Monday, 7 December 2020

A tale of Ice and Fire....

I've really not felt like sharing much of my nature experiences with life being so tough this past 10 months as I have had to really go back to my roots and just enjoy the moments of simplicity without feeling the need to see new things but really appreciate the things I normally take for granted.

The wildest thing I have experienced this year was at the beggining of December on my birthday where we headed up to the Peaks as we had heard there was snow and we were not disapointed. Just as we arrived at the bus station to get the bus into the middle of the peaks it was doubtful we would get there.

It was amazing being in a snow storm watching the Red Grouse search for food calling to each other gathering in groups. It felt like we were in the middle of an Alaskan white out with snow up to our waists and I was disapointed as we dropped down to where the snow had melted on the ground.

On the next day after the snow I ended up going kayaking at 4am in the morning  in the dark on the river to have a campfire on one of the sandbanks and soak up the silence in the middle of no where.
I think I'll hold off any plans for 2021 as we don't what or when things will be happening...

 Regards

Mike

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Something for lockdown a little experiment...NOCMIG??

 While searching my social media for local sightings I came upon a new word in the birding and Nature field the word in question is Nocmig while before I go into this word I'll explain a what another word means. The first word is Vismig which is short for visible migration which refers to bird migration you can see where flocks or individual birds can be seen flying through the day on a journey coming from or going to a location from where they live usually we gets lots of migrants from Europe or even further. VISMIG is best oberved on the coast for rarer signtsings after they fly over the sea birds like to rest on headlands and beaches beforee moving off on there journeys. So thats vismig now NOCMIG which is the nocturnal migration of birds but you cant see the birds with the naked eye so the best way to findout what birds fly over during migration is to record at night there calls and I've posted a link to how it works below as they explain it better than me and I have not done this myself yet but it looks interesting as I live in a good spot in the centre of the country where the shortest journey is from the Irish sea across the country to europe or visa versa, the best thing is we have a flate root blocked from one side of a main road facing into an open sky the other side meaning any bird calls over the roof get projected down and should record clearly on my device well once I get one.

 Beginners guide

https://www.bto.org/community/blog/nocmig-beginners-guide

Dedicated recording website to help diferensiate bird calls

https://nocmig.com

Thanks for reading

Mike

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Summer days are shortening....

It's been a while since my last post and with the government brain reprograming I knew things needed to get better soon. As in the photograph below the clouds parted and the sun shone well in terms of annoucments towards Wales unlocking and holidays allowed once more so I booked a cottage in Wales and waited anxiously for the unlocking of my second home so I could return to visit a few of my most loved places.
On one of my walks on the hotter days at the end of June I sheltered in a woodland glade and ended up getting the best encounter with a hunting grass snake as it slithered through the leafy woodland floor.
Tasting the air
Rising up over a fallen branch which really made the snake hiss
I also put my new Google wifi camera to work although my new mammals gate got a few visitors the the Foxy guests I am trying to attract never showed up.

It may only be July but I see and feel the changes of the summer fading and things becoming scraggy and the cooler nights and mornings bringing wet grass and browner leaves at ground level.

-In my next blog The first holiday after lock down with some surprising encounters-

Thanks for reading Mike

Sunday, 7 June 2020

A new normal for Nature

So as lockdown ended I returned to my favorite passion on the river on my journey with my kayak on my back I found mess and disturbance in wild places where people normally never tread from campfires with rubbish to new biking paths ripped through bluebell forests. 
As the lockdown madness ends hopefully people will leave my local wild places and return to places further afield. The river was quite busy with old and young swimming and sunbathing in the river and on the banks so the nesting water birds are being very secretive.  I always have a rest on the end of my kayaking trip and park up on a sandbank to soak up some sun have a rest and see what birdlife shows up. I've been watching a pair of Little-ringed plovers hopefully breeding and nesting on the low sandbank but with disturnbance to be high on the sunny days and on the wet day's risk of flooding I don't see much but we shall see and I will update in the future.
 Hanky panky on the sand bank
 I had a few wild swims in the river on the hotter days on my walks home from work made the pressures of working in retail melt away in the clear flowing rivers where Mayflies and Dragons dance on the surface and the fish swim below the surface waiting for an easy meal.
 One place that has been keeping me sane is the peak district and we heard and saw a our first Cheshire Cuckoo of the year in a quiet valley away from all the people enjoying being released from there homes and local patches. I never want to leave the secluded valley on the sunny days as the mossy ledges make the perfect sunbathing spots and with water flowing close by its easy enough to cool off after a long walk or a quick nap.
 Next time: Sorrow once more and my need for the sea....

 With regards

Mike

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Death and new life

It has been a tough few months of happiness, sadness, and stress but one thing that remains constant is the Nature that's in my garden and my hidden local spots where I won't see a soul. Just before the Lockdown with the virus I and my family found out that my father had terminal cancer and only had a few months to live. I knew one day this time would come and 4 weeks ago he started to show quickly go downhill and the last 2 weeks of caring for him were so precious for me, my brother, and my mother. I told him so many times in those 2 weeks how much I loved him and that he was the greatest dad/man I have known. I would not have been able to get through this without nature and my daily dose of the renewal of life as my father was losing his. Once he got so weak we felt like there was no more we could do and his pain was getting to hard manage so we luckily got him into st Lukes which was a beautiful place. The last moments before going are of holding his hand saying goodbye and I loved him so much. I remember seeing him smiling as he went off with my younger brother in the back of a patient transfer bus staring at us and the house he raised his family and spent 40 years working and being happily married brings a tear to my eye and a smile to face.

My brother told me a lovely thing that before my brother left him at St Luke's he grabbed his hand and said "Thank you for everything" which made me cry and smile at the same time even now it gets me and will for many years to come. A few days later after being visited by my mum and sister each day then on Easter Monday as the sunset on a beautiful warm summer day, we got the call we were waiting for that my father had passed away. When I found out he was dying of cancer  I wanted him to go on a sunny blue sky day it was one of the saddest days of my life but I was happy as I knew he was free from pain and since that day when I am out in the woods or walking country path, I think of him and see him in the beauty of nature around me. I'll try to post more soon but it will take time for me to get back to the energy I once had...
Thank you

Mike

Sunday, 5 January 2020

END OF 2019 AND BEGINNING OF WILD2020

I'm a bit late with my usual end of year blog but with the disconnection between myself and social media of late. This is the third attempt at writing this blog post as I have started planning my 2020 wild camping and places to visit plans but then again being on foot without a car can throw abit of chaos in as the weather quickly changes in the Uk.
 This year I will be crossing the bridges when I come to them and I'm sure there will be many to cross
Regards

Mike

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Cottage with a wood burner and Marine watch

At the beginning of November, I had a last-minute trip for 2019 to spend some time back on Anglesey as this year I have really fallen in love with the island and next year I hope to explore more of Wales as well as revisit Anglesey as the wild camping this year gave some beautiful moments in Nature. Rather than wild camp, we decided to book 2 Airbnbs one at Amlwch for 3 nights and one at Newborough for 2 nights. At our Almwch cottage which was located right next to the coastal path and one of my possible living locations with some amazing views and close to some really good marine mammal spotting locations at high tide the creatures are pushed a few meters from viewing areas thanks to the deep water. We were up before the sun rose to get as much light watching the sea especially as the wind was fresh and the days are shorter.
 The paths were quite muddy but as always with these trips, I prepare for everything and thanks to our new walking boots our feet were well protected. While laying against a rock and watching the sea the seals caught fish and kept us entertained for many hours.
Seals and Porpoises were great things to see but the one time a mother and calve popped up my lens blurred and I just missed my best shot of a Porpoise.
On our second part of the holiday, we decided to get the bus from Amlwch to Menai bridge for a cup of tea I made before leaving the cottage for the last time and some chocolate digestives we sat by the straits near the Britannia bridge and watched the sunrise higher in the sky let the 9am rush pass by before getting our next bus to Llangefni where we bought some.  breakfast and supplies for the day.
We ended up walking from Llangefni to Maltraeth to Newborough via one of the Red Squirrel forest areas, one thing I had not noticed before was a rope over the road from the larger Newborough forest to the smaller area of forest opposite allowing squirrels and maybe pine martens a safe route across avoiding the road.
View of the hills/mountains of North Wales
On our only full day at Newborough we headed through the forest along the sun-soaked yet empty beach to the Island and I ended up getting impatient waiting for the tide to go out I walked through the shallow water soaking my shoes through but it proved to be worth it. We walked to the further point with the highest unused lighthouse and less than a half a mile away we spotted a large pod of Dolphins I was hoping Rissos but they ended up being Bottlenoses and the closest I have seen through my camera for a while. One had a very unique cut in its fin but seemed very straight and long unlike the other members of the pod but as you can see below they were very active.

A great week and the last week away till April 2020 as I have got lots of things to do over the winter.
A lovely Autumn kayak was a lovely first trip out once I returned home this year I hope to kayak in the snow which would be amazing on this river.
Enjoy the beginning of Winter and hopefully plenty of frost and snow to come....

Regards

Mike