Sunday, 16 September 2018

I'm back with alot to say and my wild camping in Wales

After a month and a bit of rest and enjoying the things I love now I am back to blogging as the nights are drawing in and the leaves are starting to fall. Last week I finished off my summer with a week of wild camping on Anglesey as on my short visit in June plus recent sighting of Orca, Snowy Owls and Risso's Dolphins have propelled me onto the stunning Island.
We ended up staying along the Menai Straits in a wild area for 4 nights we left the area tidy and you would not have known we had been there. One night we slept in our outdoor wet gear on top of a thick waterproof cover with our backpacks as pillows it was rather comfy and I wanted to do again but we had a few stormy nights so I had to get the tent out in the middle of the night to stop us getting wet. In these moments I truly feel myself and free. I'd probably feel happy as a well-off wild sleeper as I'm in my element and truly feel able to cope with changes in weather and the constant adapting.
Sunday morning arrival and just after we crossed the bridge the rain stopped
 After a night of 12 hours of rain and strong winds out came the sun and I was able to dry things out in the sun and get off any mud that was on our gear in the freshwater rock pools
Rock Pools at Almwich
First light on our walk to get breakfast loaded with our backpacks
My favorite sightings were seeing my first Avocet flying up the Menai straight after following the coastal path off through miles of fields. I also saw my first Welsh Red Squirrels along a woodland boardwalk on the way to catch the bus one of six back home after stopping for some fresh pies and cream cakes from my favorite bakery.

 I enjoyed it so much and still lots to explore and that's before I get a paddle board on the water. Holiday properties to rent are already on my to-do list.

More photographs next time as I have not had the chance to unpack my DSLR yet 

Regards

Mike

Sunday, 29 July 2018

A visit to Chester Zoo

A few weeks ago I ended up going to Chester Zoo for my brothers birthday and it was a rather nice day and as I have not been since I was in Junior school over numerous years ago so I thought it was about time for a visit. I have often thought about going but then I changed my mind thinking it would be overcrowded after the zoo has been gaining more attention from its worldwide shown TV programme on channel four and National Geographic. I need not have worried it was busy at Opening at 10am but got quieter at midday which was just perfect as we left to catch the bus home about 2pm. I was quite surprised to see people using 600mm lenses in the free-roaming bird areas not sure if I think that's right but who am I to judge. All we took was a 300mm Nikon D7000 which was just to document the day and photograph some of our favourites.
Comodo Dragon
We saw most of the animals if not for a quick view but hopefully, we will be returning soon as my brother bought an Annual pass which seems good value but as I am not a big fan of crowds I won't be going as often. I'll probably be spending my time in the wildlife garden area as it's free which is a big tick from me.
Here are a few of my favourite photographs that I or my brother took





Stay wild

Mike

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

A new product added to my camping gear

On the bus journey back home from Chester Zoo I decided to take a look at some new product releases to add to www.Gowildlifewatching.co.uk for next seasons or next years stock. I was happy to find out Slumit have released a new 1 man tent and as I new I had a camping weekend on the coast coming up it was guaranteed purchase for me. I already own 2 slumit cub tents as there quick to put up, large and very waterproof. One I have modified and the other is packed away ready for any unplanned outing camping by a local river.
Slumit cub 2
I received the Tent the next day which was great and a few days later I took camping and it was big enough for 2 people, smaller, lighter and even had a small storage area on the outer part of the tent.
An amazing tent with no moisture droplets on the inner tent material and after a cool night by the sea
I cannot wait to use once it rains as it has a really good water resistance plus in September if the weather is good then I'm planning a trip camping around Anglesey if not then we will be Air Bnbing around the area.


Sorry that theres not much wildlife content today but here's an image I'm working on with one of the cubs in the den entrance, I just wish the nettle had not been in the way but still I love the simplicity of the image.

Stay wild and protect Nature

Mike

Sunday, 22 July 2018

The canal with a hole in it? Good or Bad

At the beginning of spring on one of the branches of canals was closed due to over flowing from one of the many lock meaning no boats could get through from half of Cheshire without adding a weeks journey to there trvelling plans. This meant the rest of the canals would be very quiet and the amount of users would be down. The canal is not due to be reopened till the end of the year or even 2019!!
The positive is thanks to this chaos it has been the first time I've seen watervoles on my local patch thanks to the quieter canals and with all this hot weather the river and canal levels are really down.
 I've spent so much time in the river this year keeping cool and sunbathing on the sandbanks enjoying some really peace spots especially all the new rivers beds that are usually covered up by the flowing river dane have become my areas of peace and relaxation.
Even the Swan family headed to the river to eat the fresh river weed
Bull heads seemed to be lined up on the edge of the canal bank possibly breeding
Bullheads are river fish and only normally survive in clean and healthly enviroments so its a really good sign to see so many breeding individuals. Until today I never new there was any in the canal as I wonder how they got there as the river flows next to the canal but is on a lower level.
Even the Badgers are avoiding the drought and at most of my setts I have only seen one Badger but they seem to be enjoying the fruits on offers as there boudary poo pits are being filled already.
This one seems to be most active and he has a light brown back so is easily identifiable
With the upcoming disgusting Badger hitting Cheshire in more places this year I might be very busy in the Autumn and Winter period. All I can say is I've bought myself a megaphone so I can share my beautiful singing voice or my favourite music with any undesirables I may have the displeasure to meet. I don't work with any groups involved in the anti cull as they have there own way of doing things and I'm more of a leader than a follower when it comes to protecting Nature it's just my way and my rules.

Thanks for reading
Mike

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Relaxation up in the hills

After a long week at work with some over time thrown in I was ready to relax and enjoy some quiet countryside time. The sky was blue and the grass was chrispy almost as dry as the African savanah and with the cattle in the Cheshire hills even they found it too hot and lazed around to.
We found this area of trees with lots of bird boxes in a variety of sizes. There was a sign saying this is a release area for injured or young birds returning to the wild. The view opened up into a small valley surrounded by hills covered in farmland. In some of the fields we bumped into a Hare hiding behind a stone wall and we had our tea, toast and Bacon rolls is was nice to oberveit while eating breakfast.
Zoomed in view-the perfect place to become wild once more
The stunning view one of the Owl boxes gets
Even the Long horn cattle struggled with the heat
 I managed to get close to this Hare before it ran off into a small woodland
Lovely to find Hares on my local patch and up in the Hills of Cheshire

Looked good enough for a dip
While up there I found my perfect rest spot with a long flat stone with a small climb needed to get there which meant a perfect view with no easy access for your average rambler which meant peace guaranteed. On returning home I started prepairing my kayaking gear for the following day and as I keep my paddles in the shed I found a wasp nest had been built in the the roof.
There were not many wasps active so I gave it a little poke and a wasp stuck its head out. Im not going to remove as its only small and no one really goes in the shed except me so i will keep it as a back up security system to any would be robbers. If its get big enough and becomes an issue the wasp grubs will make a tasty treat for the Robins living in the Ivy next to the shed.

Stay cool and enjoy the summer or whatever time of year your reading this

Regards

Mike

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Feeling hot hot hot

A few weeks ago on my way back from paddle boarding I got informed by a lady the local swan family had got seperated. One cygnet on it's own on one side of the lock and the other 3 Cygnets and parenston the other so with all my gear I went in search of the youngster. I finally found the wanderer alone speeding off but luckily it got distracted by a boater with bread. 
I knocked on the window and asked one boater for a net and one to bring the cygnet round with food. 
I noticed that my paddleboard still had its camera turned on and the only picture I got was this
The food did not work so I tried good old grass and clover. I quickly netted the youngster and brought it to safety under my arm where it hid it's head. I set off carrying my quite heavy gear after thanking the boaters for there help I went to find the family. After a mile walk and strange looks from and explaining I was reuniting the cygnet with it's family. The cygnet scratched my arms to bits but it perked up when it saw the family so I threw down some oats releashed the yougster and the family were back together till today.
 
Today mum went on the river beside the canal and left the 4 cygnets alone for the morning up and down the canal. I knew they would be okay and so I searched for them and I found them hidden down the river feeding on the vitimin rich weed that is growing in nice clumps this year providing food for birds and cover for fish moving into deeper weather.
As action camera mounts for my paddle board go into 3 figures I decided on making one. 
A laptop table leg plus cctv mount and after melting with my soldering iron it made the perfect mount.
 With the weather so hot and the rivers being so low I'm spending many an afternoon waist deep to cool off whether sunbathing on my paddleboard or walking up river its so nice to see all the rivers so beautiful.
A new marina on the canal and possibly a place I may moor a boat
Thanks for reading

Mike

Monday, 25 June 2018

A new way to connect with Nature

While on my first weeks holiday in Wales I decided to plan ahead for my second week off and order a new piece of kit. As some of my readers may know I am an avid kayaker and love connecting with nature in various watery habitats so I have been debating about buying a standup paddleboard to use by the sea and on the river as I find my kayak does not allow me to easily move along the river.
I paid about £250 for the kayak but as it arrived late and I had trouble with the delivery driver I got £25 back from the seller. The board allows me to jump on and off the board when in shallow water or the river has a blockage this makes it easier to navigate these issues safely. 
 
With a kayak it was tough to do the above as I would often find it took a long time to get out especially in waist height water. My kayak would also get full of vegetation and bugs falling from the trees and when squeezing through small gaps. I received my paddleboard and found an area on the river with some sandy areas with shallow water, deep areas with fast and slow sections of the river to practice.
 After a couple of practice days setting up and packing away and learning the weaknesses and strengths of my board, I thought it was time to take on a section of river I have wanted to do for a while.
I ended up doing a section of river that flows under the M6 near Holmes chapel all the way down to a bridge a few miles downriver close to Middlewich. I ended up kneeling on the board as on some sections of river I had to lay flat to float under the low hanging willow. It took me a couple of hours as I had to navigate a few willow trees blocking the route as well as negotiating shallow sections of rivers. I also had a few fisherman to chat to and one did not even see me pass by as I was that stealthy I also took a phone call while paddling which was to say interesting trying to focus on direction and negotiating faster areas of water.
 It was a successful trip with a few wild encounters with Kingfishers and the health of the upper dane is stunning especially under the water as along the route I spotted some big fish which I think were 15lb barbel some in twos and most were not spooked as I floated by. Next time I know what gear I need and what I don't need it was interesting seeing so many peaceful spots covered by thick vegetation and when your a searcher of solitude like me sometime these spots are the only places I can relax with lots of wild areas closer to home being built on its certainly wonderful to find them.
 I'll be definitely taking an underwater camera of some sort to film under the water but I'll think it will be an early morning paddle next time to try and see if the Otters are out and about.

Thanks for reading and next time I'll post about a few weeks I've spent on the coast as I finally got a photograph of a lovely little creature in unexpected location while looking for Marine Mammals.

Regards

Mike