Corvids and Cordial
Having so much fun with the 30 Days Wild challenge, I’m totally blown away with how much I’ve seen and learnt over the past 10 days!
30 DAYS WILD – DAYS 6 TO 10
Day 6 » Video Organisation
Uninspired by the monotone grey weather I spent the day hidden indoors (oops!) getting my wild fix by sorting through video clips I’ve shot for Westcountry Wildling – which is so much longer than sorting through photographs I’m discovering – and researching new places to visit in my local area. I may not have made it outside, but the day was still very nature orientated and I made plenty of plans for things I’d like to do throughout the rest of June and beyond.
Day 7 » Aphid Family Portraits
Yes, really! I decided to experiment with some slightly different photographs today. After coming across these aphids all lined up in a row I couldn’t resist grabbing some white card and my macro lens and giving them the family portrait white studio background treatment. The late afternoon lighting was perfect for what is possibly the most ridiculous shot I’ve ever decided to take. I’m sure the neighbours must all think I’m completely mad when they see me out in the garden with my camera.
Day 8 » World Oceans Day
In celebration of World Ocean’s Day I decided to pack up some food, grab the dog, and head to the coast with my mum. Luckily for sea-loving Cancerian me that’s little more than a 20 minute walk, and that’s factoring in Bruce stopping to smell all the messages (by which I mean urine) left by the other neighbourhood dogs. Can’t deprive a staffie of his scents!
We wandered down to Charlestown harbour and up onto the coast path, stopping for a coffee and some snacks on a cliff top bench where we also came upon a rather accidental discovery in a log. We’d been having a look to see if there was any interesting beetles to photograph, but we got a little more than we bargained for when we discovered an ants nest. Watching the hive mind at work to protect the eggs was both fascinating and the stuff nightmares are made of. I love insects, but ants on mass sure made my skin crawl! If you’re interested you can watch a video here.
After getting some video I covered them back up and we headed over the cliff to Duporth bay where we spent the rest of the evening beach combing and watching Phoenix, the tall ship often anchored in Charlestown harbor, return to the bay as the sky changed colour. We might not get the flashy sunsets on this coast, but I personally love the often overlooked subtlety of the pastel shades and dusky pinks we’re more prone to on this side of the county.
Whilst digging Bruce discovered a sea slater, a rather cute little fella that helps keep our beaches clean by feeding on dead fish and seaweed that washes up to shore. I wasn’t sure what it was at first, but I’ve done some research and found that they’re closely related to the terrestrial woodlouse and live up to three years, generally only breeding once. I’m in love with their long antennae.
It was nice to watch the seagulls doing something other than dig through rubbish left around by humans for a change. I tend to think of them as a pest, being woken up by them far too often, and never normally pay them much attention. It turns out they’re actually a pretty interesting bird though. I recently discovered that unlike most animals they can drink both fresh water and sea water due to a special pair of glands designed to flush out the salt from their system.
On the walk back home I even caught a glimpse of an owl silhouette landing on a post across the road from us, the perfect ending to a lovely evening on the beach.
Day 9 » Collecting Elder Flowers
As it was a warm sunny day, the best kind for collecting elderflower, I went back to the place I discovered lots on day 5. Making sure to only take what I need, and leaving plenty for berries later in the year, I gathered enough to make the River Cottage cordial recipe. Walking back through the woods I made time to stop and watch the magpies, one of my favourite birds.
Day 10 » Corvids and Cordial
After soaking the elder flowers overnight it was time to make cordial! I’m pretty amazed at how easy it was, though I’m a little worried the bottles might explode as I’ve heard stories of that happening haha. The process itself was really simple and the result tastes amazing. I can’t believe I’ve never done it before, I feel like this could become a new yearly tradition. Even made some elderflower ice cubes perfect for summer gin and tonic. 😉
In the evening, prompted to move by lots of noise coming from outside, I headed into the garden to find crows and magpies battling it out with the seagulls in the sky above. I’m unsure who started it, but I for one am team corvid!
The weather has taken a decidedly gloomy turn the past couple of days so I’ll be spending my evening watching documentaries and trying to think up some good rainy day wild activities just in case it continues. I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments!