This June I was blogging every day or so for the Wildlife Trusts' 30 Days Wild campaign, and June 12th marked the start of my 12 week long summer holiday this year. Over the months of June and July I saw 113 bird species, with 4 lifers and 1 British tick. My lifers were Stone Curlew at Weeting Heath, Lesser Whitethroat at Attenborough Nature Reserve, Montagu's Harrier at RSPB Blacktoft Sands and Red-footed Falcon in Stoke, with my British tick being Black-necked Grebe. I also got 15 year ticks, including Black Redstart, Green Sandpiper, Greenshank, Spotted Flycatcher and Tree Pipit, bringing my year list to 147.
At the start of July I had my Duke of Edinburgh Silver qualifying expedition, which was 3 days walking and 2 nights camping in the glorious Peak District, for which we were fairly lucky with the weather. I saw 30 bird species, with the highlights being Curlew, Red Grouse, Snipe, Sparrowhawk, Wheatear and I year-ticked Redstart. At the first campsite we were next to a charming little stream, and as the light faded a handful of bats started foraging right above our tents, coming within a couple of metres of us! In the morning I was woken by the song of a Blackcap just next to my tent, and my first Hummingbird Hawkmoth hovered by some flowers for all of a few seconds. At the second campsite there was a Swallow nest on one of the buildings, and young Pied Wagtails being fed very close to us. At this campsite we had a lovely view over Ladybower Reservoir, there were quite a few bees around and this Small Tortoiseshell butterfly was flying about. On our last day we encountered this tiny Bank Vole that sat in a field completely still for ages (it was alive though), we all had a quick look before letting it stop playing dead and carry on with its day!
In July I started a project with a former teacher to remove the litter from the River Leen in Nottingham and I was asked to photograph the extent of the litter and the wildlife, both of which there was a lot. We went out on the 23rd July to the river, and pulled out enough litter to fill over 2 shopping trolleys, and 2 shopping trolleys, in just a couple of hours. The amount of litter was truly disgusting, but it was highly rewarding to make such a difference in a short space of time. The wildlife on the river was amazing too, with lots of Banded Demoiselle damselflies and 12 species of butterfly.
There was a Grey Wagtail about too, however what was more amazing was that I found a Dipper, a very rare bird in Nottinghamshire, it was the first in the county for 3 years! The bird was found again on the same stretch of the Leen in Bulwell a couple of weeks later, and many Nottinghamshire life and year listers have been able to tick it. This juvenile bird has been found to be very confiding too, providing very close views for a few days - I didn't think I'd find a rare county bird that people are twitching!
We will have a blog up and running soon about the project, so please have a look at that when we've posted our first blog!
I'm Sorrel, a young birder and wildlife artist based in the East Midlands - this is my blog all about my birding and wildlife adventures.