Despite this being the sixth annual 30 days wild campaign; this year is the first time I have taken part. I have always been interested in nature, yet being a student has meant that actively taking part has had to sit on the back burner.
This all changed last year, when I decided to undertake my undergraduate dissertation on the woodland birds living in forests established on reclaimed colliery and opencast sites in the coalfields of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. My interest remained firmly on birds until lockdown – Spring started and I became engrossed in the likes of insects and wildflowers too.
After seeing the 30 Days Wild campaign advertised on social media, I knew it was something I wanted to get involved in. As lockdown meant we were all restricted to our homes and local areas I saw this as the perfect opportunity to reignite my love for nature.
Throughout the month I have been visiting my local patch – a reclaimed opencast site boasting young woodland, grassland, settling ponds and scrub – and attempting to record as many species in the area as I can – ranging from the large crack willow trees of the neighbouring Carr woodland to the tiny but beautiful smooth tare flowers hiding amongst the grass. I’ve been using the iNaturalist app to help identify and track my records, however a diary and identification books would work just as well.
My motivation to do this was twofold – a personal goal to improve my identification skills, and also to help identify any rare species that may be living in the area that the local Wildlife Trust ought to be notified of.
So far I have identified approximately 300 species, and during the length of June and I have added a few more bird species to the list I had been compiling since the beginning of the year for the area (Currently standing at 67 – including 14 amber and 11 red listed species according to the RSPB website – and 25 species of butterfly and moth). Hopefully, these numbers will continue to increase over the summer as migrating species continue to arrive and more wildflowers appear in the grassland habitats.