Every year in June the Wildlife Trusts run a challenge called 30 Days Wild. I’ve taken part for the past three years and have loved every minute. It challenges people to get out into nature every day to enjoy a random act of wildness. This could be anything from going on a minibeast hunt or watching a bee, to working on a piece of art or poetry, or paddling in a stream. If for some reason you can’t get out of the house then you could watch a webcam set on a bird’s nest, or simply sign a petition aimed at helping our natural world.
Nowadays, I could probably easily do a 365 days wild challenge. I try to get out into nature every day and ‘random acts of wildness’ are my norm. I’m quite tempted to continue on in to July and beyond, but we’ll have to see about that.
Anyway, we’re now on day 4 of this year’s 30 Days Wild. Here are my first four random acts of wildness:
Day 1: watch the bees
The Birdsfoot trefoil in the meadow is the best place for watching the bees at the moment. So, for day 1 if 30 Days Wild I spent quite a while sitting on the meadow path. There were probably about six bees buzzing around the one patch of flowers. I never can resist photographing the bees.
Day 2: draw a meadow picture
A sunny meadow path, plants and bees and butterflies and insects galore, a sketch pad and a tin of pencil crayons, and several hours of day two of 30 Days Wild was happily whiled away. Everything that I drew in the picture was something that I could see / saw.
Day 3 – a walk in the rain
The lack of rain over the past month has left the ground and the plants in desperate need of water. There are big patches of the meadow that are usually full of lush growth, but this year they’re parched and withered. When the rain finally started to fall yesterday, I just had to get out into it. I love the sight of rain droplets on leaves and flowers.
Day 4 – watch the damselflies
There’s a place on the banks of the pond that’s just perfect for watching the damselflies. There were lots of them darting back and forth, catching and eating midges, and mating. They were fascinating to watch.
As far as I can tell, these were a mix of two relatively common species – the Large red damselfly and the Azure damselfly, though there might have also been some Common blues about as well. My pictures aren’t all clear enough to tell. In addition to watching the damselflies, for day 4 of 30 Days Wild I also learned how to tell these two blue species apart. You do this by looking at the 2nd segment of the male’s abdomen, just behind the thorax. An Azure damselfly has a black U shape. A Common blue has a pattern that resembles a mushroom.
As an added day 4 bonus, after watching the damselflies for a while I then walked out into the meadow where a dragonfly landed on a plant right in front of me. This is only the third dragonfly I’ve seen this year and the first that’s remained in one place long enough for me to photograph it. As far as I can tell, it was a female Common darter.
Day 5 – pick some flowers
Today I ventured out to the meadow again, and was lucky enough to catch a brief sunny spell in between the rain showers. It didn’t last long, but it was long enough for me to wander along the paths and pick some ox-eye daisies.
If you fancy picking a few wildflowers, there are a few things that it’s best to keep in mind. Cultivated flowers in a park or garden are illegal to pick. Wildflowers can be picked as long as they’re not on the schedule 8 list of protected plants, but take care not to take too many. The general rule is to take only one in every twenty flowers. In other words, only take some if there are lots and make sure that you leave plenty behind for the bees and butterflies. And if in doubt, leave them where they are.
It’s not too late to join in if you fancy spending the rest of the month connecting with nature. There’s still a whole 25 days to go.