30 Days Wild : 18

Day 18

Day 18 of 30 Days Wild sees the first day of tiling our new floor. This means that I have more spare time as I cannot offer much assistance at the slate face.

Hiding Out

Mr L considers tiling floors to be a one-man activity. I have no part in today’s proceedings other than to keep him fed and watered. I took myself out to the campervan, with the intention of lingering. I was planning a Ratatouille for dinner and needed to stay with it for the sake of safety. I do not plan on leaving gas rings burning in an unsupervised camper van, not at all!

I ventured forth with aubergine and peppers; with glasses and knitting; with camera and notebook; and with good intent.

The van is parked outside our house, with its back to the sea and the windscreen pointing North. The view is across the wildest part of our garden and uphill towards the island’s school. The van is provided with a huge windscreen and comfortable upholstered seats – not to mention facilities for making a brew and for emptying the resulting full bladder. In short, the local wildlife being fully used to its presence, the camper van makes a jolly good hide and  a luxurious one at that.

I got the dinner cooking, made a coffee and sat in the passenger seat with my knitting to hand and the radio on.

The view from the van

The view from the van

You can see our ancient Land Rover to the right and Mr L’s weather station in front. As you can imagine, I am quite high up in the vehicle so you may deduce that this part of the garden is raised. It is in fact a rubbish heap that we inherited when we moved in and is composed largely of rubble, topped by Nettles, Docks and Iris. To the right of the Land Rover is a fallow field that has been uncultivated for a number of years now.  Beyond the heap is a damper, lower part of the garden and beyond that and to the right is an area of full-blown wet land. Between us and the neighbouring house in view to the right is open water. On the left hand side, out of view and adjacent to the garden is a cultivated field. As mentioned, the sea is behind us.

With such a range of habitats about us, this area offers the chance to spot a wide range of species on a good day.

Today was not a good day and the view was quickly obscured by rain. I did spot some commonly occurring species:

  • Common Gull
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull
  • Ravens
  • Starlings
  • a Blackbird
  • Northern Wheatear

I also saw what I could swear to be a Brambling, except that should not have been here so may well have been a mis-identification.

I am not a Birdwatcher by any means. I mean, I am not a twitcher. My Species recognition is very basic and I do not collect birds, I simply enjoy observing the ones that are around me – most of which I can name but some I find more difficult than others.

I did not see some of the regulars that I expect in and around my garden – no Pigeons, no Skylarks, no Wrens, no Oystercatchers, Snipe, Lapwings or Curlews. Nor did the Hen harrier show, or its shyer neighbours, the Heron and the Short-eared Owl.

So, not a good day.

What I did notice when I was shooting the view via the windscreen was that there were some Iris in flower in the distance, when the rain stopped I took my camera up the top end to see if any of ours are in flower yet.

First of the year

First of the year

We have one! Just a single for now but I do see further buds developing.

All the concentration on DIY in the house has meant that the part of the garden that we keep under cultivation (a loose term) is not being mowed as frequently as normal. This apparently has benefits – in my walk up the garden I not only observed the Iris coming on and the Horsetails branching

Branching out

Branching out

 

but also some hitherto unseen Speedwell

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Shy Speedwell

and some completely unanticipated Marsh Orchids!

Purple beauty

Purple beauty – Northern Marsh Orchid

Evidence, if it were ever needed, of how the ground will reward us if we allow some wildness in our gardens.

Now, if only the sun would come out for a while, we might see the additional benefits derived in the form of butterflies and bees.

I am delighted to find two “new” plants for my wild flower audit, should I ever get around to completing it.

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