Tag Archives: summer

One Day Wild Summer Event

OneWildDay Poster

Join us for a great day of wild activities at Duart Castle. See more information on the event page or contact Rachel on either 07540792650 or rachelannfrench92@gmail.com

Booking is essential and spaces will be limited so don’t leave it too late.

Day 9: Feeling the wild 30DaysWild

30 Days Wild 

Day 9 

We have a patch of garden that isn’t managed or mown and the flowers are looking great right now. The daisies and buttercups are everywhere, proving brilliant food for insects and birds. They also look stunning – much nicer than a tightly mown green lawn! It feels great under bare feet too, bringing back lovely childhood memories of barefoot days.

 

WildChild Scotland (@WildChild_Sco)

Day 5: Moth Trapping 30DaysWild

30 Days Wild 

Day 5 

Last night I put out my moth trap and spent this morning battling midges to ID them all. At the moment I’m trying to trap once a week if time and weather allow and all of the records are sent to the local moth recorder (and then Butterfly Conservation), contributing to knowledge of moths in the area – surprisingly on Mull very few people moth trap and so the group is under recorded.

Below is my species list for last nights trap, although I have two moths I am yet to identify.  I also had a caddis fly in their, but I’ve no idea which species yet – apparently we have around 200 to choose from!

Pale-shouldered brocade x2
White ermine x16
Broom moth x3
Scalloped hazel x2
Brimstone x2
Clouded buff x1
Buff ermine x1
Nut-tree tussock x1
Barred umber x1
Pebble prominent x1
Brown sliver-line x1
Sallow kitten x2
Heart and dart x1
Coxcomb prominent x1
Bright-line brown-eye x1
Clouded border x6
Peacock x2
Broken-barred carpet x1
Poplar hawkmoth x1

Somehow, a poplar hawkmoth made it from the trap to the bookshelf without me spotting it, so it spent all day tucked away among books and a violin till I just happened to spot it!

The Clouded buff and the Peacock moths were new for me, which is always interesting. Moth trapping is a brilliant way learn and connect to new species. I’m never fail to be surprised at the incredible colours and detail.

Get involved with Moth Night 2016 next weekend (9th-11th June). Head along to an organised event or put out your own moth trap. The focus is on hawk moths this time, so see how many large beauties you can marvel at.

WildChild Scotland (@WildChild_Sco)

Day 3: Garden flower power 30DaysWild

30 Days Wild 

Day 3

This evening I wandered into the garden with my camera to enjoy the incredible variety of wildflowers on my doorstep. Bugle, yellow pimpernel, water avens, yellow archangel, red campion, bluebells, tormentil and birdsfoot-trefoil are all looking stunning right now, to name just a few. Wild strawberries, germander speedwell, buttercups and daisies are all to be spotted, creating a riot of colour.

We are so inclined to keep our gardens mown and tidy but the stunning array of wildflowers along with the insect and birdlife they attract should be much more welcome. To my eye, the natural growth of nature looks much more appealing than a tightly mown lawn. Recently I’ve noticed bullfinches and siskins feeding on the flower heads among the grasses – they wouldn’t be there if we’d cut all of their food away – no such thing as a weed! Lock the mower away and let the plants go wild!

WildChild Scotland (@WildChild_Sco)

Day 1: Wild Reading 30DaysWild

30 Days Wild 

Day 1 

The nature gods are blessing the Isle of Mull with incredible weather at the moment so every chance we get throughout the workday we’re outside, soaking up the blue skies and sunshine rays. Today, instead of heading straight home and getting irate at our busy seasonal roads, I took a wild break to read and enjoy the stunning place I call home.

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My drive to work is amazing, with the very scenic Loch na Keal making up around 7 miles of the 19 mile journey. I pulled off the road to read my current natural history book out in the fresh air, surrounded by bird song and sparkling water.

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I also wandered in bare feet over the warm, volcanic rocky shore line and cooled my feet in the crystal clear seawater. Numerous small crabs scuttled near my bare toes and I marvelled at the colours of the periwinkles. From the photo you wouldn’t even know I was in the water!

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WildChild Scotland (@WildChild_Sco)

30 Days Wild

WildChild Scotland will be joining in the fun with 30 Days Wild. Starting tomorrow I’ll be making extra time to spend outside, connecting to nature along with thousands of others across the country. 30 Days Wild is a Wildlife Trusts project and is a brilliant way to bring people and wildlife together every day. 

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My connection to a Large Red Damselfly – what an incredible creature

Over the weekend I had plenty of wild encounters with nature, but one of the great moments was marvelling at a Large Red Damselfly. Experiences with nature like this really remind us how amazing it is – just look at the detail and colours. We’re extremely privileged to have stunning wildlife like this on our doorstep. Head outside to enjoy it, especially at this time of year when things are bursting into life and action.

WildChild Scotland (@WildChild_Sco)

Spring herald, summer song

Spring herald

We’re all eagerly awaiting the sight and sound of Spring. No matter where your home is in the United Kingdom, adults and children alike look to the skies for the dainty, bluish black bodies of the swallow. No other bird can conjure up the essence of childhood and springtime. The remarkable lifestyle of this small Hirundae is known to all. We rejoice in the return of this tiny traveller, come all the way from the tropics of Africa. Along with the bright yellow of daffodils and the creeping green of hedgerows the swallow heralds the start of warmer weather, plenitude and enjoyment.

April arrivals

For me the swallow and its close relative, the house martin both carry me back to sunny childhood days. April 19th was a date scrawled in jotters and the back of bird books. Later it would be pencilled onto the windowsill of our summerhouse. Each year the swallows seemed to trickle into our sky, and perch on our telephone wires on April 19th. They quickly got right down to business, fixing up old nests with water and mud from a regular puddle on the drive. Swallows took over the eaves of tool sheds, the dog kennel and the coal room. We had to leave doors open and adults had to duck as birds whizzed by their heads. Unlike some, we didn’t mind the mess that built under the little mud cup nests, we liked animals and were always happy to see the nest filled again. I remember shocked horror when I realised people actually prevent these intrepid travellers nesting after such an incredible journey.

ARKive image GES088836 - Barn swallow

Summer song 

The sound of swallows is perfection. The chatter of the birds as they line up side by side on a wire waving in the wind brings such enjoyment to me. They are the conversationalists of summer. The blackbird or song thrush may be music to the ears in early spring but the real sound of the year for me is awarded to the swallow.

Nature lessons

The house martins came into focus for me later.  A new house with a large open fronted barn gave hours of neck craning. All the way along the eave were little mud circles, maybe up to thirty nests. Some had small faces and gaping beaks peaking out, some had whole heads popping into the fresh air, space fast becoming a rare commodity. The busy parents flew over the hazy fields filled with neatly turned hay bails. Sometimes the harsh realities of life became apparent. Under the nests you’d find tiny pink bodies, or eggs that had fallen, never to hatch. This, among many other wildlife lessons, gave me an understanding that life is difficult, precious and rather fragile, but natural all the same.

ARKive image GES123478 - House martin

Childhood specialities 

These birds are of my childhood, they remind me that I’m a grown up now. When I do see them, I’m a little saddened, we lose something as we get older. Inadvertently, our sense of freedom and adventure dwindle. Our imaginations are much more limited and we gain responsibility. I’m also sad because these birds are dwindling too, they’re declining- especially the house martin and we don’t yet know why. We’re lucky to have 10 house martin nests on our barn now, each summer we welcome fewer birds back. Our future children may not have joy in the returning swallows, swifts, house and sand martins. Without those birds, my childhood would have been much duller, less special.

Impressions

While we still have these birds, inspire the little people to look to the skies and await their return. Revert back to your childhood, lie in the grass and listen to their tittering talk. Children need connections with nature and the small, less obvious links may be the ones that make a lasting impression. A swallow is a small impression that stuck with me.