30 Days Wild with my daughter

, 11 June 2024
30 Days Wild with my daughter
Matt & daughter

Matt Phelps

Species Recovery Officer

When my daughter was just a couple of days old, I will never forget sitting in the garden with her asleep on my lap when first a Common Darter and then a Red Admiral landed on her head. I suppose it was inevitable she was always destined for a childhood with plenty of exposure to the wonders of the natural world. From walks around the Arun Valley where we’re lucky to live, to helping us tend our allotment, she is always there, getting plenty of fresh air and seeing all manner of wildlife.

Now she’s a bit older (two-and-a-half going on three) she is able to recognise and put names to things a bit more and it’s been wonderful in recent months to see her taking such joy from wildlife encounters, including as part of 30 Days Wild. Proud moments recently have included her identifying Blue Tits and Robins on sight, spotting Ladybirds from metres away (this seems to be her particular superpower), and even identifying a Pheasant from its call.

She particularly loves moths and is always excited to see what’s hiding in the moth trap in the morning. I love how she’s already so gentle and knows exactly how to hold them safely. Similarly, she naturally seems to know to whisper when we are in bird hides and was very keen to tell me on a recent trip to Elmley Marshes in Kent that ‘we must be very quiet if we want to see owls’. 

She was right, of course, and was very excited to see both her first Little Owl and Short-eared Owl, simultaneously. A memory I will treasure and hopefully she will remember for many years too.

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