Here’s the third and final part of my posts on our 30 Days Wild! I’d meant to get this post done a long time ago, but I’m clearly staying true to my life motto of “better late than never”… In case you haven’t read our first two posts about #30DaysWild, please take a look at part one here, and part two here (all links open in a new window).
One of the biggest reasons for it taking me so long to get this third and final part done, is that I had said I would include a video that I was going to make from pictures and video clips of our 30 Days Wild. I’m afraid I’ve failed at that task. I did put a video together, edited clips to fit together and in time with music on top etc, and got it close to finished. But then the app I was using to make it wouldn’t let me add to it, and updating it actually made it even worse, so I couldn’t even open my almost finished video and would have to start again from scratch. And frankly, I don’t feel that would be worth my time. So I’m afraid I’ll have to go back on my word regarding the video, and just get on with completing our report for the final 10 days:
DAY 21 – BAYHAM OLD ABBEY
On this day we explored the English Heritage property of Bayham Old Abbey. For a little video clip as well as photos from this, and some information about the place, please take a look at my instagram post:
DAY 22 – INSECTS GALORE (…OR SHOULD THAT BE ‘WAR’?)
We spotted an ant and a ladybird meeting up on a thistle, which had loads of black aphids on it. Ants love the sweet honeydew that the aphids get out of the plants, and hence they actually protect the aphids from predators, such as ladybirds. So, the ladybird was here to eat the aphids, and the ant was trying to attack it. Insect war! On this occasion, the ant wasn’t looking too successful, but apparently ladybirds sometimes get killed by ants in situations like this!
Our walk took us past a vineyard, which along with the brambles provided us with another opportunity to think about the insects’ role as pollinators. The flowers and developing berries on the brambles were also great for looking at different stages of pollination & fruit development. Penguin was keen to try the not yet ready berries, hence his fingers sneaking into the frame here.
We also found an old fallen tree which was great for sitting down on for a rest & snack, as well as for observing the ants that had made their nest inside it.
If you’re in the UK & love taking photos of insects, there’s a photo competition running until 31 Oct, for youngsters & adults (split into under 18s & over 18s respectively). Check out nationalinsectweek.co.uk for details!
Earlier in the day we did some insect-themed colouring by numbers in the garden, on a worksheet printed out from twinkl.com. Penguin did really well with it!
DAY 23 – INSECTS AGAIN, AND A RIVERSIDE STROLL
Following on from our insect spotting the previous day, I made a colouring by numbers for Penguin based on the ladybird and ant we’d seen on that thistle. The colouring in went really well again, which I’m very happy about since Penguin’s not really caught on properly to the idea of colouring by numbers until recently.
Later in the day we went for a little stroll along a river, and now I’ve got two questions for those of you with an interest in wild plants:
1. In this river, there were lots of much smaller lily pads than the usual ones. Are the common? Native? Do they flower too?
2. What are the taller plants with purple flowers seen at the back/top of the photo below?
Thank you in advance for any answers!
DAY 24 & 25 – HOT DAYS, SPENT AT HOME
We had a couple of days with really hot weather, and we’ve learnt from experience that those kind of days are rarely good for days out, so we spent them at home, enjoying plenty of time in the garden (with Penguin mainly in the pool).
Focusing on wildlife, you can see some of a very tiny variety if you look closely at these first two pics: There’s a small cloud of gnats hovering above Penguin, & they were like that for pretty much the whole night, while he splashed about until the sun was well and truly under the horizon.
I was hoping to catch some footage of the little bats (Pipistrelles, I believe) that were flickering around at dusk, but they seem to be notoriously camera shy… So all I got was photos of the night sky, with and without gulls:
Moths on the other hand are easy to find and will often happily pose for photos. They’re not favourites of mine, but I’m trying to become more okay with them… and on the night of day 25 I also tried to get Penguin more interested in them. I’d say I was moderately successful, though that’s being generous, lol. I’m quite happy with the pictures anyway, and find the different moths quite interesting to look at. I really like the lacey edges of the wings on the white one. Though the moth in the last photo below wins the prize for most fascinating look, if I get to be the judge. Which one is your favourite?
DAY 26 – RUBBISH…
This was a warm & windy evening, and it felt good to get to the beach after a couple of days at home. However, I have never before seen SO MUCH RUBBISH, just left behind to be swept out by the tide!
I mean really… who thinks it’s ok to just leave crap like this?! Whole bags full of rubbish, along with plastic bottles, crisp packets, single use BBQs, etc.
It made me really angry. And although we still had a good walk on the beach and on the sea wall, watching the kite-surfers and the gulls all enjoying the winds, it left me feeling more down than up…
And I know it might seem a small issue, but it’s such an UNNECESSARY cause of upset, as well as actual harm to the environment. It would have been quite easy to bring that rubbish home, or to a bin. But people chose not to. So disappointing!
I wish everyone would try harder to go through life without causing harm and unnecessary upset. Imagine how good the world could be…
DAY 27 – DRAGONFLIES
Dragonflies are still very much around if you go looking for them outside, so this is still a good time of year to learn a bit more about them. And as seen in the picture below, we had a little dragonfly learning session which included:
– watching a YouTube video on dragonflies by AllThingsAnimal TV. They’re a great channel for short, simple, well-made videos about animals! Just beware of loud animal noises in the intro, if that isn’t your bag.
– looking at our own photos & video of dragonflies.
– looking at dragonflies in a book I’ve kept from when I was a kid, called ’Maja tittar på naturen’, which translates to ’Maja looks at nature’. It’s in Swedish, but we’re mainly using it for the pictures, plus I comment on what we see in it.
– doing a dragonfly colouring by numbers which I made for Penguin. I’m still so happy that he’s really got to grips with colouring by numbers. It might seem a simple thing, but to combine all the steps of checking what number equals what colour, picking out the correctly coloured crayon, remembering what area/number that colour was to go in, & staying (roughly) within the lines, is not an easy for everyone. It has taken a long time for us to get to this stage, but now we’re enjoying it!
I filmed Penguin working on the colouring by numbers, and felt it deserved to be made into a cheesy music type video, please see below!
Also, I know I’ve mentioned this before, but we’ve found it super helpful to use oil pastel crayons, like the ones seen here. They seem to give a much clearer sensory feedback, as they kind of stick to the paper, rather than glide over it the way most crayons etc do. So that’s a top tip from us!
DAY 28 – COUNTRYSIDE WALK UNDER SUMMER SKIES
This wasn’t a very long walk, and Penguin was in a bit of a wobbly mood. But parts of it was very enjoyable, and we saw lots of different flowers, including the ones pictured here: Meadowsweet, Crow garlic, and Comfrey.
We also sat down to have a drink on a bench beside a large oak on the village common, and we noticed a few tiny oaks growing on the ground, from previous years acorns. There were some old acorn shells on the ground as well. I was just about to take a picture to document that ‘nature lesson’, when Penguin decided that it was time to move on, fast. Hence no oak pics, sorry!
DAY 29 – OCEAN BINGO & A WINDY GRAVEYARD
On this day we played the game Ocean Bingo for the first time. It’s a good game, I love the illustrations and that it comes with facts about all the creatures. It does however take a bit too long to finish to really be a hit with Penguin (for now anyway).
In the afternoon we went out for a short walk and had a windy snack break on a graveyard. Lovely landscape but the most grey of days.
DAY 30 – OYSTERSHELLS & WILD FENNEL
On our final day of 30 Days Wild, we went for a short and rain-drenched seaside walk. Someone had collected lots of oyster shells and left them on the sea wall. Very pretty, and the rain made the colours more clear than they’d been if dry. Silver lining and all that, eh?
There was fennel growing wild along that sea wall. I showed Penguin that it’s edible, he gave it a try and liked it! I’ve been buying some fennel most weeks since then, and he’s still happy to eat a little bit of it now and then. I’m really happy about this because a) he’s a selective eater so any new foods are a win, and b) I love fennel & now I have an extra reason to buy it!
The picture on the right (above) shows Penguin walking away from the fennel, in the rain, and that was the wet end to our 30 Days Wild.
So, there you go. Not the most thrilling end perhaps, but I’m really glad we decided to join in with the 30 Days Wild this year! It gave us more of a purpose to focus on nature, while there was really little else available in the way of days out. And this June went down as a pretty good month in our books, much thanks to our little outdoor adventures. Of course, connecting with nature in these various ways is something that can be done at any time of the year, and I hope that some of the things we’ve been up to can be of inspiration to you, too. Thank you for reading!