10.07.18In ancient times, our ancestors moved with the seasons and opportunity. We need to do that a lot less, these days. We settle and we stay, for the most part. Our family, since my birth have moved from South Down to Belfast to Fermanagh and now in full circle, back to South Down. We move in less than a fortnight.

My heart has been banging against my chest, flipping in the cavity; all sorts of emotional turmoil. I can’t go into the reasons why we we’re moving – just that it’s best for all our family and our journey together. We are a tight unit and have weathered many storms, huddling together – in these recent years, sheltered by the landscape and all that it has given us. Specifically, all that it has given me. Wherever we go, as long as we are all together – that’s what matters.

So, we are moving from West to East and with that comes lots of opportunity to explore new landscapes and find our new secret places. Places with beaches, overlooked by the towering Mourne Mountains and holding at its centre Red Kites, amongst other amazing species. I’m leaving behind ‘my’ Hen Harriers. I will miss them, but I’ll have some exciting news coming very soon with the launch of ‘Project Hawk Eyes’ – remember the money you/we/I raised? I have an update coming soon! I’ve spent a few days in Scotland also, observing and taking part in satellite tagging raptors and fieldwork with the Scottish Raptor Study Group – it was so exciting and exhilarating. I learned so much and I cannot express enough, my thanks to Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group for the opportunity to accompany them with my mum – she fell in a bog, but I won’t go on about that! 😉 It’s quite covert and brave work and I can’t say too much, except that it changed me, it completely solidified my obsession and passion for raptors!

Above -Goshawk Chick and Female Barn Owl.

All this activity means that I haven’t had much head-space for my blog, but I have been writing – lots! I’ve been encouraged and am being nurtured to write something which hopefully, in the not so distant future, will be sold in shops, bound up in book form. I’m very excited about that and will bring news as I receive it!

The weather has been beautiful, if stifling, and I long for a little rain to help the wildlife. We’ve been working hard, keeping our birds, butterflies and bees fed and watered. We also, just a few days ago, had a very unexpected and exciting visitor to our garden?! A Red Squirrel! I could hardly believe it, as we don’t live in the countryside!!

These photos were taken through our kitchen window in bright sunshine – hence the bad quality; but what excitement!!

We’ve also had an Osprey at Big Dog last month, which was another shock!

I’ve had quite a few enquiries regarding not posting in a while – thank you all for your concern. I’m okay!! If you’re on Twitter, you can find me there most days @naturalistdara

I’ll try my best to post a small ‘Diary’ piece as much as I can. I really enjoyed doing that! My book’s working title is ‘Diary of a Young Naturalist’. I’ll keep you all posted, don’t worry!

So what happens to ‘Young Fermanagh Naturalist’? I’m not sure. Fermanagh will always be the place which made me wilder, which lit the fire to the already burning desire to see more and learn more about our wildlife. It’s where I became a blogger…a writer…an explorer. That will always be a huge part of me.

Thank you everyone for all your encouragement and support.