rather than cycle) and here are some of the fab places I can walk near, through, round on my way home from the centre of York up the A59.

Saturday was the first time I noticed this lovely path that has been mown through the flower meadow area near The Fox pub.

 It was lovely to be able to get off the concrete path even for a few minutes to walk through the long grass and admire the flowers.

It was then on to Holgate Business Park where I always walk through the park so I can admire this plant. I discovered from the Which Hedge website today that it is a Photinia 'Red Robin'

I then found this lovely purple flower which I think is a periwinkle although I could be wrong.

Again it was great to take the time to actually stop and see some of the fantastic wildlife that runs through the City of York.