I have always lived a wild life. For this I have my family to thank, being raised in the middle of the beautiful Dorset countryside, immersed in everything Mother Nature has to offer. It has been my playground, my classroom, my escape, and my counsellor. It is a part of who I am. This is why I am so passionate to protect and conserve our natural world, and why I now make it my mission to share all it has to offer with the rest of the world.
So when I heard about 30 Days Wild, I just had to get involved! The month-long challenge aims to bring people closer to nature, get people learning and exploring, and make a positive difference for wildlife in the UK. This year I made it my goal to spread the word, and before the month started, I began blogging about the challenge in the hope of inspiring others to also get involved (check out How to… Get involved in the June 30 Days Wild challenge). The response was amazing!
Once June was under way, I also made 30 Days Wild a focus of each and every day for the whole of the month. I got to try some new things, learn some new knowledge, help some worthy causes, share with others about nature and wildlife, and most importantly, I got to explore and spend valuable time out in nature. I enjoyed every minute, so join me now as I take a look back at how wild my month of June really was!
30 Days Wild – June 2020
Day 1 – Monday 1st (Work):
For the very first day of my 30 Days Wild, I started with a bang, showing my support for my local Wildlife Trust by becoming a member. By joining Dorset Wildlife Trust, I have joined 25,000 other members helping to conserve and safeguard wildlife in Dorset and on my doorstep. I look forward to now doing my bit!
Day 2 – Tuesday 2nd (Work):
For my second day, I was faced again with the challenge of completing a Random Act of Wildness alongside a busy day at work. I achieved this though, by taking a break in the evening to watch a wild webcam in the form of BBC Springwatch’s live nest cams. It was amazing to get a different perspective of the nests, such as being right inside a Jackdaw’s nest!
Day 3 – Wednesday 3rd (Day off):
On my first day off during the challenge, I was able to go for a long walk out in nature, seeing what I could discover on my way. Despite it being a rainy day, the wildlife did not disappoint, with lots of different birds and insects making their presence felt, from families of Long-Tailed Tits to chattering Magpies.
Day 4 – Thursday 4th (Day off):
With another day off work, I decided to combine taking in nature with another of my passions, horse riding. On a hack with my next door neighbour’s mare Marsha, I got to get some really great views of the beautiful countryside near where I live, combined with views of some great bird species, such as my favourites, the birds of prey.
Day 5 – Friday 5th (Work):
Over the last couple of months I have tried to regularly upload a new post to this blog every Friday. To combine 30 Days Wild with my recent How to… series, on this day I uploaded a piece about making a home for wildlife, and in particular a hotel for bees. To do this post, I got to make my very own hotel, which was very rewarding, so if you would like to make your own, why not check out my easy guide: How to… Make Your Own Bee Hotel
Day 6 – Saturday 6th (Day off):
I love growing my own fruit and vegetables, and then being able to pick and eat them! So I was happy on this day off, that I got the pleasure of picking my family’s first gooseberry crop, though it took a while after to top and tail all of them! I also spent time listening to my bird songs and calls CD to do some revision before going out for a walk to test my knowledge. I now love being able to instinctively know when I can hear certain species, such as a Blackcap or Yellowhammer singing in the landscape!
Day 7 – Sunday 7th (Work):
I spent the whole of my Sunday making a note of the species that I came across as I went about my usual day before, during and after work. I was able to realise just how lucky I am to work outside and spend so much time out in nature everyday!
I also spent the evening catching up on Springwatch with the company of one of my house cats!
Day 8 – Monday 8th (Work):
During my 30 Days Wild, I wanted to donate to a wildlife cause. I decided that one cause I wanted to support was the Marine Turtle Conservation Project, which without funding would not be able to continue their important work. It was also well timed as the 8th of June was World Oceans Day!
I as well finished my day excitingly helping with Barn Owl nest box checks in my local area, now that I am fully licensed. This included the Barn Owl box on my family’s own farm and it is definitely looking positive for them this year!
Day 9 – Tuesday 9th (Work):
On this day, I was lucky enough to go out hacking on horseback whilst at work, and rode through some really spectacular countryside. It was one very busy day at work, so when I got home I also relaxed with some wild reading, including a great fictional book by zoologist Delia Owens called Where The Crawdads Sing. Her imagery of the North Carolina marshland is absolutely stunning!
Day 10 – Wednesday 10th (Day off):
For my day off, I wanted to spend time really taking in the natural world around me and exploring the finer details. In this way, I got to see some incredible things from a hunting Sparrowhawk and Digger Bee nests to strong smelling Honeysuckle and mating Yellow Shell Moths. There is just so much to see if you give yourself the time to take it all in!
Day 11 – Thursday 11th (Day off):
The day before during my walks, I had collected some Barn Owl pellets from beneath two nest sites, a tree and a nest box, on my family’s land. I then spent the next day soaking the pellets and teasing them apart to see what they held inside. From the nest box site, there was Field Vole, Mouse and Common Shrew bones, whereas from the tree site there was Field and Bank Vole, Common and Pygmy Shrew, and Brown Rat.
I also spent some time identifying plants that I had seen out and about, including learning to identify a Male Fern that my cat was very interested in helping me with!
Day 12 – Friday 12th (Work):
This Friday, I once again combined 30 Days Wild with my recent How to… series, uploading a post on making small changes to your own life to help our planet. For example, walking and cycling more, thinking before you buy, and cutting your water usage. If you want to get inspired yourself, check out my post: How to… Help the planet one small step at a time.
I also spent some time on this rainy day, appreciating the beauty of the falling rain.
Day 13 – Saturday 13th (Day off):
I spent my Saturday wild and busy. My activities ranged from identifying pollinators to organising equipment ahead of the autumn bird ringing season. I am always happiest doing something but doing something outside is even better!
Day 14 – Sunday 14th (Work):
There is nothing more valuable than your own parents passing down their knowledge to you, and with mine it is no different. I have my Mum to thank for the foundations of all my wildlife knowledge today, from bird song to plant species. This year my Mum has been teaching me about chalkland species, using the chalk mound my Mum and Dad have created themselves on our farmland. It has been so enjoyable listening to my Mum as she IDs and teaches me each and every species on the ridge!
Day 15 – Monday 15th (Work):
The ever-changing sky is a source of wonder and life. I took time over the course of a whole day, appreciating it and watching it change, from cloud watching with white fluffy and dark rain clouds to an unexpectedly beautiful sunset!
Day 16 – Tuesday 16th (Work):
One of the acitivities I definitely wanted to do during 30 Days Wild, was to make my own bird food, taking me back to my childhood. I kept it simple with lard and bird seed, and packed the food into different shaped recycled containers for some variation. I then left it in the fridge overnight with the aim of testing it the very next day!
Day 17 – Wednesday 17th (Day off):
I began my day off by putting out my homemade bird food in the garden. Unfortunately it was a bit hot, and the food kept melting off its strings! It was a hit with the local fledged Starling chicks though, and eventually disappeared within 48 hours.
I also took my mum and dad to my bird ringing trainer’s private nature reserve for a a different walk. It is such a lovely place to be, and gave us all some inspiration of how we can make more homes for wildlife on our own land. To finish the day, I helped pick some of the fruit growing in my family’s garden, my favourites being the strawberries!
Day 18 – Thursday 18th (Day off) :
People who read my blog will know that I love the woods! It’s a place I go to when I want a break from the world or just to watch the seasons change in a place where it’s at its most noticeable. So as part of my 30 Days Wild, I headed into the woods for a spot of forest bathing and a refresher. The day’s rain did not even stop me!
Day 19 – Friday 19th (Work):
Due to my love of spring and wildlife photography, for this Friday on my blog, I uploaded a post about my favourite photos from spring 2020. It was great to reflect on my own spring and to look back on some great moments, making it easily one of my favourite posts so far this year! If you want to take a look, check out my Spring 2020: In Photos.
I also headed out into my family’s land after work, to revisit a favourite camera trapping spot from this spring. Once there, I set up my camera trap again, and looked forward to seeing what I might catch this time around.
Day 20 – Saturday 20th (Work):
After work, I signed up to the BTO’s Garden BirdWatch, which is currently free for everyone to take part, and allows me to upload what I see in my garden at home every week. I also took time out to focus on my mental health, and completed a wild guided meditation, lying on the grass in my garden. I picked this particular meditation as it incorporates taking in the sounds around you, such as the sounds of nature. It was so surreal for me to relax outside and then reopen my eyes to see lots and lots of baby starlings looking back at me!
Day 21 – Sunday 21st (Day off):
As it was Father’s Day, for my Sunday off, I got to spend lots of time with my dad. This included two walks also with my mum, where we tried to see what nature had to offer us, which included birds of prey and wonderful Skylarks. To top off an active day, I also pulled on my trainers for the first time in a couple of weeks, due to an injury, and went for a run through the countryside around my home. I just cannot get enough of being outdoors!
Day 22 – Monday 22nd (Work):
For my Monday, I completed two different Random Acts of Wildness. Firstly, I began writing down all the birds I saw in my garden during the day as part of the BTO’s Garden BirdWatch.
I then made a donation to charity. I may not have a lot of money, but at times like these I realise how lucky and fortunate I am in life. So when I saw another great cause, I had to get involved and donate!
Two years ago, during my Master’s in Conservation and Biodiversity, I got the opportunity to go on a field course to Kenya, with a lot of organisation from Adventure Upgrade Safaris. They even got me a cake for my birthday! Now without tourism, the company are struggling and without our support, they will not be able to continue for the future. They need our help to survive!
Day 23 – Tuesday 23rd (Work):
This day was an exciting day for me! It was the day that, after work, I got to retrieve my camera trap that I had put out last Friday!
Though I had previously captured my best camera trap photo this year in this location (a fox cub), I did not know what to expect this time around. My camera trap did not disappoint though, and the photos included those of the fox cub I had previously seen, a rabbit and some really great photos of some badgers!
Day 24 – Wednesday 24th (Day off):
On a day when I really needed it, I got to spend my day off doing some things I love. My bird ringing group starts the autumn migration ringing season on the 1st of August and so to start my Wednesday, I helped with some of the preparation for the season. For example, we completed an important but often overlooked job, re-dying our mist nets with a special dye mix.
I also excitingly spent some of my day ringing Kestrel chicks and, now that I am fully licensed, helped with Barn Owl nest box checks. This led to me also getting to ring Barn Owl chicks and getting some great views of some Little Owls!
Day 25 – Thursday 25th (Day off):
Another activity I really wanted to do during my 30 Days Wild, was to do some wild baking. I decided on making some simple vanilla cupcakes and decorating them with minibeasts in different colours.
My time spent baking was not without some drama though, as I ended up modelling icing during an afternoon of over 30 degrees heat! Despite this, I soldiered on through runny icing, with the much needed help of my mum, and had some great fun, whilst making some yummy cakes topped with interesting and colourful creatures!
Day 26 – Friday 26th (Work):
For my last Friday of 30 Days Wild, I uploaded to my blog another brand new post. This time my post followed on from last Friday’s spring upload, and focussed on how spring unfolded this year. If you want to have a read about how my extra special spring actually turned out this year, check out my Spring 2020: How It Happened.
Day 27 – Saturday 27th (Day off):
This day was another day of relaxing in nature. This included watching and recording the birds in my garden, going for a long horse ride through the Dorset countryside, and exploring the flowers growing in my garden and on my currently ‘no mow’ lawn.
Day 28 – Sunday 28th (Work):
With it being especially rainy during my day at work, I made it my priority to spend my lunch break outdoors during a break in the weather. It was a much needed refresher! Also, having completed my first week of the BTO’s Garden BirdWatch yesterday, I spent my evening uploading my results to their website. It was exciting to see how the week actually went!
Day 29 – Monday 29th (Work):
I spent this Monday rushed off of my feet at work. To keep my brain relaxed though, I came up with the plan of spending my day attempting to noticing the wildlife around me and seeing if I could find a species for each letter of the alphabet. I had a very successful day of it, alongside being very productive at work, leading to only one species missing (the letter X)!
The response to me completing this activity was absolutely amazing on Twitter. It gave me a real sense of joy to see everyone’s support, so thank you everyone!
Day 30 – Tuesday 30th (Work):
Today was the last day of June and the final day of 30 Days Wild. However much I would have liked to have finished with a bang, it would not have fit my true and busy day. Instead, today was a day of appreciating and being grateful for the natural world around me. This may be in the form of what I encountered on my travels or seen out of my window, or by taking in other people’s experiences such as through books and on twitter. I treasured them all!
This June has been a wild rollercoaster which I have absolutely loved! Spending time focussing on nature each and every day has enriched my days, relaxed me, and allowed me to connect further with the wild world around me. If I had to pick some highlights, these would include my wild alphabet becoming popular on Twitter, making wild cupcakes with my mum, expanding my knowledge of plants, ringing my first Kestrel and Barn Owl chicks, and sharing my 30 Days Wild on social media.
I have learnt and experienced so much this past month, and I am now inspired to continue making the natural world an important part of each and every day, and to share my passion with as many people as I possibly can. I hope that if you participated in this year’s challenge, that you also had a great month. Otherwise here’s to next year’s 30 Days Wild!