Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Looking back at the summer

First of all, a little update on our wildlife garden. It's looking really nice this time of year, as the dryness of the summer is abating, being replaced with more frequent rain showers, which means that our pond is rather full, and looking lovely. There are lots of spiderwebs about, and a large common garden spider has made its web spanning from one of our conifers to some figwort. When you find a spider, it's always worth taking a close look at it, because you suddenly see how intricate and beautiful it is. For example, the other day we had a medium-sized house spider scurrying across our carpet. Most people would immediately either jump onto the safety of a chair, scream for somebody to put the spider outside, or simply crush it. I know a certain charming character who took great pleasure in explaining to me, in grim detail, the different ways that his father kills spiders. I, on the other hand, was down on my hands and knees, with my face pressed against the carpet, peering intently at the spider's mouthparts. 

The summer seems to have passed so quickly! It's been good, though, and I've done some great things. I've done some rockpooling with the Phoenix group and had some great encounters with some unusual marine life (see here), and done a variety of other wildlife-related activities, like a beach clean and making an insect hotel. I have been to Jersey and learnt about the conservation work that Durrel Wildlife Park is doing, and been greatly inspired by it. I've seen some great wildlife in Jersey, including some new species to me, and explored the beautiful coastline and its wildlife (see here). I've searched for Roesel's bush crickets at Humber Bridge Country Park, unfortunately showing that the likelyhood is that the species is not currently present in the locations that we explored. I learnt more about a variety of creatures, including treehoppers, immortal jellyfish, and the insect with gears in its legs! I also turned 14 this summer, went boating on a river, experienced sleeping in a wood in a hammock, and went camping with my friends several times. Our shed became home to a wasp nest, which is now huge (see here), leading me to learn some more about this fascinating creature. I learnt more about the different species of flora and fauna in our garden, and identified a bird pelvis (see here). I also have a mystery mammal pelvis, which is yet to be identified (see the previous link). I found my first cellar spider in our house (see here), and did some nature hunting on our local patch, too (see here).
Not all of my wildlife-related experiences have been so positive, though - some have been painful! In Jersey, I slipped while rockpooling and ended up with lots of barnacle scratches (it looked rather like I'd been attacked by a bloodthirsty predator!), and in Humber Bridge Country Park, I found how painful a nest of angry European fire ants can be!

Overall, it's been a great summer. I can't wait to see what the rest of the year brings!
 Until next time, keep on the wild side!

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