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Day 20 – 30 Days Wild…

Garden Birds…

 

I’ve been fascinated by the birds in my garden and how they have adapted to life here. We only first started thinking “wildlife” where the garden was concerned last summer and it began with a few plants and a simple seed feeder with a couple of sparrow visitors. Now the garden is thriving and we have regular visitors through the seasons! Over the year the bird feeding station has had a lot of change and now supports a bird table, two seed feeders and a water station. Today I spent a while in the garden after work and snapped a few of the regulars…

Meet The Woodies – Over the winter months a male wood pigeon became a regular visitor, at first he made several comical attempts to ‘land’ on this feeder so I started putting out a plate of seed on the ground. When I got the table he couldn’t work out how to get inside but he soon discovered that the upper feeder was accessible to him and this is now his preferred place to feed…after watching him slipping uncomfortably on the roof for many weeks we adapted the roof with a couple of little ‘steps’ to provide a flat surface which he seems a lot happier with. He brought a female along at Christmas and both were regular visitors for months …the only way I could tell them apart was by their feeding habits (she would eat from the ground and also even get into the bird table!!). More recently though we noticed he was on his own a lot more and we suspect that he has a new female (in the photo) – this second bird feeds side by side with him on the roof and is extremely nervous of any movement and freaks at the slightest sound!

One of the latest additions to the garden is this starling, pictured with a regular house sparrow visitor (a very unlikely couple, but often seen feeding ‘together’, I’m convinced something is going on with these two haha!!). There are a group of 7-8 starlings that raid the table for worms each morning but this one seems to come back at intervals through the day. I’ve never seen a starling with these markings before and unfortunately these photos taken through glass and zoomed in do not do the beauty justice! The colour is almost silver with what looks like black eye-liner around his or her eyes – such a stunner! I understand that it may be a juvenile, but the other juveniles are black with pale and iridescent flecks!!

Moments before I took these photos I was sitting in the garden and they were wary of landing, so when I went inside to get my camera I looked up and saw them both peeking in to see if the coast was clear!

I’ve yet to see the jackdaws visit the garden but they always make themselves noticed vocally from the roof top opposite, such beautiful birds with amazing eyes. I think the one on the right is the ‘young’ as I saw it demanding food earlier although being so grown up I think it was soon put in its place and told to ‘get lost’!!

❤ ❤ ❤

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Day 19 – 30 Days Wild…

An aromatic walk with the roses…

 

 

After a busy weekend and day at work I met up for a walk in the park with a good friend. It wasn’t a very ‘wild’ walk but we were able to appreciate the wildlife busying around us…blackbirds foraging in the undergrowth and pigeons flying through the trees, bees buzzing around the park flowers and butterflies dancing in the sun.

I only had my mobile phone with me and the camera on it really does not do justice to the floral display in the Rose Garden…the roses filled the air with a mixture of fragrances.

 

 

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Day 18 – 30 Days Wild…

Beach Portraits…

 

 

 

‘A picture is worth a thousand words…’

A scorching hot day at the beach. Sand, Sea, Shadows, Reflections, Paddling in the sea, BBQ with family, Coastguard fly by, Drawing in the sand, Hearts, Love…PRICELESS!!!

❤ ❤ ❤

 

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Day 17 – 30 Days Wild…

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve Walk…

 

Having lived in this part of the country all of my life I have just recently started to see how much of the natural world around me I have yet to explore fully. Living on the coast its easy to focus your attention on the sea and beaches but I am also very privileged to be surrounded by amazing countryside and conservation sites, one of which is only a short drive away.

So today I went for a guided walk with the Sussex Wildlife Trust around one of the most important conservation sites in Britain. Rye Harbour Nature Reserve has been recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Protection Area for birds under the EU Birds Directive, a Special Area of Conservation under the EU Habitats Directive and a Ramsar site that takes account of its importance as a wetland on an international scale.

The walk explored the north of the reserve, near to Rye and started at Brede Lock. We walked through Castle Farm to Camber Castle…

We were lucky to be part of a guided walk that included a visit inside Camber Castle which is an English Heritage site. The castle was built by Henry VIII to protect the Sussex coast against French attack and sits between Rye and Winchelsea – more info can be found here. It is pretty much a ruin, but of all the castle ruins I have seen, there is something a bit special about Camber which is now home to Peregrine’s and Jackdaws…

From the castle we walked along to the bird watching hide at Castle Water where we saw a great diversity of wild birds…

The morning was concluded with a very interesting walk back to Brede Lock with the flora and fauna putting on a good show…

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Day 15 – 30 Days Wild…

Sun Prints… 

 

I finally got round to trying out my sun print paper today which is essentially prepared cyanotype print paper. In the same way as traditional Photograms are made, objects are placed on light sensitive photographic paper and exposed to light.

I was first introduced to this process in 2011 and had a go using some homemade hand painted paper, but when I saw everyone using the sun print craft paper I just had to buy some!

Cyanotypes were invented by Sir John Herschel in 1841 and originally used to create copies of architectural drawings known as ‘blueprints’. This process is much simpler than that of silver print black and white photography and gives a cyan blue print using a sensitising solution of Ammonium Ferric Citrate and Potassium Ferricyanide. When exposed to light (natural or artificial ultraviolet) these iron salts reduce down to their ferrous state that produces a high contrast blue image when oxidised. Oxidation is sped up by immersing it in running water that washes away the unused iron salts that ‘fixes’ to create a lasting image.

In the same way that I made my photograms at the weekend I sandwiched the flowers and leaves I collected between the paper and glass only this time I used the sun in the garden to expose the image. It is a lot of fun and so, so simple!

I love traditional photography, I am sure I am living in the wrong era!!!

❤ ❤ ❤

 

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Day 14 – 30 Days Wild…

Watching Me, Watching You…

 

 

 

Since I began posting for 30 days wild my regular walks to work have become a lot more interesting. I still take the same route through the park gardens but I have a new heightened awareness of what is around me.

Unfortunately I did not have a camera with me to document my journey in pictures (N.B. that’s an idea for another day!!) so the image attached to this post was actually taken this evening as I watched the garden birds ‘sharing’ the feeders. I have a background in animal behaviour and I have always wondered while watching animals who exactly is observing who and this example summed up my day of ‘observations’.

My observations began while walking down the hill towards the park, I was suddenly aware of a rustling across the road and out popped a squirrel from an overgrown driveway. It started galloping along the footpath parallel to me and then crossed the road, both of us arriving at the gateway to the gardens at the same time. It seemed really wary so I took a few steps backwards to allow some space for it to pass and it paused to give me a little look (I’d like to think it was thanking me…) and then clambered down the steps and disappeared into a garden.

From the moment I walked down the steps I started to become aware of all the sights and sounds before me, and despite initially thinking the park was empty it was actually breathing with life…wild-life!!

On the way through I saw four squirrels (foraging and scurrying around tree trunks), a family of wood pigeons, three Mr Blackbirds and two Mrs Blackbirds (separately scuffing around in the undergrowth of trees) , eleven feral pigeons (feasting in the distance on some food a passerby left for them), a jay (flying from tree to tree), three magpies, two crows, several gulls swooping overhead (always optimistic), a common blue butterfly, two smaller unknown butterflies dancing and spiraling beneath a tree.

I also noticed the shapes of all the leaves in the trees, the different shades of green and silver, the smell of the elder flowers, the smell of cut grass, the long grasses swaying in the breeze in a wild area and the amazing sounds of park life!!

❤ ❤ ❤

 

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Day 13 – 30 Days Wild…

Appreciation…

 

 

 

 

A first for A Reflection of Your Heart…a food pic!! For Day 13 I have used the mint growing in my garden to make a milkshake. It didn’t feel very wild so I took it out into the garden and sat on the patio cross legged among the flowers, bees and butterflies and soaked up the early evening sun.

I usually come home from work and plonk myself down in front of the television or make a start on dinner straight away, so it made a lovely change to relax for a while listening to the natural world go about its day around me!!

A year ago this space was pretty much a blank canvas so I was able to take in all the hard work and appreciate the wildlife garden it has become!!

At the end of your busy day spend just a few moments appreciating what you have!

❤ ❤ ❤

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Day 12 – 30 Days Wild…

A Flower Doodle…

 

 

 

As a child I was never far from a pad of paper and colouring pens, always doodling and copy drawing, but lately I have realised how detached from drawing and colouring I have become.

I am not the worlds best at drawing, you only have to do a quick search on the internet to see the amazing talent that is out there, but I enjoy being creative and it is great therapy to get lost in a piece of art, however simple!!

So after a busy day at work I decided instead of coming home and feeling stressed about my day I would sit and do some wild doodling!! Whenever I doodle it is always flowers that I find at the end of my pencil or pen and today was no exception.

I am not really sure what inspired this doodle, I doubt any of the flowers are that true to life but on reflection the diversity of the flowers growing from a single stem and grounded from the same roots are symbolic of me as a person and the diversity of life…

❤ ❤ ❤