Despite be at my happiest outside, I have (and hate) to admit I’m a full on user of social media, I have daily access to 10 accounts altogether for personal use, work & volunteering.campaigning and like many people my main means of taking photos a phone. But today has been National Unplugging Day , a day of detoxing from tech, go gadget free & getting outside with friends & family without electronic distractions. Most of the Wildlife Trust’s social media was would be falling silent for the day.
So at 10.30 pm on Saturday evening my phone & laptop would both be turned off until 8pm Sunday. My only gadgets during the day would be a camera & a DAB radio. We left the house at 8.30, after breakfast & watching the birds on the feeders- 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, a Collared Dove, various tits & a few house Sparrows! We headed along the M27 towards Chichester, stopping for coffee & to view the Peregrines at the Cathedral.
Next we were off to West Wittering & the National Trust’s East Head, a great stretch of beach with fantastic sand dunes as well.
We collected Nurdles, these from us a square foot of sand in less than a few minutes.
We had a tasted of the exotic keeping a watchful eye during our afternoon tea stop at the cafe
So on reflection unplugging for the day felt great, I have to say I even slept better on Saturday night! Disconnecting digitally improved connection with family & my surroundings. During the our picnic I didn’t check in on Facebook or tweet a photo of the view, I didn’t curse at a work related email or read the latest headline. Instead we chatted & laughed, with the dunes behind us and the sea in front. Just beautiful.
Max has been learning about British artist Anthony Goldsworthy, who uses natural materials, including petals, pebbles, shells and bark. He has created works at locations including the Australian Outback, North Pole & across the US, as well as at a variety of places across the UK. More info about him can be found HERE
So inspired by Anthony Goldsworthy we attempted our own outdoor art……….
Like the vast majority of people I know, family, friends & folk I’ve connected with through social media I woke on Friday morning to grave news that Britain had voted to leave the European Union. A range of emotions span through my head, disbelief, angry, sadness & most of all fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of the implications the result would have on Max’s future & of course fear of the environmental impact. The EU is vital to protecting habitats & provides millions of pounds in funding each year, what does the future hold? The Wildlife Trust’s view in the run up to the referendum.
Like most people I was glued to the news & social media, the atmosphere of great change (negative in my view) hung heavy in the air.
The evening we switched of as we walked our local patch at Keyhaven, treated to the blissful sights of swifts, a marsh harrier & the sun setting.
At the start of June I vowed to explore new places, including reserves but also footpaths & areas that I’d passed countless times. Buckland Rings in Lymington is one such place, I’ve driven past this Iron Age Hill Fort Site thousands of times, Max was even born a few hundred yards up the road! We headed out in the rain with the forecast promising some evening sunshine.
All the grazing stock had been removed from the site, so the meadow was up to waist height. We had a walk along the perimeter of the field, taking a closer look at the hedgerow (realising how beautiful the humble nettle is) & gazing up at the Barrow trying to picture the fort that once stood aloft.
Once we got to the peak of the mount there was only one thing to do as the sun started to burn through the cloud. Roll down the hill! Max and then my turn! Needless to say we were both soaked to the skin.
Max confidently confirmed that this was his favourite 30DaysWild activity so far, we’ll definitely return in drier conditions and explore the neighboring barrow too.
I spent Tuesday morning further exploring my square of heath for the reptile survey, update all 12 (not 10 as I’d thought) refugia found along with 2 common lizards & 2 slow worms.
I also planned the evening’s activity with Max, I came up with challenging ourselves to take in five habitats in less than two hours! For this I had one place in mind, Hengistbury Head, just outside Christchurch, this place is very popular with many local people. I’ve volunteered there a few times in the past 5 years, carrying out habitat management tasks, running the Litter Free Coast & Sea stand at Dorset Wildlife Trust’s event last summer & also helped release some captive bred sand lizards there.
1st up Sand Dunes
As we briefly walked over looking the beach, we peered down to see an unmistakable bird on one of the groyens, a Raven, we then notice 2 more either side of the first!!
On with the challenge…
Number 2- reed beds/wetland.
Number 3-in to the woods for some tree climbing!
Quick stop at one of Hengistbury’s Natterjack ponds……..
Up onto the headland to explore the pockets of heath. number 4!!
As the mist started to come in off the sea, we caught fleeting glimpses of a peregrine hunting for sand martins along the cliffs.
Den building- surely a classic, must do, essential, standard activity for any child and therefore it has to be on the list for 30 Days Wild. Most importantly this was Max’s choice, so we headed to a small patch of woodland on our patch. Someone had left his fleece at home!