The weather has been typical of a Cornish summer over the past five days… The sun has made intermittent appearances, but mostly there’s been yet more rain with some days not feeling much like summer at all. It can sometimes be hard to drag myself out of the house on the days when the birds don’t seem to want to leave the comforts of their nest.
30 DAYS WILD – DAYS 16 TO 20
Day 16 » Glimmering Demoiselles
The day began with rescuing the first slow worm I’ve seen in years from the middle of the road, safely relocating her to my garden away from harm. Despite their name, I’ve never found them to be particularly slow and her eagerness to retreat to the undergrowth meant she was gone before I had a chance to even think about getting a photo. It’s not just the first part of their name that makes no sense though, as these beautiful creatures are actually legless lizards and not worms at all.
On the way to an appointment with my doctor – never a great way to start a day – I spotted a stunning painted lady butterfly exploring the flowers in the park. I absolutely hate visiting the doctor, having spent far too much of my life battling various health problems, so I decided to get out and explore somewhere new afterwards, though I had no idea just how magical it would end up being.
My mum had mentioned that she could show somewhere she hadn’t been in years, but neglected to tell me just how enchanted with it I would be. We walked past many houses I would one day love to own, each with their own bridge across Gover stream, a small river which flows into what is historically known as the White River as a result of the china clay waste water that once ran through it.
Going deeper into the valley we found a small clearing perfect for our picnic. Whilst stopping off for some food and a caffeine top-up I got the chance to photograph my first longhorn beetle, a black-clouded one I’m told. I just love those comically long antennae, they make for a great shot!
After eating we moved slightly further up stream to a clearing where the shallow water was attracting lots of dancing dragonflies and damselflies… I was in heaven! I stuck around for quite a while, taking photographs, enjoying the weather, and watching the wildlife. I’ve never had much luck photographing the damselflies before, they’re small and fast, so it was good practice. Not only that, it was an exercise in a level of patience that I’m still learning to have, as so much of wildlife photography is.
As evening arrived and the flask of coffee ran out we walked back home, spotting a squirrel and finding a hatched egg – likely to be from a pigeon or a dove I’m told – along the way.
Day 17 » Wildlife Webcams
Unfortunately I didn’t manage to do much in the way of wild, though I did keep watch of a few wildlife webcams throughout the day whilst I worked. If you’re interested then The Wildlife Trusts have some great ones here, and the Plymouth Underwater Teaching Observatory (PLUTO) has a brilliant underwater one in Plymouth Sound which sometimes has fish come right up to it that you can find here. They’re a great way to add a little bit of wild to your day when you can’t make it out!
I had planned to go out and look at the stars in the evening, but an unexpected visit from an old friend meant that didn’t quite happen. I did catch a glimpse of the moon looking pretty gorgeous though!
Day 18 » Dusk Over The Bay
Looking like it could be a nice sunset (oh how wrong I was) I decided to head up high for an evening walk. In the direction of the sun there was nothing but grey skies, but I enjoyed watching the clouds over Saint Austell bay turn all kinds of pretty pastel colours as the storm rolled in. I also took the chance to do some location scouting for good viewpoints when the sunset is more cooperative thanks to a fantastic app called The Photographer’s Ephemeris. If you’re a photographer and haven’t discovered it yet I highly recommend checking it out. It’s fantastic for planning shoots in accordance with natural light.
In one of the fields I walked past I came across the cutest calves, which kinda made up for the lack of show in the skies. Also spotted a couple more blood spewers (read my previous post if you’re confused!) along the way. I love them!
Day 19 » Rain, Rain, Go Away…
The highly uninspiring weather meant that, with the exception of the odd dive out into the garden, I didn’t really embrace the outside world as much as I could of. I took enjoyment in watching the fluffed up pigeons and felt thankful I didn’t have to venture outside with them. I think birds look so cute when they puff their feathers up in the rain, it almost makes up for the gloom… Almost.
Day 20 » Summer Solstice
Wait… Summer? Really?! Apparently so, despite what the weather would have you believe! I headed up to see some friends for food and drinks so decided to use the train journey to tally how much wildlife I could spot from the window, which turned out to be quite a lot. The highlights were a couple of buzzards and two fields absolutely full of really cute rabbits, though there was also a lot of crows (I lost count of just how many), blackbirds, starlings, magpies, sparrows, etc. and even a couple of ducks.
Over the past five days I’ve also been gathering things together for a sort of field work kit. Just things I’m likely to want or need when I’m out and about with my camera, and a little nature journal/sketchbook so I can record more of what I see as inevitably I don’t manage to capture everything with my camera.
Although I didn’t make it on as many long walks as previous posts, I feel like I actually saw more wildlife this week which just goes to show that you don’t have to go far in order to add a little bit of wild into your life!