National Badger Day

Today is the perfect day to be celebrating all that is badgers.

Badgers are one of the reasons why I got in to blogging and photography in the first place and I have been watching my local badgers for over 10 years.

Here’s a collage of photos from over those years and a little of what badgers mean to me.

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Surprise visitor to my local patch

Alexandrine parakeet

There was a colourful visitor to the village where I live today.

Easier to hear than to spot, this Alexandrine parakeet spent the afternoon flying between two hedgerows on the outskirts of the village, sometimes just sitting calling or at times being mobbed by crows.

Alexandrine parakeet

Ring-necked parakeets are a common sight in London. I’ve seen them in St James park but the bird today had slightly different marking, including red patches on the shoulders.

I’m not sure whether this is a captive bird that has escaped or a feral bird.

Ring necked parakeet from St James Park
Posted in Animals, birds, Blogging, Local patch, nature, Oxfordshire, Uncategorized, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

It’s been a while…

The past few months have meant many things for many people.

From more time at home, to missing friends and distant family, a chance to slow down but also quite frightening for some.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve found the past few months tough. I don’t want that to sound selfish, I have a nice home and garden to spend time in, local wildlife on my doorstep, I have food on the table and I have the technology to keep me entertained and in contact with friends.

But, mentally I have been a wreck. I’ve found it hard to concentrate on wildlife. Actually, I have spent time watching and being around wildlife but I’ve struggled to pick up a camera or write any words.

I think it’s felt as if me posting a photo of a bird and writing a few words didn’t mean very much in the big scheme of things during a global pandemic.

On a more positive note I’ve just started back at college and slowly feeling more optimistic, so hopefully I’ll be back posting on a more regular basis.

Posted in Blogging, Covid-19, fox, nature, outdoors, photography, Stay at home, Stay Wild, Uk nature, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Wildlife photography | Tagged , , , , | 21 Comments

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.

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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

 

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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 , , , , , , , , | 4 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

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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