Thursday, 2 July 2015

30 Days Wild - Days 29 and 30 - Journey's End

This is the last blog of my 30 Days Wild Series.  My wildlife journey is coming to an end.

Monday, 29th June

This was a busy, busy day. I had planned to do a particular piece of work that needed a whole day's clear run. I had everything planned - but, as they say, if you want to make God laugh, make plans.  There was a crisis, not a huge one - but enough to get me and others scrambling round sorting things out for much of the morning. After all that, I just had to get outside to shed some of the stresses that had built up.

Me out in the sunshine, with wildflowers in my Uckfield garden.
As I listened to the buzzing bees and grasses swishing in the wind, I spotted a number of butterflies and wondered vaguely why I hadn't seen any in Birmingham. There's certainly no shortage of flowers for them to visit.

Tuesday, 30th June

Tuesday saw my last run up to Birmingham for a while. I met a few human and animal acquaintances on the way up including the grey wagtails that I first saw a couple of weeks back. This time they were dipping in the River, in sight of the station platform.

One of a pair of grey wagtails dipping in the Uck.
I took a few moments at lunch time to check out the pond by our office. The coot was still defending its patch and the tufted duck had 7 little fuzzy ducklings.  Over the past couple of weeks, the white water lilies and yellow monkey flowers had started to bloom.

Tufted duck and ducklings
After work, a colleague and I went exploring. We found another house martin nest at the front of the hotel. It must have been there a while because the fledglings had left the nest and were lined up on the edge of the roof. On the way to the station, there are still plenty of flowers at the roadside.

Roadside roses.
We decided to have a look round the NEC park, and crossed the Pendigo lake using the boardwalk.  We expected to find a few ducks and maybe a coot or moorhen. However, 30 Days Wild had saved one of its biggest surprises until last. I was looking up at the house martins prospecting round the upper floors of the unfinished Resort World Hotel. I don't suppose they had much luck, the walls look too smooth for them. Then a flash of white. An impossibly elegant tern was swooping over the water, occasionally dipping for food.

Look carefully on the right of the photo to see the tern.
We spent time watching the tern and then moved on, passing the Crown Plaza, which was set up for a rather grand function. Within a few yards of the tables with their fancy floral arrangements, simple ox-eye daisies drew my eye to the Hilton Metropole on the other side of the lake.

Ox-eye daisies in the fading light.
A pair of ducks kept pace as we drifted along the footpath. After a few minutes, we decided that the Arden's restaurant was calling us, and turned back. As we returned along the boardwalk, an untidy, almost primeval, flurry of feathers announced the arrival of the heron, which settled into its lakeside home.

Not far from the roadside roses we passed earlier, I saw my first Birmingham butterfly, a meadow brown, settling on wayside flowers after a busy day fluttering around. Like my 30 days wild it had reached the end of its journey but will set out on a new one soon.

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