Monday, 20 June 2016

#30DaysWild - Days 13-17

RSPB Norwich Local Group Meeting

The first Monday of every month is when our local group meets for an indoor talk. This month's talk was by Mark Thomas from the RSPB, he is part of their investigations team for wildlife crime. He told us of some shocking stories with appalling outcomes. I genuinely thought that harsher punishments would be handed out to wildlife criminals rather than what many would see as trivial fines or prison sentences of only a few months. Especially when, as per one of the examples he used, an entire population of nightjars and nightingales were wiped out at a county level due to successive egg collecting across several breeding seasons. Certainly food for thought which left me feeling quite angry about the whole situation. The key thing is, if you see a wildlife crime taking place, whatever it may be, always note down the vehicle number plate to report to the RSPB or the police.

Moroccan mint

After moving house, I decided I would try something different with my hanging baskets this spring. I wanted to make two hanging herb baskets. In each, I planted a Moroccan mint in the centre, surrounded by a dwarf lavender, a creeping rosemary, variegated oregano and lemon thyme. All had the 'perfect for pollinators' logo and smelled delicious - a treat for the pollinators as well as us. Never having grown herbs in containers before, I didn't realise quite how prolific the mint plant would become... It has started to (somehow) escape the bottom of the hanging basket and was greatly over shadowing the lavender and rosemary. I decided to prune it, but rather than waste so much mint, I looked up ways of storing it - freezing roughly chopped mint cubes in ice cubes seems to be the convention, and it appears to work rather well. It certainly went down nicely in a glass of Pimms... 

Moroccan mint leaves
Lemon thyme flowers

An evening walk

Today was slightly less wet than we've become used to. When I arrived home from work, I attempted to rearrange our bird feeders to make them less of an easy target for the wood pigeon and to encourage our small birds to come back. All have disappeared over the last week, except our reliable and loud male chaffinch. We also took a walk through the park and got caught in a short downpour - the delicious feel and small of cool summer rain. Throughout it all, the birds kept singing. We heard the songs of blackbirds, robins and chaffinches as well as the monotonous cooing of a stock dove well hidden amongst the branches.

Honeysuckle and bird song

I always try to take advantage of the fact we now have a garden, even if only a small one. Before I went to work, I took five minutes to stand in the morning sunshine, close my eyes and listen. There were birds everywhere around me: chiff chaff calling from the park; a chaffinch or maybe two, trilling seemingly at varying distances; a small charm of goldfinches flying overhead; a pair of house martins chattering to each other above, alongside a few silent swifts gravely soaring side by side; jackdaws accusing 'Jack' as they flew.

The English honeysuckle is opening up and living up to its name of 'Heaven Scent'.


As a last ditch attempt at growing some wildflowers from seed, I scattered a great number of oxeye daisy seeds in a tray. It seems they have all germinated and are doing rather well. I started pricking out seedlings this evening, 30 of them, but there are many more to go!

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