Sunday, 15 September 2019

Marine life and time to move!!!

Well its been a month or two since last posting but there has been a good reason for it as I have been searching for my perfect home closer to the coast. I've started my search near wild coastal locations for doer uppers or something that needs a little bit of work. From the edge of Anglesey to the edge of Wales/Cheshire. Ive been working extra hours and prepping things for the day when I do finally make the move so when I find my dream place I can keep my orignal job and get things going for my future move.
While on Anglesey Wild camping last week we had some amazing locations to sleep at plus our wild camping kit/clothing is so refined now its quite a pleasant expirience sometimes I wish I could do it for a few months at a time.
Newborough at 6.30am on a late summers morning

I did some research on when the Rissos Dolphins show up in the area and previous years its been late August to end of September and we just missed them after sleeping one night off the coastal path with the previous afternoon and next morning we got some lovely encounters which you can see below including Porpoises with calfs, Seals and the odd Gannet.
 
Mother and calf
Seals coming close to the rocks where we waited for the marine life to breach

We did 5 nights camping 2 at one place, 2 at another and one at a new site but I won't reveal any of there locations as it took me a long time to find these spots where we can camp without being disturbed or disturbing anyone else so proper stealth camping.
Leave footprints take memories
When I got back from my trip I went up to Shining tor in the Peak District it has wonderful views and I felt so far from home even though it was about 2 hours walk from the bus station where I caught the bus to Macclesfield. I hope to do more Tors(Large hills) in the area over the Winter months. I saw my first Wheatear in the area and heard from somewhere there are Choughs ringed on Anglesey have been in the Peak district area of Derbyshire so that would have been a alovely thing to hear.
Thanks for visiting and enjoy the start of Autumn

Regards

Mike

Sunday, 14 July 2019

The summer is over well my holidays are for now-July Holiday 5 nights/days wild

Well, I thought this time would not come so fast but as I have just had my last and fourth week of this year's Spring/Summer Wild camping holiday season. Our wild camping trip began with our heavy looking bags on our bus trip which began with rain and a bus diversion. We started on Saturday at Cowny with a walk to see if there were any Oystercatchers nesting on the cliffs but no luck so had some sunbathing while waiting for night to come so we could go to our secret wild camping location.
As soon as I walk over the bridge I forget everything and start to become to the person I have to bury away in normal working life as I feel so free and stress-free knowing I'm in the elements getting stronger and healthier as I adapt to being outdoors. My DD tarp kept the rain and wind off and plus made us more stealthy and hidden plus my mesh tent and golf umbrella kept the bugs away although when packing up each morning and leaving no trace I'd find a few earwigs trying to hitch a ride in my bag.
We set off early the next morning after the best nights sleep I have had wild anyway. We set off to our next location to visit which was Newborough as the sun was blazing and our journey was long.We ended up getting to our next rest location on the straits and at about 7am I made a cup of tea on my spirit stove. While waiting the tide went out to reveal some wonderful things nearby there was a large rocky area and under every rock, there was so much to see elvers (Young eel) and fish were left in small pools alongside there Crabby friends.
Large sandbanks prompted me to go explore them but while paddling through we found lots of Sand eels shoals which brought in the Terns to feed probably with young at a place I have wanted to visit for a while. 
We spotted lots of small Lobsters and shrimps combing the sandy floor for food. The special thing we found was Hermit crabs probably heading into battle for a new home and some really had the odds against them so what we thought we would do is collect any Hermit crab shells pushed away by the higher tides out of the crabs reach and return them back to the strait where the crabs will use them. I think we found about 14 shells in good condition with no holes or damage to them. We left to get breakfast and head to the forest for some shade then relaxation on the dunes at Newborough so we had plenty of sunbathing where we saw three hooded crows but as the beach was packed with sun lovers I thought best to leave and hopefully may see later in the week which we did near Amlwch.
 The sunset was gorgeous and I fell asleep just after and we woke up too late to catch a bus so we slept on the edge of the forest ready to get up early the next day but we slept in and had breakfast at Anglesey model village - http://www.angleseymodelvillage.co.uk/ which was very tasty and close to the forest plus the service was wonderful. Earlier in the week on our first day, I spotted a Kingfisher along the straits and a blonde tailed Red Squirrel and after 5 minutes of being up, it was quite wonderful and reminded me why I love Wild camping in a respectful way. I also spotted a pair of Common Sandpipers and as I have a new Tamron lens which I prefer compared to the more expensive lenses. One flew away but one remained to leave me with a quick chance while hidden behind a wooden post down on the side of the straits. I loved the green vegetation in the background as was a nice photograph to start the week.

After leaving Newborough we returned to our original camping area with plans to go to Amlwch and walk from there to go caemes bay then onto Cemlyn bay to photograph the Terns there. There were plenty of Artic and Sandwich Terns feeding their chicks speedingly flying back and forth with food ranging from small fish to insects. We only had a couple of hours there so we stayed on the ridge and never went past the stone building which we found out had Little Owls in residence but at least we know for later in the year or next summer.
 Beautiful colors as the adults landed on the hill to preen
Calling for food as the chick sees its parents coming in
Not sure what its brought in?
Wings like Angels
Preening on the beach and a well earned rest
Returning to fishing
Laying low as Black-backed headed gulls patrolled the edges of the colony
Returning with food
Adult and chick resting together
It was lovely arriving and seeing the adult's meters away landing on the posts of the colonies boundary fence.
There is a small Fulmar colony near Almwch and its one of the best places I have ever seen with some quality views of the noisy pairs nesting but I did not see any eggs or chicks but I'm sure they will be there sometime soon.
 After leaving the Terns and having a rest on our walk back to Cemelyn bay and going onto the coastal path towards Almwch we decided to sleep just off the coastal path as the weather given was a clear night. We refreshed in some sea pools refresh by the tide before heading onto some stunning beaches and cliffs. We stopped with a view of Middlemouse an unpopulated rock covered in nesting birds Razorbills, Guillemots and recently this year a small colony of Gannets were reported by some kayaker but I have no seen any photographs hopefully I wish to rent a boat to take us past there to get some cool views of a brand new colony on this stretch of coastline.
We slept well again and even heard calls of Manx shearwaters under the moonlit sky we which was a nice to hear when my sleep was disturbed sliding down the hills in the night. The next day we decided to do some sea watching and get some rest and nourishment while the high tide came in and brought in some Porpoises and Gannets 50m offshore.
Over the whole week from Saturday Lunchtime to Thursday evening, we walked about miles and I even had the energy to do 20 miles around the peak district the following day to the Three Shires head where I found a few pairs of Dippers and saw a female Redstart plus some beautiful views.
I have some local projects including exploring nonnavigational rivers in my kayak and camera trapping some locations. Hopefully, some weekend trips away to enjoy the last couple of months of summer before the cooler evenings commence.
Thanks for visiting and enjoy the rest of summer

Regards

Mike

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

A book in review-Bird Cottage by Eva Meijer

A different type of blog today as I was recently sent a book to read and as its Nature related I was quite happy to read and write a review. I am often sat waiting for Nature to appear or just soaking up all the noise, smells and feeling I get from nature and the habitat around me. The book Bird cottage by Eva Meijer the book follows Gwen Howard and at the age of 44 years, she decided to leave her London life and loves behind, retire to the English countryside and devote the rest of her days to her one true passion: birds. Moving to a small cottage in Sussex, she wrote two bestselling books, astonishing the world with her observations on the tits, robins, sparrows and other birds that lived nearby, flew freely in and out of her windows, and would even perch on her shoulder as she typed. This moving novel imagines the story of this remarkable woman's decision to defy society's expectations, and the joy she drew from her extraordinary relationship with the natural world.
 I often read the book while sat on a local style under an Oak tree where there is a bird box in which a pair of Great tits are raising there second brood so it seems natural to finish reading it there.
I am nearly finished reading the book and with all the birds fluttering around me while a read I am really enjoying the bird based observations mixing with the fictional story of a wonderful lady who loved birds above most things and on that point I was hooked as I understood her passion and understand the importance of one birdlife above the need of a neatly trimmed hedgerow.
 The book is a very unique read and stands out in the bird book fiction field as a really wonderful tale of love for birds, so if you have an interest and passion for birds then its perfect for reading while watching the birds in your garden or waiting for the birds to show from a hide.
 Thank for reading this post, stay wild and read the wonderful book Bird Cottage by Eva Meijer

Regards Mike

Sunday, 16 June 2019

A month well 2 weeks of Summer nature 1 of 2

With a busy month gone by and Summer in full flow albeit a bit wet but that does not put a dampener on things as Ive been out and about enjoying Nature as usual. I spent one week wild camping and week in a cottage on the coast of North Wales and on the island of Anglesey. I discovered a few new places a visited a few that I visted of the winter as the greenery really looked stunning with all the beautiful wild flowers in colours of the rainbow. I will post of few that stood out to me as I will use this blog post next year when planning my summer trip. We found a lovely new Fulmer nesting cliff where you can get quite close without disturbing and away from the crowds.
Along the coastal cliffs we ran into a Raven family with a brood of five fledgeling young learning navigate the winds and cliff edges. As well as the Ravens a family of Peregrines were hid in a rocky outcrop as you could hear the young getting excited when the parents brought in pray.
I was hoping to revisit South stack but decided to visit a Nature reserve on Holyhead that has a secret beach and we also found Red Squirrels nearby at 2 feeding stations. I love watching them stick there heads out from the feeders checking if we had come any closer.
These Gulls had made use of the cliffs where the fulmars nested and the 2 babies looked very safe.
Porth wen was a place to revisit as the difficulty getting to it and open sea below with access to a secludded bay make this a real gem on the coast of Anglesey. The old brick works looks like a set piece from Harry Potter. A pair of Robins must have nested there as there were young on the beach and the parents kept coming to us and collecting any crumbs we dropped on the floor.
Perched on some of the old metal work it waited for a crumb
Before the tide came in I wanted to see what was in the rock pools from the last tide and what was coming into the pools with the rising tides. I took my snorkeling mask in my already overloaded bag but was worth it as I ended up swimming through a shoal of Sand eels and these small fish make this area so poplar with the Terns in the area. I'll visit these colonies when I am on holiday in July. There was also some stripey fish that came in with the tide as well as a few other creatures like crabs and shrimp.
Inbetween our two sepertae breaks we visted Burton mere RSPB reserve which costs £5 to visit if your not a member as there are some wonderful birds making themselves a home there including Bearded Tits which we did not see but our main bird was the spoonbill and as we arrived walking a cycle route from Chester in heavy rainfall abd high tempreturs it was nice to arrive and get comfy and as we arrived at the hide a Spoon bill landed rested, preened then got a moody with the local birds. After an hour on the lake the bird took off with a stick/reed for one of the nests that they have begun to build in nearby trees where Egrets have a colonie.
I also saw Bar tailed Gotwits and Avocets which I have only seen passing views of in the past
 I'll post more of the last 2 weeks in my next blog as I have run out of time plus I have just heard a cuckoo in some nearby trees as I write this on my Ipad.

Stay wild

Mike

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Paddle boarding takes an usual Tern

Summer is nearly here for me well my summer weeks off are just around the courner but at my paid job my hours have been slightly reversed for a couple of weeks from mornings to nights. This change of working hours has enabled me to get out more in the mornings.
One morning I decided to headed to the river and I love to kayak/Paddleboard depending on my energy levels and what the rivers condition is dictates the craft I use. On this day I used my paddle board with no chair to save on carrying to much weight basically the set up above without chair.
On my way down river I spotted many Grebe nests and on branches next to them were Black backed gulls waiting for there chance to feast on the eggs which looked like it had happened as there were a few failed nests including a few flooded out. As I approached the bank where I pack up I heard that sea side sound I only normally hear on the coast in the summer and only noticed when I was right next to them, I jus wish I had my DSLR to photograph them well maybe sometime soon.
Common Terns pair on the river weaver
After doing a test night shift I finished at 6.30am and after 10 hours work I decided not to waste my day sleeping and headed off up into the Macclesfield hills to get some fresh air.
I love warm misty mornings and the new growth coming up by the canal
On my bank holiday walk to work I found a culvert by the canal where I could rest as its about 5 miles from home and on this day I found some Otter spraint which I've not found there before.
A few photographs from my brother at Ryan Mottrams wildlife as he has had a few encounters himself one being one of his friend has a swan nest in there garden every year and the owner has a bench nearby to there nest so mybrothergot some wonderful photographs of them hatching.
One of my favourites
Wild in his friends garden he alsospotted this escapee an Australian ringneck feeding in his seed feeding table. Not a clue where its come from maybe Chester Zoo and my brother is currently looking for the owners.
Stay wild and enjoy as it's the best time of the year for British Wildlife

Mike