"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

#30DaysWild (and latest Reading)

Just a short post on the final 2 weeks of 30 Days Wild. Activities while we were in Devon included watching bees and insects on flowers, looking for plants in walls, watching birds along the River Sid next to the cottage, trying to identify all the wildflowers seen in those beautiful high Devon hedgerows, observing bats hawking round the cottage at dusk, watching spiders spin webs around the cottage, a cruise along the Exe estuary looking for bids and admiring cloud formations in the evening.

To be honest I struggled to find time last week as, for various reasons, life was hectic. But I did try and find a few minutes to do a 30 Days Wild Activity each day.

Ragged Robin (grown from seed by B) is finally in flower in the newly planted bog garden. I really must go back to attempting water colour painting again soon although I suspect it is more of a winter activity initially when more time is available. If I can learn the basics I might be able to have another go at painting wild flowers next Spring and Summer.

I've been checking on the Orange Tip caterpillars on garden Honesty each day (highest count was ten). I still haven't found any pupae but will keep looking. Does anyone know if they pupate on the plant they have fed on or elsewhere?

I've been reading up on some of the stunning geology along the Jurassic coast and one night last week I put out the moth trap. To be honest I am finding it hard for some reason this year to get motivated with putting the trap out. Perhaps it is because we have had so much rain, or low catches or B moaning about finding moths in the fridge! Probably a combination of all three! Anyway, the trap contained my first Riband Wave of the year, dozens of Heart and Dart and Uncertain - believe it or not there is a moth of this name!! Plus a Figure of Eighty which I rarely trap here so I was quite chuffed.

Figure of Eighty

The garden feeders are attracting plenty of young birds - mostly Blue and Great Tits, Goldfinches and House Sparrows.

I've also been watching ants in the garden "milking" aphids. This is known as a mutualistic relationship as the ants protect the aphids from predators and the ants will stroke the aphids with their antennae to encourage them to release honeydew which is high in sugar.

I had plenty of ideas for activities but sadly time was lacking - well, there is always the rest of the Summer :) #StayWild

Books Read Recently

I've just finished reading "Absolute Truths" by Susan Howatch - the final book in the Starbridge series. I've really enjoyed re-reading the books again.

I've almost finished this book by Richard Fortey. I always love reading his books and this one is no exception.

If you are interested in Earth Science/Geology and/or The History of Life I would really recommend his books. The best ones to start with are probably

The Hidden Landscape - a Journey into the Geological Past

Life: An Unauthorised Biography

Fossils: The Key to the Past

He has also written a very good book on the years he spent working in the Natural History Museum, London called "Dry Store Room No. 1: The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum". In fact, any of his books are worth looking out for.

Tomorrow, back to the holiday posts - only 2 more days left to catch up on now!! :)


Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Ragged robin is damn hard to photography, those frail little flowers are very hard to get in focus!

Ragged Robin said...

Simon Douglas Thompson - You are right Simon - they are difficult. I have a lot of failed/blurred photos from over the years!

amanda peters said...

Nice to see you have finished of your 30 days wild, I suppose I did with all the wild life I recorded and just been at the seaside. I have had more time of as there is no overtime at work so in just two days. But I have found I have less time somehow to get things done... if that makes sense!
Did see some Honesty on holiday but not caterpillars, interesting to see if they stay on the plant.
Nice to see what books you are reading, did try reading my Chris Packman book but struggled to settle with it, have so got out of the habit of reading.
Moth trapping has lost its sparked this year to, low numbers haven't helped.
Have a lovely week..
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Thanks very much Amanda. I am afraid it did go out with a whimper rather than a bang! As you say, the holiday was easy really as there was so much to see and do but last week was so hectic. I know what you mean about less time - when I worked 20 hours a week I used to rush around doing housework in spare time yet still had more time to do what I wanted. Now I am at home all the time I tend to spread the jobs out to fit the spare hours and end up having less time for hobbies!! Although it is more difficult now that B is at home because I don't feel as if I can just go off and "do my own thing" as I used to!

I haven't read so much in the last 3 weeks even on holiday. But have just started Red Bones by Anne Cleeves and it is a book that is hard to put down so will I think finish that one quite quick! :)

Have a lovely week too.

Pam said...

I'm with you on life being a bit too hectic towards the end of the 30 days wild! At least you were able to fit a little in each day :)

Ragged Robin said...

Pam - Thank you - thank goodness for having a garden!! :) Much as I love a holiday in June it comes at a busy time with 2 family birthdays (and this year it was a special one for my husband!).

Millymollymandy said...

I would have thought you did something a bit 'wild' most days anyway, so I wouldn't worry about it; as you say you have the rest of summer for observing and doing wild things!

The moth is cool - I haven't come across one of them yet (I don't think!). I haven't been keeping lists as there are many that I haven't ID'd. I'm not so into it this year either - keep hoping for a Lime Hawkmoth but not yet.

Right now I am going back to my own blog which is sadly behind the times. You have been on a roll with your postings! I don't know how you find the time and motivation!! :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Millymollymandy - Thanks - yes, you are right. If you are into wildlife it just becomes part of your everyday life naturally. I would just liked to have done more different things but June is always a busy month for me.

Finding it hard this year to get moth motivated due to rain and even lower catches than usual :( If you've got photos you can always continue with id when winter comes. I really do hope you get a Lime Hawkmoth - will keep my fingers crossed.

Good Luck with getting your blog updated. To be honest feel totally blogged out with all the recent posts. Its mainly the fact that I keep it as a record of our hols that has given me the motivation but yes it is so time consuming and I have spent several hours each evening on it. Am way behind now with my reading!!!!