Day 5-bird watching

Day 5 sees me sat in on a sunny day working planning lessons for school. I’ve been working from the kitchen table, but so I can enjoy a little wild I’ve set up the camera with remote in the garden watching the bird feeder. So far the sparrows have been fighting over the feeder. It’s the first time using the remote. I would like a better telephoto lens, but thought I would try a cheaper option first of using a remote and a bit of patience.

 

Day 4-staying close to home

Alice is a hungry baby today leading to us staying close to home as we aren’t getting long between feeds. So today has been a day of enjoying the little things in my garden.

I mowed the lawn leaving an edge to grow longer to provide a passageway for wildlife. Along the border a number of plants are flowering from wild flower mix put down a month back. Not actually sure what they are though.

Refilled the bird feeders in the front and back garden.

Alice is sleeping now so I’m going to try to watch into the wild.

Day 3-A couple of nature podcasts

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After recommending a number of audio books yesterday I thought I’d carry on with a couple of podcasts to enjoy while in the car, stuck in the home, having a bath, wherever you get a chance to stop and listen.

 

BBC-best of natural history

An excellent short podcast (up to 30 minutes normally) to listen to. It covers a wide range of nature topics.

BBC-Costing the Earth

A weekly BBC podcast examining man’s impact on the environment.

RSPB-Nature’s voice

The RSPB podcast covering all things ornithological. It covers bird news, interviews, garden advice.

Nature podcast

A weekly podcast covering natural science stories from around the world.

RHS podcast

Full of lots of tips on maintaining your garden.

Day 2-An early start

Day 2 has been off to an early start with feeding Alice. It’s looking like another grey day outside, so may be looking at cloud watching from inside. Reading though many of the comments on facebook I’ve seen a lot of people looking for indoors activities or quick activities.Today I would like to recommend starting an audiobook. As a new father I knew I wouldn’t have as much time to read as I used to. I enjoy listening to Audible audio books in the car on the way to and back from work. If you sign up for Amazons audible you get one free audiobook. You aren’t tied to the subscription, so if you want to just try one you can and then leave it. Audiobooks are allowing me to carry on taking in books at a time when my personal “me” time is limited. I’ve binged on nature/animal books the last few months. Here are a few of my favourites.

Raptor a journey through birds-James Macdonald Lockhart

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Audible link

James Macdonald travels the UK examining 15 species of breeding birds of prey in the UK. Birds of prey hold a special fascination to most bird watchers. The descriptions of the different birds of beautiful. He details background to how the birds have fared historically in the UK and how they are doing currently as well as prob lems they are facing. Throughout the book James uses the life of William MacGillivray to create a narrative through the book. Willaim MacGillivray was a Scottish ornithologist (1796-1852) who wrote what was in essence the first guides to British birds. This was a very engaging listen with good narration.

 

Meadowland-John Lewis Stempel

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Audible link

In this book John Lewis-Stempel spends a year detailing the events of an English meadow on his farm. Through this I discovered much about the life of a meadow field I was unaware of. John’s writing has a poetry to it often describing everyday events as the wonders they should be taken as. He details the fauna and beasts that live in the field as well as species disappearing from the countryside.I’ve re listened to this several times taking in different details each time.

 

Life on air: Memoirs of a broadcaster-David Attenbourough

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Audible link

Britain’s favourite nature presenter tells the story of his life as a broadcaster I listened to this earlier in the year before all of the celebratory programs came on for David’s 90th birthday. This was a superb listen, gripped me throughout. I hadn’t known about David’s time as controller of BBC 2 as it first got going. It was fascinating to see how television programs have developed, how the technology developed to allow better filming of animals, and David’s stories of the animals along the way. Narrated by David himself delivering it as only he could. I was disappointed when it finished.

We bought a zoo-Benjamin Mee

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Audible link

The story of Benjamin Mee was turned into a Matt Damon movie a few years back. The movie changed pretty much all the details. It moved the story to America. It changed the relationship with Mee’s wife. It changed the whole family set up Mee created. Mee and his family uprooted their lives to buy a dilapidated zoo on Dartmoor. The family have little experience in looking after exotic animals. They have financial problems. Mee’s wife Katherine was diagnosed¬† with cancer.¬† As a journalist for the guardian for many years his writing is very entertaining. There are many heart-warming moments within the book. A nice easy listen.

Being a beast-Charles Foster

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Audible link

Charles Foster spends time trying to get to know what it is like to be a badger, an otter, a deer, a fox and a swift. He tries to avoid anthropomorphising the animals and write what life for them might really be like. It looks at the neuroscience and psychology of the animals. He spends time trying to love as each of the animals do. These accounts are often humorous.  His accounts of spending time digging around for worms as a badger are very funny. A good nature book turning views on their heads.

Our Zoo-June Mottershead

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Audible link

The BBC made June’s account into a lovely drama. It changed many of the details, but made for nice family entertainment. June’s story of how her father George Mottershead set up Chester zoo. It’s a thoroughly engaging look at how the zoo was set up and developed over time. It will bring tears of joy and sadness as her story goes back and forth.

H is for Hawk-Helen Macdonald

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Audible link

Helen Macdonald tells how she trains a goshawk after the death of her father. Throughout the book she also tells the tortured tale of the life of W.H. White, author of the goshawk and the once and future king. It tells her story of loss and how she heals through training her hawk and reconnecting to a world she withdraws from. Written with great warmth and a level of intimacy. Helen narrates the book herself giving the delivery the appropriate delivery of particularly emotional sections.

 

And a few in my library waiting to be listened to.

Fingers in the sparkle jar-Chris Packham

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Audible link

Cuckoo-cheating nature-Nick Davies

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Audible link

The shepherd’s life-James Rebanks

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Audible link

Day 1-Spreading the word.

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House sparrows on the feeder

 

Well day 1 is a wet, rather gloomy day. As such tried to do a few activities inside. It’s half term, so I’ve been off work with Alice. We managed a short walk out earlier before it became too wet and cold to be out with a newborn. On our walk she encountered her first dog. While from the pram and with limited eyesight at two weeks old she may not of seen it, but she certainly heard it. Like most babies she has been born with slight jaundice, so trying to get her out for periods of each day into daylight.

On returning home I worked setting up this blog page to record our exploits. After her feed she fell asleep while I caught up with Spring Watch. To help find ideas for our 30 days of wildness I’ve downloaded the app. The app told me to switch off the computer and relax outside. As it’s chucking it down and I’m holding Alice I think we’ll sit and watch the starlings on the bird feeder from the kitchen while I have a cuppa.

 

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Starlings, collared dove and blackbird in the garden.

 

Now to spread the word on facebook, etc.

Finish today’s post with a poem by John Clare.

All nature has a feeling: woods, fields, brooks
Are life eternal: and in silence they
Speak happiness beyond the reach of books;
There’s nothing mortal in them; their decay
Is the green life of change; to pass away
And come again in blooms revivified.
Its birth was heaven, eternal it its stay,
And with the sun and moon shall still abide
Beneath their day and night and heaven wide.

 

 

 

First blog post

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Hello and welcome to my 30 days of wild blog. I am a primary teacher and new dad. Nature has always mattered to me, but since discovering I would be becoming a father nine months ago my love of the wild has taken on a new meaning. The world my daughter is coming into is facing many problems. We face an energy crisis, potential food shortages, global warming along with large sections of wilderness disappearing across the world in the name of “progress”. Species taken for granted in my childhood are becoming increasingly rare. Not the best time to be bringing a child into the world.

However it isn’t all doom and gloom. I the news today renewable energy levels have reached record levels (here). Many conservation groups are doing great work monitoring and doing what they can to protect the environment. Last month I went for a walk around North Cave Wetlands. This wonderful reserve is under the care of the wildlife trust. It was a rather wet drab day for a walk, but through the day I saw numerous species of amazing birds: lapwings, oystercatchers, grebes, a hobby, blue tits, robins and many more (possibly a buzzard, but not clear). At the end of my walk I talked to Maurice Gordon. He told me about other reserves in my local area and directed me to the wildlife trust website. A very helpful, informative chap.

On the website I saw the wildlife trusts 30 days of wild month of June. A call to do one act of wildness each day, taking time to reconnect to nature. This might mean taking awalk in nature, planting wild flowers, setting up a wild treasure hunt. Over the next month I aim to do one act of wildness each day to promote a love of nature. This might not be easy with a newborn, but I will record progress here. This is for you Alice Johnson.

Joshua Johnson

1.6.2016

 

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Alice Ann Johnson 16.5.16