I am at week 8 or 9 of data collection, I can’t really remember, it feels like I have been watching bird feeders willing for red squirrels and birds to come for ever! The red squirrels have been very quiet recently but I think I’ll put that down to the terrible weather we have been having here in North west Wales and the ill timing of some extreme gardening involving power tools. I will soon be finished with data collection and will have to bite the bullet and do statistics. There is nothing I dislike doing more than stats! Too many numbers, too many words that make no sense, too much output that even with help I can’t interpret. Well… good luck to me 🙂
As mentioned previously I have bought a wildlife camera and I have some wonderful videos of a red fox which unfortunately I cannot share on here as I can only add photos. I love seeing what wildlife we have here because although I knew there were foxes and badgers you don’t often get to see them. My dad has been lucky enough to see a badger when he had to go to a fire call at the three in the morning but otherwise sightings are few and far between.
As mentioned in my last post, I have recently been bought a wildlife camera which has come! At uni, we were given a camera to set up and we had to write a report and were assessed on our camera trap set up abilities and report writing skills. During the 6 weeks that camera was up the camera caught numerous squirrels, pigeons, pheasants, rabbits, a few badgers and deer but never any foxes much to my dismay! Well I can now finally say I have a photograph of a fox caught on a camera trap at my house! 🙂 The fox was the only thing captured but that is more likely due to the placement of the camera as there is evidence of foxes and badgers being in the area and there are countless birds and grey squirrels around and about. I am excited to see what else might be lurking on our land 🙂
As well as the camera, I attended a dormouse ecology and training day on Friday organised by the North Wales Wildlife Trust. It was a very informative and interesting including a practical to show us how to check dormouse nest boxes safely and how to differentiate between a dormouse nest, a wood mouse nest and a birds nest. I am still doing field work for my masters research project which has been hitting a few potholes at the moment but hopefully it will all sort itself out this week 🙂
The last few days of 30 days wild did not quite go to plan because I quite kindly decided to bash my knee whilst out running! I haven’t been able to walk for the past few days and it has only just recovered in the past couple of days! I carried on with my squirrel data collection which didn’t always go to plan this week and I didn’t see all that many squirrels which isn’t fantastic when you are researching squirrel and bird interactions! Oh well I am sure they will appear at some point… or I live in hope that they will 🙂 Also had more problems with the car which had dodgy rear tires so failed its MOT, feel like giving up on cars completely and buying a gypsy caravan for my cob to pull around… don’t think he’d enjoy it at his age though.
I have as of the last day of 30 days wild ordered a wildlife camera so I can finally find out what and the abundances of species that we have on our small holding which I am very excited about! 🙂
Days 20, 21 and 22 were pretty much taken over with data collection! The squirrels were a bit thin on the ground but there were birds a plenty! Yesterday (day 22) I visited my fourth site for the first time and I either underestimated the height of the tree or overestimated the height of myself because even with a step ladder I was miles away from being able to get the feeders down! So I decided to go for a walk along the walking loop at the site instead!
Day 23: I decided to the random act of wildness photography challenge where you take photos of each of the colours of the rainbow seen in nature! I did this at home where most things are green and yellow!
Red: Leaves of the oak tree sapling in the field
Orange: Butterfly (it’s sort of orange… honest!)
Yellow: Dandelions, lots and lots of dandelions
Green: The Canopy above the river
Blue: Dragonfly/ Damselfly type buggy thing! (very good at invertebrate ID)
Indigo/ Violet: Foxglove and Red Clover
As well as photographing colours I also bought a fat ball feeder that was on offer in Morrisons and the blue tit has already found it! 🙂
Day 16: I studied my squirrels and birds as per usual and also went for a bike ride! It was national bike week last week so my sister and I went from our home to Llanberis over clegir hill. The hill is steep but the views from the top are stunning 🙂 No photos because I forgot my camera but maybe take a trip for yourself!
Day 17: Once again did my study. The week of 5oClock starts had however taken its toll and instead of going for a run as I planned, I fell asleep on the sofa… Oops!
Day 18: On the saturday I went kayaking at Llyn Padan with my dad, my boyfriend and the dogs! My dad is training for a triathlon so I am his kayak support and because we had the dogs they had to come in the kayak with me! They did not enjoy this so much and tried to continually jump out. Luckily they didn’t and we successfully navigated the lagoons. I also went for a run along the footpaths above the village which was lovely but it involved a hill which I’m not yet very good at! We also ate outside on the picnic bench for our attempt at National Picnic Week and made a cake in the shape of a “hedgehog” (that is up for debate).
Day 19: Today, I went to Llandudno for a strandline species identification training day in Llandudno with the North Wales Wildlife Trust. The aim of this day was to learn about the common species so that I can be involved with public engagement events during the summer which I am excited about! I know absolutely nothing about coastlines so I am looking forward to learning about what I can find there! 🙂 Next week I continue with my research project and hopefully find more wild things to do!
Over the past few days the weather has reverted back to good old wet and windy Wales which I would rather it didn’t because I was quite enjoying all the sunshine! On the Sunday (day 12) I had quite a lazy day following my adventure in the mountains with mum on the Saturday! Day 13 and 14 were mainly spent collecting data about birds and squirrels which I love and got to see two red squirrels at once! They were squabbling over food with the occasional Jay trying to butt in hoping they would drop their peanuts! So from the site having no squirrels the week before I now have some very usable and exciting data! I do apologise about the photo quality but I took it on my phone as I forgot my camera!
Today (day 15) I did some more data collection at a second site! This morning went without a hitch, got up at 5 got to the site for 6 collected data until 8 then returned home! This afternoon was another story entirely. I do not live near the sites and I have to drive 30 minutes each way with all my feeders to get there. When I arrived I was told she was too busy gardening for me to sit and watch the squirrels/ birds! I wouldn’t mind but I do ask if it is ok to go on certain days, it is a long way and it would’ve been nice if I had been told not to come. Anyway rant over, it is just a part of the joys of conducting your own research and having to rely on others. I also took the dogs for a walk around the field and got a wonderful photograph of a grasshopper and a bee on a dandelion. I heard the characteristic clicking sound of the grasshopper for the first time this year and followed it to the source! The bees are much easier to spot as one of our fields is completely taken over by dandelion and red clover. I also had the less than pleasant experience of a dead squirrel falling from a tree and almost landing on my head but perhaps the greys are trying to get their own back because I am studying their much redder cousins!
Day 7 Tuesday: on the 7th day of 30 days wild I continued with my data collection and got a beautiful photog
raph of a bumblebee which took a break to help me with my data collection! I needed the distraction as the red squirrels were failing and did in fact fail to make an appearance on the Tuesday. I visited two sites and neither of them yielded any reds but luckily a few birds did come to keep me interested and nuthatches may be my new favourite bird! For the rest of the day I mainly tried to input all my data into excel which is quite boring and takes longer than I was anticipating.
Day 8 Wednesday: the 8th day was pretty much the same as the 7th. I went to do my study where no red squirrels appeared and I inputted data into excel. All in all, not a very exciting day!
Day 9 Thursday: the red squirrels finally appeared to make my data collection slightly more exciting :)! This squirrel was the fist one I had seen all week which seeing as I am trying to study them is not great! But seeing as I was starting to think someone had come along and stolen them all I was quite happy with finally seeing one 🙂 I also went kayaking to support my dad as he was doing his open water training in preparation for some triathlons. We also took the dogs which also gave kayaking and swimming a go! The lake is a wonderful place to see wildlife and there are some very beautiful ducks swimming around at this time of year!
Day 10 Friday: the weather was starting to deteriorate on Friday, after getting up way to early to get to my first site luckily the rain held off and I got to see more than one red squirrel and several birds! I also got to witness the Jay opening the squirrel-only feeder! May need to find a way of redesigning the squirrel feeders to prevent this! Or it may be like the bear situation in the US and Canada where the bear boxes for food have to be redesigned every year or so! In the afternoon I had to cut my data collection time in half due to the home owners circumstances which I was quite happy about because I got caught in a very heavy downpour and all my data collection sheets became very soggy!