Unfortunately not much of a break came after my AS exams. Of course I fitted in my wonderful trip to Spurn and a trip to Suffolk last week, of which I will discuss more about in this post, but on Monday I was back at school starting my A2 courses. On the bright side, on my way to school I’m privileged to be accompanied by swifts squawking over my head. Always a good start to the day and keeps me going as I long for my trip to Spurn next month where I’ll be, guess what…counting swifts!
After not posting very much for quite a few weeks and there’s so much I want to post about, I thought I’d round it all up into a ‘catch up’ blog post to share some news and excitement.
After getting back from Spurn I did something that I haven’t done for quite a while due to an injury and exams (I’m fed up of that word!!) which was going for a fairly long distant walk exploring local countryside. As we (me and my granddad) haven’t been out together doing any considerable distances for a while we only did around 15 miles which was quite light on what I used to be able to manage. Over the next few months though I will hopefully return back to my previous fitness levels as we train to do the North West Way next summer which is 191 miles and should take us around two weeks. That sounds a bit mad but I can’t wait. The connection I get and some of the wildlife experiences I’ve had when I’ve been out walking have been some of my BEST! This should definitely be the case when doing this walk as we take paths through the Ribble Valley, along parts of the Pennine Way, scramble over parts such as Great Dun Fell, Cross Fell and the awesome falls of High Force, and through parts of the Lake District.
An update some may be familiar with is my visit to RSPB Minsmere and appearance on BBC Springwatch Unsprung last Wednesday (8th June). The two days away were brilliant! At Minsmere not only did the Springwatch team make me feel very comfortable but the reserve is beautiful and I managed to sneak in a few hours before the show and preparing to go exploring. Species included marsh harrier, stone curlew, a stoat family, bittern, avocets, little grebe, lots of herons (but unfortunately no purple heron) and many more. I also saw a few swifts about which had a big influence on my 2nd place, according to last Wednesday, artwork! When on Unsprung, I was a fellow guest to Benjamin Zephaniah. Of whom I’m a big fan of his work and really enjoyed spending time with him throughout the day. On the show though I spoke about attracting and encouraging as many people as possible (whatever age) to appreciate and enjoy their natural surroundings. I mentioned my recent first peregrine watch at Lichfield cathedral, going into schools and communicating with those my own age too. I also got the opportunity to talk about my recent post-exam trip to Spurn. I had a really wonderful time so a massive thank you to all those at Minsmere and the Springwatch team.
On my way back I stopped off at Paxton Pits in Cambridge after recent sightings of a Great Reed Warbler, and I did manage to get a glimpse of as well as listen to its beautiful song from the reed beds which were opposite to me.
On the subject of bird song, during my school lunch break yesterday I decided to sneak off onto my patch, which is luckily next door to my school, with my audio recorder. Many may think it isn’t the most exciting place on the planet but it is to me and when I condensed all the audio clips I recorded together the sound was beautiful. With a mixture of blackcap, chiffchaff, robin, song thrush, blackbird, crows and even a bee crashing into the microphone! I did quite a few of these earlier in the year for the backing sound of The Guardian podcast ‘ Sow, Grow, Repeat’ but I’m glad I went out with it again yesterday and again realised how effective it is.
You can listen to it here – https://soundcloud.com/georgialocock/bird-songs-of-my-patch-15062016
Keeping it local; I’m also hoping to be doing another peregrine watch within the next few weeks. One chick fledged this year which is good news, especially if it is successful. Both parents are flying back and forth with food as well as the chick occasionally following. Perhaps beginning to learn vital hunting skills for the future. Upon my visit earlier this week there was no sign of any of the birds but after walking around the cathedral a few times I heard a squawk from behind me. When I turned round to the direction the noise came from I got an amazing sight of a bird rising upwards then going into a stoop. Unfortunately it wasn’t successful and the skill wasn’t great so imagine it was a youngster but still an amazing sight!
Myself and Benjamin on the Springwatch sofa – http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b07fd703/springwatch-unsprung-2016-episode-8