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Wind-back Wednesday, to June 2016

I think ‘Wind-back Wednesday’ should be more of a trend on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and of course, WordPress.  It’ll be for those that cannot wait until Thursday (for Throwback Thursday)  #WindbackWednesday or  #WBW  😉

Anyway…  I realised I hadn’t updated my blog in a while and I didn’t share my completed videos of my reporting at BBC Gardener’s World back in June, all of which I have included in this post.

Owen Morgan (Gold/ Best Show Garden) from The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) and Adam Frost from BBC Gardener’s World:

My planting advice and Julie Haylock (Gold / Best Border Garden):

Bee Experience – Clive Joyce from British Bee Keeping Association (BBKA): 

My interview with Lucy Hall, Editor of BBC Gardener’s World Magazine:

Thanks  🙂

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Wildlife Monthly: ARG Record Pool

This month I’ve decided to focus on some wildlife that takes a backseat, and is often overlooked – Reptiles and Amphibians!  🐍 🐸

ARG UK have teamed up with Amphibian and Reptile Conservation; to bring us a Record Pool of our water loving and sun loving friends!  In the video below I interview Underwater Cameraman, Jack Perks – to give us some tips and the lowdown on this nationwide survey.

To get involved with the survey; click here.  💻

Get spotting!

Thanks. 😃

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Wildlife Monthly: Bewick’s Swan

If you’ve not seen or heard of Wildlife Monthly; click here.

This month’s instalment features one of our large feathery winter visitors from the high Arctic; the Bewick’s Swan. Part of the “Wild Swans” family, they’re not sedentary but are free-roaming and make a lot more noise than Mute Swans do – with their load trumpeting calls which often mark their arrival.  They are also famously known for their individual black and yellow beak markings – allowing each bird to be identified and studied, which the staff at WWT Slimbridge in Gloucestershire, have been doing since the 1960’s.  They’re named after the celebrated bird illustrator, Thomas Bewick – and funnily enough, the yellow on a Bewick’s Swan’s beak forms the letter B!

To see my video on the Whooper Swan (another member of the Wild Swan family) click here.

Thanks 🙂

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Wildlife Monthly and Big Garden Birdwatch!

Wildlife Monthly – my seasonal video guide to British wildlife – is back!  😃

It has been 5 whole years since my first ever episode!  There were two series in total, which Reader’s Digest Magazine featured on their website, with the last episodes being uploaded at the end of May 2012.  Each month I produced 3 videos around a minute or more, detailing flora and fauna (mainly fauna) for you to look out for; be it in your garden, local park/reserve or further afield.

The idea this year, if all goes to plan, is to produce a single video per month, following that same criteria.  Episode 1 of 2016’s Wildlife Monthly is in support of the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch, in which I made some pink bird food.  It was filmed at Moseley Old Hall – National Trust, which is in located on the boarder of South Staffordshire and Wolverhampton – where for the day, I was Lord of the Manor.  😉 

Red Fat Balls and Lard Cake Recipe: 

  • 250g Lard (I used dripping, it’s fine to use suet and vegetable fat)
  • 150g Sunflower Hearts
  • 100g Crushed Peanuts
  • 50g Porridge Oats
  • 1 Red Gel Food Colour (Dr. Oetker)

Doubtless you’ll be doing yours in a kitchen!

  1. Crush the Peanuts with a pestle and mortar, or put them between a tea-towel and whack them with a rolling-pin.
  2. You don’t want to deep-fry the food, so just melt your chosen fat on a low-to-medium heat/flame.
  3. (Add everything to the lard and mix together) Turn your heat right down.  When everything is mixed together, line a small cuboid container with either grease-proof paper or clingfilm, fill it with the mixture halfway and pop it into the fridge – to set for an hour – creating your Lard Cake.
  4. Pop the rest of the mixture into the fridge for approx. 45 minutes, stirring every few minutes initially, so when it comes to making the mixture into balls it’s at the right consistency.
  5. Roll the mixture into fatballs – you should get approx. 6 in total.
  6. The rest is self-explantory/can be gathered from my video above…

RSPB.org.uk/Birdwatch

BTO.org/GardenBirdWatch

The breeding population of Goldfinches has risen by approx. 91% in recent years, and in Ireland the increase was around 158%!  The British Trust for Ornithology has launched a survey to determine what is attracting these fabulous finches to our gardens.  — BTO.org/Goldfinch-Survey

It’s estimated that since the 70’s we have lost 6 million House Sparrows!   However, I’m proud to write; in Birmingham they are in good numbers!  Along with Devon and Dorset, bucking the trend.  😊

UPDATE:

BGBWJan16
These are the results from my Garden Birdwatch (31/01/2016)

To catch up on pervious episodes of Wildlife Monthlyclick here.  

Thanks and all the best!  😀

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Realised Recently

I had a realisation recently, regarding the invertebrates I blogged about back in June… I’ll bee honest 😉  I didn’t think about what the Ruby-tailed Wasp may have been up to, but I was reminded in the September Issue of BBC Wildlife magazine – that they’re a kind of Cuckoo!  This jewel-like wasp, happened to be close to where the Mason Wasp was coming and going from!

I only have this poor photo of these amazing Apocrita:

Ruby-tailed Wasp – blue top and red bottom

These weeny wasps (with metallic blue/turquoise tops and ruby red bottoms) lay their eggs in the nests of other Solitary Wasps, like the Mason Wasp!

When lava of the Ruby-tailed Wasp hatches, it eats the egg or grub of the host’s nest – which makes these sort of Wasps parasitoid (because they don’t live inside the host, they kill them instead).  September’s issue of BBC Wildlife also features “7 WAYS TO SAVE SOLITARY BEES”.

Thanks 🙂

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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 😀

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Day 21 – 30 Days Wild

New Green Space

wpid-img_20150621_174434.jpg Longbridge, in South Birmingham – the birth place and former home of Rover – has a new High Street and Green Space!  It’s on the site of where the said factory used to be.  The River Rea that runs through the area has had a habitat and Green Space created around it, and it’s pretty much established and looking lush now! 😀

Today I explored it after purchasing Father’s Day gifts (with my trusty mobile to hand for snaps and clips).

wpid-image-21-06-15-04-35-3.jpeg
The car park of the newly located Bournville College, with Green Space along side it, some of the old Rover site on the other side.
People and nature co-existing beautifully.
People and nature co-existing beautifully.

I saw a Grey Wagtail (which have some yellow feathers) down there to left of where the lad on the bike was.  The video below isn’t great but you can hear it calling 😛

The middle of the new Green Space, looking towards the chap on the bike.
The middle of the new Green Space, looking towards the chap on the bike.  This is the bridge you see in the distance.
Where this newly created habitat ends.
Where this newly created habitat ends.

I was really pleased that this new place is now a good feeding area for House Martins, there were quite a few wizzing and swooping around 🙂

Thanks for visiting 😀

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Day 13 – 30 Days Wild

It was raining, so I only had one obvious thing to do – “Dance in a downpour” ! 😀

I kind of had a routine planned, but I just went with whatever came to mind!  Oopsy! 😛  I filmed it close to the entrance of a wood, with my phone sat on the handrail of a wooden bridge that takes you over a brook into the wood.  There were dog walkers – hence the brief pause and glance to the left of screen.

Enjoy my sloppy “moves”, it is supposed to be funny… I look such a fool! 😉

Thanks 🙂

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Day 7 – 30 Days Wild

Day7-30DaysWild

A more elaborate activity for today’s 30 Days Wild 🙂
What I like about the 30 Days Wild campaign is that we have the freedom to do anything wildlife related (preferably outdoors) that we can think of.  You don’t have to stick with what is in the booklet, as it’s a guide/suggestion on what we could do – to make it easier for us to do all 30 days.

This morning I had an impromptu tour of some lovely gardens at a National Trust property in rural Wolverhampton – Moseley Old Hall!  A modest but beautiful place, with a very homely feel – I highly recommend that you visit 😀  My friend Gary is the gardener there, and he kindly allowed me to borrow a few things from his shed to help with today’s Random Act of Wildness.

Today I’ve done something that isn’t in the booklet, it was inspired by a Springwatch Unsprung episode – the #2MinuteBeachClean!  The beach I chose to do it on has a high footfall, plus it is the nearest one to where I live, the West Midlands – so it seemed right I did it there.  My trusty friend Gary was at hand to assist me again in making the video!

My beach comb collection!
My rubbish beach comb collection!  See video below.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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Day 5 – 30 Days Wild

Day5 30DW

It’s yet again another workday, so I was pleased that The Wildlife Trust helped me pick something simple to do, by posting their suggestion to Instagram 😀

Good one!
Good one!

The garden at my house-share – North of where I grew up – is satisfyingly unkempt!  Great for Nature and getting your feet into!  So I went out and did Day 5 of this wonderful campaign there 🙂 But I didn’t stop there, oh no!  This is moi we’re talking about 😉

I treated my toesies to one of my favourite front gardens, just up the road!  It too is gratefully unkempt and has a fantastic variety of flora! ❤

Lovely lawn!
Lovely lawn!

In true form, below is another video awaiting your viewing.