Why am I taking part in 30 Days Wild?
Hi, I'm Maria, the Dorset Local Nature Partnership Manager. I think I’ve subconsciously known that being in nature makes me feel better, and having my faithful 4-legged friend, Jetta, I get out in nature a lot. But although I’ve spent pretty much all my life living in rural areas, I think I’ve taken a lot of it for granted. So I’m taking part in the Wildlife Trust’s 30 Days Wild to really look at the world around me, to see some of the places I go to regularly in a new light and to explore new places.
Daily updates available on Twitter @mariaa_clarke. Here’s an update from week 1.
On day one I decided to tune into the birdsong and to look at the birds as I was out walking the dog through Dorchester. I saw house sparrows, blackbirds, pigeons, magpies and gulls. I then saw a fledgling crow, its mum didn’t sound too happy up in the tree. I also walked passed a local schools where the grass was being cut – that freshly cut grass smell always makes me smile.
Day two was a bit of a struggle to get going, but I decided to take a different route for our morning dog walk and walked a bit out of the town. As it was Thomas Hardy’s birthday I decided to take a route that apparently he used to take from his home at Max Gate through the fields towards Came Park. It’s only about 5 minutes from home so I really should do it more often. I saw four rabbits, robins and crows, slugs and snails. It was really relaxing and helped me get going for the day. Jetta picked up her first tick of the season which I sent off to the national Tick Recording Scheme.
On day three Jetta and I went for an evening walk to the Tadnoll Nature Reserve (managed by Dorset Wildlife Trust). I saw what I think was a Small Heath Butterfly, lots of birds but I couldn’t tell what they were (birdsong is definitely not a strong point). Jetta was constantly puling a driving me mad so I need to go back to explore more and take it all in.
For day four Jetta and I went to our usual location of Thorncombe Wood/Puddletown Forest but I decided to take a path we’d not taken before heading from Rushy Pond toward Norris Mill – I think it’s called Duddle Heath. There were lots of rhododendrons in flower, adding a splash of colour. It was so peaceful and despite the car park being full I didn’t see anyone on the walk until I looped back to Thomas Hardy’s cottage. Jetta found a puddle and decided to have a canine facial – complete with mud pack!
Day five was World Environment Day so I decided to immerse myself in nature. I started the day with a walk in Puddletown Forest with Jetta. This time we headed to the other end of the forest closer to Puddletown. Sadly I saw a dead mole on the path and I was really disappointed with the amount of dog mess that people had not picked up.
I then went off to Kingcombe Centre with a friend, Katherine. There was a lovely exhibition a part of Dorset Art Weeks, all inspired by nature. We wandered around the pond and the wildlife garden, looking at the mini-beasts. I’ve since identified some of them including a few green dock beetles (we think one was pregnant), a female scorpion fly and damselflies (see picture at the top). We also saw goldfinches and sparrows around the centre. We then headed out into Kingcombe Meadows Nature Reserve and saw a great spotted woodpecker feeding young. The weather was perfect and it was a lovely few hours.
We took another walk towards Came Park on day six. I saw a couple of chaffinches – I wasn’t sure what they were to start with and the picture I took was pretty blurry (and I managed to include a leaf right across its chest) so it wasn’t easy for colleagues at work to identify. A friend helpfully put a picture of some chaffinches they’d seen on Facebook. Luckily no ticks today!
I had a busy day at work on day seven so my dog walks weren’t very wild. We had an all staff meeting at Dorset Wildlife Trust so I learnt about some of the Living Landscape work that trust is involved with and some of the amazing marine life off Chesil Beach. After work I popped into the beautiful Brooklands Farm Nature Reserve flower meadow, which smelt beautiful – not bad for an office ‘garden’.
Week two to follow soon....