By David Philips
Having encouraged my grandchildren to participate in 30 Days Wild this year, they really eclipsed me on the Sussex Wildlife Trust's suggested "minibeast hunt" by discovering an absolutely stunning male Stag Beetle in their garden. These fabulous beetles spend a number of years as larvae before emergence and are sadly now quite rare. A reminder to me to enlarge my garden log pile in the hope of helping these, and many other, species. My own minibeast hunt did however reveal both Green Tiger Beetle and a stunning couple of metallic Green Malachite Beetles.
Am currently on the road away from Sussex (socially distancing) and enjoying nature in the North of England with exploration of wonderful limestone pavements and woodlands filled with Lily of the Valley and angular Solomon's Seal. Wildflower meadows brimming with flowers included an all-time favourite of mine - Bee Orchids with their court "jester like" imitation bee flowers. Participating in another of the Trust's suggested activities I settled down in my chosen "quiet spot" to contemplate, observe and enjoy the natural world - soon lustily serenaded by Wren and Willow Warbler who filled my quiet spot with their glorious song.
At nearby Leighton Moss, the whispering reeds jealously held onto potential sightings of the secretive Bittern, but Marsh Harriers were much in evidence: quartering the channels for unsuspecting ducklings. Numerous prey passes between male and female birds provided yet more highlights to my day in the wild.