My Dawn Chorus Guide

2011
(apologies for the dodgy voice-overs)

International Dawn Chorus Day is annually the first Sunday in May – it was invented in Birmingham, in 1984 at Moseley Bog LNR.

Thanks for visiting 🙂

October: Amazing Autumn

Made in October 2011 [VIDEOS], three great things to look out for this month:  acorn crazy Jays, Rutting Fallow Deer & fun looking Fungi!

🥜 🦌 🍄

Apologies for the inaccuracies in the Fungi video; pronunciation of hallucinogenic and apparently you can eat  Amethyst Deceivers – but it is better to be safe than sorry!  (No matter how good a recipe sounds!)  😆

Thanks for visiting!  x

Eurasian Nuthatch

On 28th March (2018) I was out walking with my mum, when I spotted a couple of Nuthatches on the edge of a wood where we were just about to walk through, and I happened to notice that one of them was putting mud around a hole in a tree, as its nest is in the cavity of the tree.

My mum and I was delighted to witness this and were both surprised at how close to the path it was.  Recently I purchased my latest video camera – my first semi-professional one – a Canon XF300 and decided I would return on a day with better weather and test it out on the Nuthatches.

On 5th April (2018), the conditions were perfect, so I went to where I observed said behaviour and thankfully the construction was continuing and below is what I filmed:

Thanks for visiting 🙂

AFON Guest Blog: Here’s to a green 2017!

(My post for A Focus On Nature)

For 2017, what I would like is Nature Conservation to be taken more seriously by Councils and the Government.  They need to properly see it as a Universal Problem.  It is not an issue only for a certain class system, region, gender, sexuality, age or level of education – we all share this country, and caring for nature and our natural environment is everybody’s responsibility.  Hopefully Planet Earth II was a wake up call for those that work for a Town / City Council or as an MP who have not signed the Greener UK pledge.
I also hope it has encouraged people to support their local nature conservation charities.

Hearing about woodland / greenbelt being decimated for housing developments (or HS2) angers me – it is disgusting and very ill considered, as there are plenty of derelict buildings and brownfield sites that should be used instead!  Urbanisation is not progression, it’s alienation.  There is less crime in places with woodland / greenbelt and it reduces stress in people of all ages.  They are great for escapism, as they’re somewhere to walk your dog or get fresh air alone or with your partner or friend(s).  Such places boost children’s will to learn and they are often more imaginative and creative – it’s somewhere for these children to explore and find wildlife too!  It also improves house sales – people want to live near areas surrounded by greenery, because, let’s face it, it is pleasant!  Trees, hedgerows and grasses filter impurities from the air and also help lower temperatures during heat-waves.  Trees reduce erosion of soil, which finds its way into our waterways during periods of heavy rainfall.  This then has the knock on effect of creating flooding because of the build up of silt – due to the lack of trees in the first place.  They are also a much needed habitat for nature; plants and animals need somewhere to live and have safe connecting passages between urban sprawls.

Re-wilding our Towns and Cities needs to happen, all over, they should be made greener than they already are, for example Birmingham, it is already a surprisingly green city, but being greener will make it better.  I champion Matt Collis and the Avon Wildlife Trust for making Bristol even greener!  As you know, more trees are needed to helping fight Climate Change, as they reduce the Carbon Dioxide in our atmosphere.  More trees will increase oxygen and with increased oxygen levels, the health of people and wildlife will benefit. More oxygen in the air can stabilise unknown and potential pulmonary hypertension (raised blood pressure within the pulmonary arteries) and irregular heart rhythms caused by the lack of oxygen in the air.  Plus more oxygen to the brain relieves depression and fatigue.  Many diseases including cancer, thrive in an oxygen depleted body.

Longbridge in south Birmingham

What would I like for myself this New Year?  Well, I am currently on a City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Conservation, Countryside & The Environment – ideally I would like to complete my qualification at overall Distinction and would then like to work for a NGO specialising in Re-wilding, therefore assisting in restoring Britain (in urban and rural places too) to its natural glory!

In the past I have achieved several Media Production qualifications, my highest being a Level 5 Higher National Diploma.  I have considered a Masters, but Academia isn’t really for me, I would rather be out there getting on with it, or even teaching it!  Around 6 years ago I combined my passion for wildlife and filmmaking, and have recently been co-presenting / co-producing a series with Jamie Wyver, about nature conservation for Cambridge TV (now called That’s Cambridge).

Filming for The Wild Side

The series is entitled The Wild Side and it was broadcast to the city and has been put online for everyone to watch.  It would be brilliant if I get the opportunity to present a series with another TV station or even for a channel that broadcasts nationally.  I love how imaginative and creative ideas can come to life on screen, to entertain and inform an audience.

Thanks for reading  🙂

Day 14 – 30 Days Wild

“Tweet for the wild” 

14/06/16

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_14

Today I tweeted a link to the video below – which I made last year – about my favourite local patch and why it matters to me:

The poem I mentioned in the video:  Ode to a Secret River

Thanks 😀

Day 3 – 30 Days Wild

Nature Highlights at Minsmere

03/06/16

Hello 😊

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_03

For day three, I caught up on Springwatch and UNSPRUNG episodes that I’ve missed, plus I’ve put together a short video of my highlights at RSPB Minsmere (below) featuring:  

  • Great Spotted Woodpecker
  • Otter
  • Nightingale (Song)
  • Chaffinches
  • Sand Martins
  • Stone-Curlew
  • Barnacle Goose
  • Avocet
  • Redshank
  • Black-Headed Gull Chicks

Enjoy!

Thanks for visiting. 👍🏻

Gallery

Day 2 – 30 Days Wild

“Explore somewhere wild” 

02/06/16

I travelled near enough 4 hours from the West Midlands to Suffolk, so I could visit RSPB Minsmere, and also be in the BBC Springwatch Unsprung audience!  Some of you will know, it’s a reserve right on the East Coast of England!  And is a host to a variety of habits, wildlife and of course, BBC Springwatch!  😃  I came over on the Wednesday night and stayed in near by Leiston, at the  Field End Guest House.TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_02

I often wax-lyrical (to friends and family) about reserves that have a variety of habitats, I absolutely love them, because they are so enriching to explore and will be home to many different species of wildlife, which is fantastic to observe and have encounters with.

RSPB Minsmere certainly deserves it’s national recognition!  I will definitely be visiting again in the near future!  I arrived on the reserve at 10.30AM.

 

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I was very happy to be there!

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I love a good Log Pile and what an amazing extensive one this is!
Top Nature of the Day:

 

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That’s the Bittern Hide in the distance

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said Orchid

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Observing the Stone-Curlew (in the distance)

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Sand Martin colony

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Sea Thrift
At 5.00PM it was time to load the car up and get ready for Springwatch UNSPRUNG!

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Cueing up for Unsprung with Gary

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Waiting to be let into the Studio! 

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To see me on UNSPRUNG click here!
 

Thanks for reading. 😄

Day 24 – 30 Days Wild

Behind the Scenes: Video for the Wild

#30DaysWild
#30DaysWild

I chose the mystery location for yesterdays’ video, because I grew up a short walk away from it and was inspired by an episode of Countryfile where Anita Rani showcases rural Bradford 😛  Incase you’ve not seen the video, I’ll not ruin the ‘surprise’ with naming it.  It’s where I cut my teeth as a child and naturalist, so to speak and over the years I’ve seen loads of wildlife there, a few firsts, which includes the time I saw my first Weasel as a child!  Yesterday my friend Gary and I observed a Kestrel and Jay up there.

In the second shot of the intro to my video, I’m on the top of Rubery Hill/Cock Hill, with the Frankley countryside and suburb in the background, there are more great views from up there; the Lickey Hills, Rubery and Bromsgrove in the distance – plus the country park I reveal in my video 😉

When we were filming near Frankley Beeches wood, we heard and saw a beautiful male Yellowhammer – it’s the second time I’ve seen one in Frankley, (I’ve mainly distantly heard their song now and again) so I decided to record and feature this Yellowhammers’ song as the soundtrack for the video.  We could also hear the beautiful song of the Skylark in the distance, down near Lower Hill Farm.  On New Street, near the Greenbelt just before Frankley Hill Lane (which leads up to the Frankley Beeches Wood) I saw a partly Leucistic male Blackbird collecting worms, I almost mistook it for a Ring Ouzel!

**Yesterdays’ Video for the Wild** 😀

Today I observed a male and female House Sparrow feeding on aphids from the wee Willow Tree that’s in my parents garden.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Video

Day 23 – 30 Days Wild

Video for the Wild

#30DaysWild
#30DaysWild

My favourite local patch – and why it matters to me:

Ode to a Secret River – the poem I mention in the video.

Thanks for visiting 😀

Gallery

Day 16 – 30 Days Wild

“Invite a friend into nature”

#30DaysWild
#30DaysWild

Today my friend Gary (mentioned in previous posts) and I visited the Wolseley Centre – Staffordshire Wildlife Trust HQ!

We’ve had great day, the weather was wonderful.  We both hadn’t been before.  I was impressed by the variety of habitats (grassland, lakes, rivers and woodland) and species.

Today’s challenge was “invite a friend into nature”, but it was also chance for Gary to brush up on his photography skills  (I shall document what we saw below!)  And in line with the challenge, I did my best to teach Gary about all the various creatures we came across and the bird songs we heard.

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We saw Swallows and House Martins flying above the centre.
We saw Swallows and House Martins flying above the centre.

We saw this Bee and Bumble Bees on the Purple Wallflower at the entrance of the centre.
And this Bee and Bumble Bees on the Purple Wallflower at the entrance of the centre.

Not seen Honeysuckle in such a deep yellow before :)
Not seen Honeysuckle in such a deep yellow before 🙂

Gary and myself before our wild walk.  Photobombed by a Mallard! ;)
Gary and myself before our wild walk. Photobombed by a Mallard! 😉

Whilst Gary looked through my binoculars, I told him about what he was observing.
Whilst Gary looked through my binoculars, I told him about what he was observing (nice shirt!)

A wild sculpture, I assume it's a bench?
A wild sculpture!

This time we were photobombed by a Canada Goose! ;)
This time we were photobombed by a Canada Goose! 😉

If you remember, I love Oak Trees!  This individual has been adopted by Philip Rainsbury and Sue Haycock :)
If you remember, I love Oak Trees! This individual has been adopted by Philip Rainsbury and Sue Haycock 🙂

A cute baby Rat!
Can you spot the baby Rat?

Gary's first ever Chaffinch - to his knowledge.
Gary’s first ever Chaffinch – to his knowledge 😛

One of my favourites of Gary's snaps, a Great Tit in flight.
One of my favourites of Gary’s snaps, a Great Tit in flight.

Some grassland management.
Some grassland management (I have the camera now)

We were watching a male Blackcap.
We were watching a male Blackcap.

A disheveled Peacock Butterfly.
A disheveled Peacock Butterfly (by me)

A Common Blue Butterfly (Gary has his camera back)
A Common Blue Butterfly (Gary has his camera back)

But who too this one?!
But who took this one?!

Willow seeds settled on the pond.
Willow seeds settled on the pond.

Giant Leaves, Giant Snail!
Giant Leaves, Giant Snail!

A Terrapin?!  I was shocked to see this.  Taken with a lens kindly leant by a very friendly chap from Stoke (walking past)
A Terrapin?! I was surprised to see this. Taken by Gary with a lens kindly lent by a very friendly chap from Stoke (walking past)

St. John's Wort.
St. John’s Wort.

A stunning sculpture - very talented work!
A stunning sculpture – very talented work!

There’s still a little bit more for us to explore, looking forward to the next visit! 😀

Caught in a web of wildlife.
Caught in a web of wildlife.

Thanks for reading 🙂