It’s been a while since my last diary entry - in fact a whole season has gone by! I promise this is not because I haven’t seen anything! In fact, I’ve been very busy seeing, and learning about, wildlife; so here’s a quick whirlwind account of some of the highlights from my wild summer, with a few ideas in there for things you can do to stay wild.
I went to the Isle of Eigg
“Where?!” I hear you cry - the Isle of Eigg (pronounced “egg”) is a small island off the west coast of Scotland. It has a small community, which own and run the island themselves! Visitors can only get to the island by boat, and Eigg is small so you can get around it on foot or by bike in one day. Not that you would want to only spend a day there, because for a small place there is so much to see! The Island feels wonderfully wild, and it’s possible to lose yourself in the magic of the beaches, hills and woodlands. It is home to wildlife like dolphins and eagles, and the very rare hen harrier. It was for the hen harrier that we had gone to Eigg, as this was (although it didn’t feel like it at all) a work trip, and we were helping out with a special hen harrier event.
Here are two of my favourite wild moments from Eigg: the first is a fledgling willow warbler, which we found rather helplessly hopping around a path (hard as it is, it is best to leave them, as the parents will not be far away); the second is a clump of rocks on a beach, which we thought looked like a shark, or maybe an orca - what do you think it looks like?
I went to some events
When I’m not out wildlife watching, I like to go along to events that either celebrate wildlife, or are linked to conservation campaigns (or both!). This summer I managed to go along to Hen Harrier Day in Stratford Upon Avon, and Birdfair at Rutland Water. These events are really fun - there are usually experts who give talks, stands where you can find out about different conservation organsations, and the chance to buy little souvenirs like badges or books. There’s also a lovely atmosphere, and the sense that you are in the company of other people who like the same thing as you: wildlife. It’s a chance to have a nice day out, in a different place. I often go along with friends or family who maybe aren’t as “into” wildlife as I am, but they always enjoy it - planning in a few extra tea and cake breaks usually helps!
Here is the badge I bought to support Birders Against Wildlife Crime (BAWC) at Hen Harrier Day, and the amazing whale at the Wildlife Trusts’ stand at Birdfair.
I’ve done some wader watching
Ok so this is a bit of a cheat, because it isn’t summer anymore, but this weekend I went out early(ish) to a stretch of coast to watch the wading birds. These are a group of birds with long legs, and long bills, which help them to move around and feed in the muddy and sandy environments where they live. I decided to just sit and watch this patch of shoreline for a few hours and enjoy the wildness around me. I used my binoculars to watch the birds, such as curlew and lapwings, and enjoyed having the sound of the sea, birds, and passing people as my acoustic backdrop. After this, I walked up the river and was treated to more great sights, including a buzzard circling for prey (and lots of fleeing pigeons); a robin and wren singing; grey wagtails flitting about the river; and a heron flying overhead and landing in a tall tree! I had deliberately not taken my camera on this walk, so that my focus was on wildlife observation, rather than “what would make a nice a photo?” and I genuinely think I saw more as a result of doing this. Don’t get me wrong, I love my camera - but sometimes it’s good to focus on the other brilliant aspects of wildlife watching.
So that was just some of my wild summer - if you would like to share what you got up to, send a summary to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will share it on the Window Page. Now it’s time to get started on a wild autumn!