School Grounds #EcoSchoolsAtHome Frugi 10 day challenge

Frugi and Eco-schools England have launched a 10 days #EcoschoolsAtHome challenge.

Each day there are different challenges you can download and take part in.

Today is Day 7 and it’s all about going back to school.

Many children and young adults have been away from school since March and have only recently been attending part-time.

None of us really know what September will bring, including me. I have been off college, but remote learning since the beginning of the restrictions.

Head over to the websites to find out more about the school grounds challenge and a chance to win a copy of Get Your Boots On as part of a Back To School kit.

Eco-schools           or      Frugi

Get Your Boots On - Cover

 

Posted in Blogging, Books, Competition, Covid-19, Get Your Boots On, outdoors, Uncategorized, Wildlife, wildlife books | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Global Citizenship #EcoSchoolsAtHome Frugi 10 day challenge

Frugi and Eco-schools England have just launched a 10 days #EcoschoolsAtHome challenge.

Each day there are different challenges you can download and take part in.

Head over to the websites to find out more

Frugi

or here

Eco-schools

The websites are full of ideas and challenges children and young people from Pre-school through to college can do to learn about and help our amazing planet.

Posted in Blogging, Citizen science, Local patch, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Get Your Boots On – nearly a year on

As many of you know Get Your Boots On was published nearly a year ago on 3rd July 2019.

On my social media, I’ve started doing a count down. It’s 4 days until a whole year since Get Your Boots On was released out into the wild.

Get Your Boots On - Cover

There were plenty of things I enjoyed about writing and putting the book together but one of my favourite parts was talking to other people about their passions, their jobs, their experiences, and knowledge.

Here are a few of the people that shared their thoughts. Huge thanks to all of them.

Get Your Boots On is available from Bookshops and online

 

 

Posted in Animals, Blogging, Books, Environment, Every child wild, Get Your Boots On, Local patch, mammals, nature, Nature Books, outdoors, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife books | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

30 Days Wild – Day 7 – Butterflies

In between the rain showers today there were long patches of sunshine that the butterflies took advantage of.

Along one hedgerow and down into the flower meadow I came across these few species of butterfly.

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_07

IMG_5393 (1)IMG_5384IMG_5354IMG_0486IMG_0483

 

Posted in 30 Days Wild, Butterfly, Environment, hedgerows, Local patch, nature, photography, Uncategorized, Wildflowers, Wildlife photography | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

30 Days Wild – Day 5 – badger identification

Over the past few weeks of dry weather, we have had quite a few visitors to the garden pond.

First, a female badger turned up and regularly came 5 or 6 times a night to drink. She is lactating so has cubs somewhere. We think it is Arrow, the female from a sett on my local patch.

Mum has been studying the film footage and has worked out that at certain times she comes she has lots of milk, she must then go back and feed her cubs before returning again. Mum is trying to work out how long she leaves her cubs between feeding.

This is the female from last night, front and side view

Female front view clear eyes, clear earsside view Female, lactating, clear eyes and ears

A few weeks later a second badger started visiting. This one’s left eye doesn’t reflect in the light and it has a damaged right ear.

male badger L eye, R earmale Left eye, right ear

At first we thought it might be Pirate, a badger we have been watching for a long time with a damaged left eye but looking closer at the photos of him from 2018 the white stripe on the side of his face is much longer than our new visitor.

 

Last night we had a third badger turn up. This one has a split right ear but both eyes are good.

 

 

Front view spilt right ear, clear eyes

As you can see the ear is split in two.

split right ear, clear eye

Looking back over old footage, I filmed the same badger back in February when the scar over his eye was much bigger.

 

I use this identification sheet from Badgerlands to note down all the different markings that I see on the badgers.

badger id sheet

I’m trying to come up with a way, maybe a template on how to measure the white and/or black stripe. The downside is the badger has to be in the same position.

This is the same badger but the template looks different because the badger is at different angles. Although there is still the same bump over the eye and the stripe ends in the same place around the bottom of the ear.

White stripe

female white stripe

This one is much more square at the nose and dips down much further than the ear lobe, but could be due to having some ear missing

black stripe

I would be interested to know if anyone has already done studies in identifying different badgers.

Posted in 30 Days Wild, Animals, Badgers, Blogging, Citizen science, Environment, Local patch, mammals, nature, photography, science, trail camera, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Wildlife photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

30 Days Wild – Day 4 – Little things

Sometimes it’s good to spend time noticing the little things. The intricate lives of insects and beetles.

During a short walk from my house I took photos of a nettle weevil, aphids, ants and raindrops.

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_04

Posted in 30 Days Wild, Blogging, Environment, Get Your Boots On, insects, Local patch, outdoors, photography, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Wildlife photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

30 Days Wild – Day 3 – Petrichor

Today the wind direction changed and the rain showers arrived. Although the temperature dropped by around 10 degrees and the rain showers were on and off all day it wasn’t enough rain to make a difference to the local wildlife.

Petrichor – Definition: “A pleasant, distinctive smell frequently accompanying the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather in certain regions.” ( Oxford English Dictionary)

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_03

Rain cloudsRain cloud

Posted in 30 Days Wild, Blogging, Environment, Local patch, Oxfordshire, Uncategorized, Weather | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

30 Days Wild – Day 2 – Water

With all dry weather recently many birds and animals are struggling to find fresh water.

One easy way to help them is to put a dish of water out in your garden. It doesn’t have to be anything special just a saucer or a bowl. I have used a dish from a plant pot.

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_02

IMG_0330

We have a pond which has been a vital resource for local wildlife

 

 

Get Your Boots On - Cover

Get Your Boots On available from Dived Up Publications

Most book shops

or online

 

 

 

Posted in 30 Days Wild, Badgers, birds, Blogging, Environment, garden, Local patch, mammals, nature, photography, Stay Wild, trail camera, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Wildlife photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

30 Days Wild – End of No Mow May

Today starts another 30 Days Wild run by The Wildlife Trust. I’ve taken part in this for a number of years now, but if you haven’t heard of it before you can find more details by clicking HERE

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_01

During May we take part in No Mow May and at the beginning of May our garden looked like this

Now it looks like this

No Mow May is run by Plantlife and yesterday we took part in ‘Every Flower Counts’.

To do this you randomly select a 1 metre square grid and count the flowers within the grid, fill in a few questions on the Plantlife website and you get a Personal nectar score for the garden. Here’s mine.

Screenshot 2020-06-01 at 16.01.21

The same as last year, we won’t be cutting the lawn until after the summer.

Posted in 30 Days Wild, Environment, garden, Get Your Boots On, insects, Local patch, nature, outdoors, photography, Stay Wild, Uncategorized, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Wildlife photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Competition time: Kennedy Wild Bird Food Giveaway

During lockdown and the current restrictions I’ve teamed up with family run Kennedy Wild Bird Food for a guest blog post on attracting wildlife to your garden and a chance to win a bundle of bird food and feeders.

You can find out more about Kennedy Wild Bird Food here https://www.kennedywildbirdfood.co.uk/

Kennedy

Great ways to attract wildlife to your garden

Many people strive for a beautiful garden, but no garden would be complete without the sound of birds chirping and singing. Birds, and wildlife in general bring sound, colour and charisma to a garden.

Not only that, with declining numbers of birds, butterflies and many other wildlife species, it’s more important that every for us to try to create habits (and food sources) in our garden for as many of the Great Britain’s beautiful creatures as we can.

It’s no easy feat attracting wildlife to your garden, so here are a few tips and tricks to help transform your garden into a safe little haven for all kinds of wild birds.

1. Ensure you have enough plants and shrubbery

This one’s an easy one for the keen gardeners out there this one is something you’ll definitely be onboard with, but it is a fact that manicured and empty lawns are not of interest to birds and smaller ground creatures. They need shrubs, trees and climbers to pique their interest and encourage them to make your garden their new home. In fact, hedges are of interest to the likes of hedgehogs as well as birds by adding in a place for them to nest. It also gives them the ability to catch their own food as lots of insects tend to arrive wherever there is shrubbery, plants and hedges.

2. Provide them with food

One of the easiest things you can do to attract wildlife to your garden is ensure they have a constant food supply. Once the birds and bees and everything in between begin to associate your garden with food, you’ll have friends for life. Use a variety of feeding techniques and locations to attract as many birds as possible into your garden. Some common visitors may include Finches, Tits, Starlings, Sparrows, Blackbirds, Hedgehogs and Robins.

A little tip: In winter fat balls provide a great calorie boost for hungry birds, and in the breeding season putting out sunflower hearts will provide an excellent protein source for birds with hungry chicks to feed.

3. Make sure they have a safe environment

Just as people like to feel safe in their homes, so do our little friends! Somewhere secure away from possible predators and harm will make sure your garden is not only a place to feed for these animals, but a place to live. Birds especially spend a lot of their lives avoiding garden and won’t stay around for long if they hear a purring cat nearby. So, a great idea is to position feeding stations around the garden and try to place these shelters and feeders in places where the cats can’t reach. Instead, raise the height and put these things in a spot where birds can get a good view of the garden at all times.

4. Ensure they have a clean water supply

Wildlife enjoy a relaxing bath as much as everyone else does, especially the birds. That’s why it’s nice to create a sloping bath in your garden, which will encourage some feathers friends to stop by and use it. Remember to keep the water clean and refill it as often as you can. Make sure the water doesn’t go deeper than 10cm and ensure to add some flat stone in the centre of the bath. If you want to go the extra step, try giving them a nice steppingstone so they can jump out and fly away if they would like to.

 

5. Nest Boxes

All wildlife can benefit from nest boxes, particularly smaller birds who struggle to compete with their larger friends for a home. It’s all about the location, after all, and birds and creatures will be grateful for the long-term shelter and homes. According to the Royal society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), over 60 species have used nest boxes in the past. The most popular users include the likes of Robins, House Sparrows, Blue Tits and Goldfinches.

TO ENTER

If you would like a chance of winning the bundle of the Kennedy Wild Bird Food and feeders pictured below to start attracting wildlife to your garden.

Just answer the following question:

What has been your favourite bird that has visited your garden during lockdown?

Kennedy wild bird food prize

Leave your answer in the comments below by 7th June 2020.

One lucky winner will be chosen to win this prize bundle, and notified on 8th June 2020. 

A massive thank you to Kennedy Wild Bird Food for donating the wonderful prize

Sorry – UK residents only

Good Luck and I can’t wait to hear what birds you’ve seen.

Posted in birds, Blogging, Competition, Environment, garden, Local patch, nature, outdoors, Uncategorized, Wildlife photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments