Scarlet Tiger moths – Day 15

Day 15 of 30 Days Wild

Around 8pm last night straight opposite my house around 70 Scarlet Tiger moths appeared.

Some flew high around the trees, other fluttered around on the ground, while a few paired up on leaves and grass stems. Plus one that look deformed.

Does anyone know if it is common to see this many together?

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Day 14 – Butterflies

The hedgerow and meadow were full of butterflies after school today. I managed to photograph a few for Day 14 of 30 days Wild.

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Large Skipper

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Large White

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Large White

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Small Tortoiseshell

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Peacock

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Speckled Wood

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Speckled Wood

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Meadow Brown

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Forest school, Day 13 of 30 Days Wild

For Day 13 of 30 Days Wild I went back to my Primary school to talk about 30 Days Wild.

It was really nice to be invited back and to see some of my ex-teachers especially the one who encouraged my love of wildlife.

I met the group of year 6’s where their Forest school takes place.

After being introduced to everyone I talked a little about my passion for wildlife, my blog and photography. Then they told me about their Random Acts Of Wildness they have been doing for 30 Days Wild.

Everyone then had half an hour to explore the area looking for signs of wildlife or making rope swings.

A small group of us spent some time looking under logs and in the base of trees. We were lucky enough to come across a Violet Ground beetle, a mouse, a centipede, plenty of hazelnut shells left by squirrels, fox poo and the remains of a Jackdaw.

After drinks and biscuits the children talked about

F – First        A – Attempt         I – In         L – Learning

Each person got the chance to tell the group what they would like to improve on. Mine was patience while waiting for the opportunity to take a photo.

Big thank you to my old school for inviting me to join them for the afternoon and I hope everyone enjoys continuing with their 30 Days Wild.

 

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Walk in the woods – Day 12

The woods are now every shade of green imaginable.

On a slow walk through the woods I noticed the bluebells from last month have been replaced by uncurling bracken. The trees now heavy with leaves of many shapes and sizes.

As I walk around the sound of birdsong changes in the different parts of the wood from the harsh call of Jays and Jackdaws to the warning calls of Wrens and Blackcaps.

Every so often the smell of honeysuckle drifts around in the air, while Speckled wood butterflies dance along the rides.

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TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_12

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Follow a trail – Day 11

 

For day 11 of 30 Days Wild we followed the trail of a fox. We crawled on our hands and knees through bracken and nettles, under brambles and over fallen logs.

We found discarded meat and an old rabbit skull.

I could smell one of the foxes which must have passed through moments earlier.

Fox poo illustrated to us we were on the right trail and tufts of rabbit fur and scattered pigeon feathers indicated the way.

Deer footprints and badger snuffle holes showed us foxes weren’t the only ones to use these trails.

After around an hour and covered with stings and scratches, our knees dirty and hair full of twigs and leaves, we were rewarded with the beautiful sight of fox cubs playing.

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Day 10 of 30 Days Wild – Grass verges and Orchids

Grass verges are a very important source of food and shelter for many species of wildlife, including butterflies and bees.

It is great to see around my local patch that only the verges on a junction or corner have been cut for safety.

If you look closely in to the mass of grasses and nettles there are a surprising amount of wildflowers in each patch.

For the second year I went to a particular patch just off a busy dual carriageway where I know both Pyramidal and a single bee orchid grow.

Bee orchids, although the flower mimics a bee and in some species of orchid this is to attract bees, this bee orchid generally self pollinates.

The Bee orchid can grow 15cm to 50cm tall, with usually 6 flowers. Bee orchids sometimes only flower once in their lifetime. They can take as long as five to eight years before they reach a flowering stage.

They can be found on dry, open, grassy slopes but also frequently on industrial waste ground, road verges, quarries and gravel pits.

Pyramidal orchids can also be found on road verges, quarries, gravel pits as well as coastal grassland. They grow up to 25cm high.

It is only the young flowers that has the pyramidal shape. Once they open fully they will become oval or egg-shaped. They start flowering March to April but are mostly seen through June and July.

Grass verges need to be cut in order prevent vigorous grasses taking over everything. Cutting in late July will allow wild flowers the opportunity to flower and set seed.

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Pyramidal orchid
Anacamptis pyramidalis

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Bee Orchid Ophrys apifera

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Day 9 of 30 Days Wild – Litter picking

I’ve not been able to get out much over the past two days, but I managed to go for a short walk with the dogs and picked up some litter.

A while ago I wrote about the danger to wildlife that balloons cause when they are released in to the air, not only littering but killing wildlife that eats them or gets tangled up in the string. The RSPCA have a brilliant PDF with alternative suggestions.

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I found all these pieces of litter on the road side. They have probably been thrown out of passing cars which is just lazy.

Cans and bottles can also be not only harmful to wildlife, but to cats and dogs.

Google videos and look at a few to see what they do!

Chewing gum is another issue, wildlife can eat it or smaller birds and animals can get stuck in it. Chewing gum contains xylitol which is poisonous to dogs.

Please take your rubbish home.

 

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