The Wildlife Trusts Challenge during June, was to share our random acts of wildness photos using #30dayswild. I took photos and posted some of them on IG — but it’s not all about taking photos — it’s about SEEING and DOING. Obviously there are random acts of wildness that go unrecorded by the camera! Like the merlin hunting dragonflies swooping down at great speed, the tip of the wing skimming the water. The flight of this raptor was fast and made me think of a jet fighter! So, no, I didn’t manage to capture it with a photo, but I gained something even better — the magnificence of this bird is in my mind forever.
I don’t rate myself as a wildlife photographer and envy the greats that produce astounding shots. But, I enjoy photography and the #30 Days Wild Challenge encouraged me to go out there with my small camera always in my pocket, on the hunt! Hunting wildlife with my Canon PowerShot SX740 HS!—in my book, the only acceptable form of hunting wildlife is shooting them with a camera.
Hunting can lead to success! I was lucky enough to see a water-vole at Rainham Marshes RSPB Nature Reserve on #Day 9!
It is unthinkable that these loveable animals are on the vulnerable to extinction UK conservation list.
The discipline of spending a little time focusing (well, I’m focusing, but ofttimes my camera isn’t!) is good for us and creatively wild!.
“Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye.”Dorothy Parker
Watching nature is contemplative and can lead to discovering life that may otherwise go unnoticed. I mean, for instance, what is this that is lurking unidentified under a leaf?
One morning, I manage to quickly snap some images of a beautiful pair of bullfinches in a hedgerow.
Ok, the picture is a little ‘soft’ focus, but the birds were some distance away and my camera did it’s best without a tripod. Blurred images may not win any photographic competitions, but can still be useful in identifying species and used as ‘evidence’ shots of sightings. The bullfinches are enjoying a breakfast on the plant hawksbeard which some gardeners refer to as a ‘weed’.
Weeds are valuable plants and unjustly have a poor PR. Flowering wild plants like hawksbeard in the garden are too often discredited as ‘weeds’. It drives me wild! (appropriate for 30 Days Wild). That such plants as the hawksbeard and the dandelion can be torn ruthlessly from the ground in such earnest by tidy gardeners is a shame. Tidy gardeners need to get messy! To me, the dandelion is a king of edible plants! It makes good wine too! I don’t know about hawksbeard? Can you make wine out of hawksbeard? Are you listening all you tidy gardeners out there? NOT MOWING could save you extra time — time you could use making dandelion wine!
Slow Down For Nature
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.William Henry Davies
I have always loved the poem by William Henry Davies titled Leisure. It says it all for me — that a good quality of life depends on taking time to care and appreciate wildlife and nature. To stand and stare. Nothing to stop you sitting and staring, either!
I try to pause, study and enjoy nature whenever I can. But, I live in the City and it can be easy to forget about making time for wildlife. Especially, when one is concentrating hard not to get shoved off the pavement by the stampeding hordes of passers-by — hurrying toward somewhere ‘important’ (is Hell classed as somewhere important?). I can’t avoid getting caught up in the desperate ducking and diving—and the dashing urgency of the manic melee and hustle of a great metropolis.
It’s all too easy to lose sight of nature in the tornadic turmoil of a city.
Slowing down to connect with nature can put things into perspective about what’s important in your life. According to recent scientific studies spending only twenty minutes a day in nature can significantly lower stress hormone levels.
“A person should spend at least 20 minutes a day communing with nature, and a busy person should spend at least an hour”
What I like about the 30 Days Wild Challenge it encouraged me to go outside and look for something wild—to get out there and go seek and find.
My mother said,
“A going foot always gets something—even if it’s only a stone”
It was one of her sayings I remember that she often used to urge my lazing reclining figure off the sofa and get me to venture outside into the fresh air,
Many stones later…
On #Day One of the 30Days Wild Challenge we set off to buy a new tent. Is that a wild thing to do?
We find a campsite in Dorset. And find one of the stones my mother might have been talking about! Lol
Hey! I’ve posted a pic of your stone Wokingham Rocks! Is there a prize? 🙂
Camping Beneath The Stars
We pitch our shiny new tent in the wilds of the countryside for a week. With my new found focus on nature it feels great to be out of the city and camping in a field, gazing up at a bright moon in a clear starlit sky free of the light pollution of the city.
By Jupiter! With my handheld Canon PowerShot SX740HS camera I actually manage to get a shot of Jupiter and two of its orbiting moons! (don’t know which ones). How wild is that? Can you see the moons? Yes you can! Look closely — they’re at 8 O’clock and 2 O’clock of the planet.
Jupiter is approaching Earth and will be at its closest encounter the night of 20-21st September 2019.
Camping is great when it rains!
I love the clatter of it upon the fabric of the tent.
Watch out! The the rain has eyes 👀
Tell me you can’t see the EYES! 👀 🙂
In the Wilds and Offline!
I could not share most of my 30 Days Wild captures on social media during camping ‘in the wild’. My digital appliances went flat and remained buried deep in the bowels of my bag (now that is wild!). No phone for a whole Week!
The Song Thrush
At dusk on #Day 21 it is the longest day, and a thrush is singing his heart out in a tree at the bottom of the field. A melodic song of sunshine and happiness. A joy to whoever listens. It is a song fitting for the Solstice.
Watching the short video below you may wonder where my tripod is!—but just enjoy the song. Why not plug in your earphones and listen while you finish reading this blog?
The Song Thrush is UK conservation Red.
There are times when you can’t ‘get out there into the wild ‘ so, you just have to let nature come to you.
Like these wood pigeons looking in at me looking out at them on a rainy day.
Just to mention the wonder ‘weed’ hawksbeard once more!—if you want wildlife to come to you, plant hawksbeard (or allow it to self seed, as ours did) in a window box. We only have a tiny city balcony but the goldfinches come to eat the HAWKSBEARD! Just saying.
Wild flowers and herbs attract wildlife to our tiny ‘green space’ — even a small flower pot can become a vital haven for insects and birds and make a difference.
Random Act of Wildness
‘Daily Random Acts’ during 30 Days Wild can mean randomly saving a moth from being trapped in a toilet cubicle. Like this moth I noticed with no apparent way out.
My knowledge of moths is sadly lacking — and haven’t a clue to what this moth is called.
And what is this dark beauty of a butterfly I see? I’ve got a lot of finding out to do!
Time is up!
Now the 30 Days Wild is up, I shall endeavour in the future, to spend a little time during the day (or night) taking notice of what is the most valuable and important thing in our lives — taking the time to pause and ‘see’ the precious wildlife that we have the privilege of sharing this Earth with.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
Mental Health is an important aspect of everyone’s existence. To make a connection with nature is one sure way of regaining a contentment that the stresses of modern day life can be so expert at taking away from us.
I raise my glass to toast the London Wildlife Trust 30 Days Wild project for raising awareness to the value of slowing down for nature — and highlighting the need to conserve and protect our wildlife. Here’s to improved mental health, wellbeing and happiness! Enjoy nature!
Got to go now and brush my hair. Anyone got a comb?