Day 6: Getting tired

Day 6 #30dayswild
Day 6 of my #30DaysWild adventure has had it’s up’s and down’s. It often gets to this time of  year and I start feeling slightly sad that we’ve already seen the best of spring.

Don’t you ever feel like you want to stop the world and get off for a bit? Days, weeks and months feel like they’re disappearing far too fast – maybe it’s “me age”. Probably.

So, to take in as much as I possibly could today, I sat in the garden and just “watched”.

red mason  (2)

Inevitably it was the bees that caught my eye. The poor old female red mason bees looked like I felt. Tired and a bit jaded round the edges. One landed on the arm of my chair and seemed to share time with me before getting back to the important job of completing her nest in the bee hotel.

red mason  (3)

It won’t be long before the red mason bees have finished their nests, and already there are new visitors to the bee hotel and garden.

Mournful Wasp Pemphredon lugubris

This Mournful Wasp – Pemphredon lugubris (not sure where it gets its depressing name from), is actually doing me a big favour in the garden, apparently it catches up to 40 aphids to fill each nesting chamber it builds for its young (also in the bee hotel).

They’re welcome to the aphids as long as they leave a few for the ladybirds!


In the mini-meadow the Ox-eye daisies are starting to bloom, and this small solitary bee was feeding. Such a delicate little thing, it makes you wonder how something that small manages to survive more than a day – let alone a few weeks.

So now I guess we need to welcome summer… and leave spring behind.

Day 4: A rubbish spider

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_04Sorry, that should read “rubbish” AND a “spider”. I used to think all spiders were rubbish (actually I used to run a mile from any that got within 3ft of me) but I’ve grown to love them just a little bit over the last few years when I’ve had the chance to watch and photograph them.

But let’s start with the rubbish. At the bottom of the garden I have a gate that leads onto a small playing field. It’s not very exciting, just some football posts and a small kiddies playground, but it’s a nifty shortcut to the Co-op beyond. On a mercy mission to buy milk yesterday I was horrified by the amount of rubbish everywhere, and I mean everywhere.

You couldn’t walk from one side of the field to the other without treading on a sweet wrapper, coke tin, beer tin, biscuit wrapper or crisp packet. It had been bugging me since yesterday… why do people do it? So on my tea-break this morning I found a black bin bag and a pair of old gardening gloves and went litter picking! Half and hour later – fairly clean field and quite a bit of rubbish!

Ta dah!

Ta dah!

So what about the spider? Well, it was a tiny jumping spider I happened to spot when I came back from my Wombling.

I think it was the bright blue aphid it was eating that caught my eye first – but there’s nothing like spending 10 mins watching a tiny creature to help you forget your woes.

At least this one did today – so thank you Mr Spider… and sorry I called you rubbish!

Day 3: Running, owls and butterflies

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_03Day three of the Wildlife Trusts #30DaysWild Challenge and it started with a wild run on what I’ve just found out is “national running day” (didn’t know there was such a thing!).

Since I started running a couple of years ago I’ve always hated running on pavements and around the local housing estates (where’s the fun in that?) plus my ageing knees don’t much like the hard surfaces. So, it’s always a pleasure to run “off piste” on the tracks and footpaths around the edge of our ever growing urban extension.

To the woods, to the woods!

To the woods, to the woods!

Saying that I’m incredibly lucky to have lowland heath, woods and meadows on my doorstep (and if I pound out a few extra miles there’s even beaches, water meadows and rolling downland a skip and a jump away).

Today was just a short round-the-block run – with the added interest of seeing roe deer, woodpeckers and maybe even my favourite owl. He didn’t disappoint. As I ran under his oak tree he flew up onto a higher branch and grumpily stared at me. You can’t beat starting the day with a grumpy little owl staring at you!

Grumpy little owl

Grumpy little owl

To be honest I thought that would be it as far as wildlife for the day, as I settled into a pile of work in front of the computer, but at about 11am I got a very welcome email from my wildlife-loving friend John, asking if I fancied going for a walk around a new Dorset Wildlife Trust meadow nature reserve for an hour at lunchtime. Well, it would have been rude not to!

Common blue - a male I think

Common blue – a male I think

Great to see a couple of butterfly species, along with solitary bees, bumbles, beetles, moths and starlings nesting in a telegraph pole. At last the sun seems to have made a welcome return!

Definitely not a bad way to spend an hour on day three of #30DaysWild.

Small copper

Small copper

Day 2: Bumble in trouble

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_02We’ve all read the newspaper headlines saying bumblebees are in trouble and their numbers are declining, well today, in a small and insignificant way, I was able to help one as part of my #30DaysWild Challenge.

I’ve been thinking a lot about “my wild life” today, and realised that the wildlife REALLY important to me is the stuff in my garden and on my patch. That sounds incredibly insular, but I just can’t get away from the fact that it’s true.  OK, yes, I care deeply about the future of wildlife and wild habitats in the UK (and throughout the world for that matter), but what matters to me most, and what affects me every single day, is the wildlife in my garden.

A Holly blue hanging onto the Green Alkanet for dear life!

A Holly blue hanging onto the Green Alkanet for dear life!

I wandered out there this afternoon to sit by the pond. It’s something I do most days in the summer, just for 10 mins (sometimes longer) especially when the sun comes out – as it did late this afternoon.

A Girdled mining bee hiding in a buttercup

A Girdled mining bee hiding in a buttercup

Having rained pretty much non-stop all day, the dry spell was greeted by hundreds of bees descending onto the flowery flowerbeds. However, the one thing that hadn’t stopped was the wind. Giant gusts were still blowing me, the garden chairs, the plants and the bees around like we were in some kind of enormous spin-dryer.

A Buff tailed bumblebee coming into land

A Buff tailed bumblebee coming into land

I coped, even the garden chairs and the plants were OK, but one particular bumble was really struggling.

One bumblebee was struggling

One bumblebee was struggling

Desperate for food and up against a fierce wind, it couldn’t even fly from flower to flower, and was becoming weaker and weaker as I watched. So I helped.

It made it to another flower

It made it to another flower

I held a flower close, and it clambered on to it and fed.

... and another

… and another

Having finished feeding from that one, I offered it another, and another, until it seemed at last to get its mojo back and with a buzz, it could fly again.

Day 1: #30DaysWild

I’ve signed up to the Wildlife Trusts #30DaysWild Challenge this month – and will be trying to commit acts of random wildness for the whole of June. So watch out!

10033271Day one, and the weather wasn’t ideal but at lunchtime I did  manage to slip away from my desk for 30 mins to sit with the bees at the solitary bee hotel and munch on a sandwich.

Not a lot of action, it has to be said, but it still helped to clear my head for a few minutes and I guess that’s the idea of the campaign.

Marmite and crisp sandwich and bees. Doesn't get much better!

Marmite and crisp sandwich and bees. Doesn’t get much better!

We seem to have lost our connection with nature, technology has taken over for the majority of our lives – sometimes you just have to say “stuff it” and get away from it all.

Mating Red Mason Bees - oooo errr!

Mating Red Mason Bees – oooo errr!

Well, that’s exactly what I did, and there’s nothing quite like the cute pollen laden bottom of a red mason bee to make you smile and ready for an afternoon of work! Honest!

Who couldn't love that bottom!???

Who couldn’t love that bottom!???

If you fancy taking part in #30DaysWild you can still join in the fun – just go to the special #30DaysWild website here 

In need of a reminder

I don’t know about you but as the years pass (and seem to blur) I can never remember what I’ve seen when, so this year to jog my memory here’s some highlights from January/February 2014. Hopefully some of these will make an appearance VERY soon.

The wild year started slowly in my patch but by the 23 January there was a brambling on the feeder, along with a mass of greenfinch and goldfinch and the odd bullfinch. The flowers started popping at the beginning of February and I saw my first bee, a red tailed bumblebee, on the 16 February. The month ended with the annual frog knees-up at the pond.

I think I’m ready now for 2015 – but just make sure you throw some wildlife at me really, really soon otherwise I might sink into a deep depression and hibernate until April!