7 days of Wild Christmas: day 2 Boxing Day

So, the Christmas Day massacre is over. The turkey has been sacrificed in the name of the Winter rituals. We can now sit back a bit more and relax. We’ve had a lovely Christmas day. I got a number of nature and gardening presents and Alice had a super day. She enjoyed being around her cousins lots, but will probably blog separately about that.

During my lazy morning I’ve done a few online acts of wild.

The Big Garden Birdwatch

The registration for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is now open. The Big Garden Birdwatch is one of the largest wildlife surveys in the country. It has been going since 1979 and gives a wealth of information on the decline of bird life and shifts from countryside to towns. During the weekend of the 26th of January and 28th you are asked to put an hour aside and count the birds in your garden. Last year I hit double figures though it was actually quite a quiet day in my garden.

The RSPB also encourage schools to take part through the Big Schools Birdwatch. I’ve spent a bit of my school budget on binoculars and magnifying glasses and bug viewers to encourage the children to develop an interest in nature. A few of the parents took part in the birdwatch at home as well. So I’m hoping to get some engagement in school again this year.

Online articles

During my lazy morning I’ve sat and read a few nature articles. While registering for the Big Garden Birdwatch I found a few articles on the RSPB website. If your after a quick way to connect with nature the RSPB and Wildlife Trusts websites are good sources of information for those days you can’t get out.

Robins revealed

Forest Bathing

Fox hunting

The unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable

Oscar Wilde

Boxing Day sees the sad pursuit of fox hunting. Despite being illegal it continues without many prosecution’s against those disregarding the law. But with rural crime units facing reduced funding they can’t tackle the lawbreakers effectively. Exactly why this upper class blood sport is allowed to continue brings anger to many. The National Trust allow fox hunting on their lands despite the membership voting against this. As such I won’t support the National Trust while this continues. I would like to visit their gardens but feel unable to support the organisation.

On a similar line grouse shooting there is another petition against grouse shooting. This is nother damaging practise against wildlife. As another act of wildness I’ve put my name to the petition opposing. Through Mark Avery this has been through government before, but it’s worth continuing showing opposition.

Petition

Listen to the birds

During the morning I popped outside to enjoy the bird song. We are staying at my parents and the garden is full of birds currently. The robins and blackbirds were singing away. The more raucous starlings were adding to the noise. The collared doves were cooing. Another little joy costing nothing.

Afternoon walk

After another feast of gluttony I got out with my mum and Alice. While not walking in the wildest areas it was good to get outside. Alice fell asleep for a nap which will do her good. She’s had a busy couple of days.

We did spot this growing around a lamp post. They seem a bit out of season.

Hope you’ve all had good Boxing Days. A bit more restful for us with a bit less travelling.

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A hidden gem

Today has been wet and miserable, so we decided to head out to the garden centre to do a quick run out for compost. However we never made it. We’d forgotten garden centres are where people go for bank holidays, so we turned round in the car park and came back the way we’d come. We didn’t head home though we made the decision to go to Wassand Hall.

Wassand Hall is a regency house just outside Hornsea. The mere where we visit regularly is part of its estates, but neither of us have ever been to the hall and gardens. But I’m glad we decided to today. The hall hosts an amazing arboretum with some enormous specimens of trees that have the feel of a Canadian wilderness.

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There was a vintage car display on, although neither of us has any interest in cars we were amused by what classes as vintage.

We didn’t pay the extra for entry as it didn’t look great for pram manoeuvring. But it has the look of a setting for a MR James or Caranaki ghost finder story.

The walled garden were restored in 1997 and contain a series of courtyards. They follow standard country house layouts, but done with style. The first courtyard is square shaped with the standard fountain and laburnum arches in the corners, nothing to rival Bodnant Gardens but pretty nonetheless.

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The outer wall was covered in honeysuckle. If it had been a sunnier day I imagine this would have been awash with insect life, but the drizzle was keeping it subdued.

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The other courtyards comprise a pond, a herb and vegetable patch and the cafe. The greenhouse apparently contains a succulent collection, but didn’t notice this.

 

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After finishing in the walled gardens we went back round to the vintage cars to enjoy a Mr Moos ice cream. I had a rhubarb and ginger, while Amy and Alice enjoyed a raspberry ice cream. Being Mr Moos it was top notch.

Across the field were some of the cows I assume make up chestnut dairies herd, who supply our local milk.

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Refreshed with ice cream we left the halls garden to walk along a bridal way away from the hall.

We saw lots of bee activity on the wild flowers.

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The pram was going to struggle going any further so we got Alice out to practise her newly discovered skill of walking.

 

 

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On the way back to the car I spotted a still orange form in the cow field we’d passed on the way to the buttercup field. It was so still we weren’t sure if it wasn’t a sculpture, but as we got closer we saw flickers of movement. I was very excited to see the fox. While I knew they were in the area since moving to Hornsea I haven’t seen any of these lovely creatures. It seems appropriate that on the day people marched in London to keep the ban I’d spot a fox.

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We saw it disappear back into the bushes as we went on, but then up ahead further excitement as I spotted a rabbit. A bit too far for a decent photo.

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But as went along the path I caught sight again amongst the trees.

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An excellent end to a tremendous walk on a day we weren’t sure we’d go out. Wassand Hall was a wonderful hidden gem and I’m sure we’ll revisit.

Day 28-success of the trail cam!

This morning I set up the trail cam at the back of the school field in the wooded area. At lunchtime I went to collect it in. The camera wasn’t quite positioned ideally as a number of animals seem to of crept up close, so only half was captured. But I was happy to see this little chappy trundling past.

Then a little later in the morning this young lady popped her head in to have a look.

I was quite happy to capture the hedgehog, even if I didn’t get a clear shot. But I still wanted the to get a good sight of the foxes. So I set it up for the afternoon.

The first visitor did have a streak of red, but not a fox.

But then later in the day I got what I was waiting on.

Day 27-Foxes

Well I set the trap cam up hidden in my school wooded area and managed to capture one of the foxes again. Not as good as Fridays attempts, but they excite the kids when they saw them. Most are a bit blurry, whereas the photos I lost on Friday were clearer, so will keep trying for better.

To begin spot the fox.

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Still watching.

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In a bit closer…….

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…make a dash for it….

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Will try to continue to try to get a better clear shot.

 

Today is also national badger week, so in the spirit of the event I read my class the disgusting sandwich.

A suitably gross story about a hungry badger.