30 Days Wild Day 16 – Blackbirds and evening light

Hi everyone, it’s Dara here again for Day 16 of 30 Days Wild! If you’ll remember, I’m working backwards as we’re a little behind ☺️ Last Friday was spent mostly travelling back from Gloucestershire, I have to say it’s a very beautiful part of the world full of hay Meadows, glorious verges and a very interesting sandstone landscape. It was a beautiful day with azure skies, even when we returned to Belfast! We had another long drive home and we arrived just in time to watch my Unsprung episode – I mostly watched it over the top of a cushion with my eyes half closed. I’m not good at listening to or watching myself, but who is?! If you like, you can watch it here ☺️


I took my camera out into the garden to relax and process the events that had just happened – I still am. Unfortunately self doubt is creeping in again and I wonder how I could’ve done things differently and I feel a little hollow – I can’t really explain but school today didn’t really help.

However, I’m lucky in that almost every problem can be fazed out by birdsong and this Blackbird really helped me. Thank you Mr Blackbird!!

The song of the Blackbird is so beautiful, I sat on the swing and just listened, read my book, felt the warmth of the evening light and then I felt energised, restored. I then went off to do some running around with my brother to get my energy out, we hadn’t stretched our legs enough over the last couple of days! At bedtime I was exhausted but couldn’t sleep, that’s because something really special was going to happen tomorrow!!

You’ll find out later as I’m going to type my notes out after dinner for Day 18. Also hoping Lorcan and Bláthnaid can give you their updates tonight and so be up to date!

Thanks for reading. Maybe at dusk you could take a moment to listen to the Blackbirds lullaby too, it lifts the heart.


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12 Responses

  1. Just started reading your blog following unsprung. I’m so impressed by your writing, your turn of phrase and your passion for wildlife. I really want to encourage you to keep writing and enjoying what you see around you.

  2. Lovely blog, I thought you were fantastic on Springwatch and you really deserved the award!

    I think sometimes when we’re really looking forward to something amazing and then it’s over it is quite easy to feel a bit hollow and to over examine the experience. I’m really good at picking holes in things in my mind to see what I could have done better and worry about insignificant details, but it’s better to remember the good things! Your lovely blog about the day was wonderful had will be great to look back on in the future.

  3. Great blog. You were brilliant on Springwatch and very inspiring.
    Agree about Blackbird song. Although I live in a flat and have no garden I can hear them singing away outside. Very calming. As nature is in general.

  4. I watched Unsprung and thought your part was excellent. You were described as an inspiration to young and old and I want to tell you that you have certainly inspired me and I am retired. Which is great, because it gives me more time to enjoy the natural world. I’ve never been happier since I started to take notice of what is going on right under my nose. Keep on writing your blog Dara. It’s wonderful.

  5. I think I know what you mean about the self doubt. Someone called it “the inner critic” , and they can be very vocal! It’s good when you can enjoy nature and birdsong to get away from that, and I agree about the blackbird, the song is beautiful. I often hear one near my house.

  6. Thanks Dara for celebrating the song of the Blackbird. Do you keep notes on bird song? I’m interested to know if you ever hear Blackbirds sing in the autumn. And do you ever hear any other autumnal song E.g. Chaffinch , Nuthatch……..
    Come the shortest day, or just before, we will soon be into the beginnings of spring song across a number of species — Yaffles are already starting to laugh here in West Sussex

    1. Hi Murray, thank you. We don’t have nuthatches here in Northern Ireland. I hear calls rather than song in the Autumn but yes, after the solstice I have recorded bird song. I keep a journal as well as writing my blog, I’ve always kept one.

      Thanks so much for commenting


  7. That’s good. You are keeping a note of singing behaviour in your journal. Very few people appear to be doing that. I hope you maintain this record across the decades.

    At 13, I started a song calendar in 1964 but gave up in 1969. That was a big mistake which wasn’t rectified until 1997. If only I had kept it going, noting the daily avian vocalisations of a couple of dozen common species throughout each year. Then, for just a very modest effort, half a century’s worth of useful phenology could have been generated. Such a record could have been valuable because it would have started at a crucial period of time – the 1960’s, a couple of decades prior to the current period of significant changes in climate.

    Prolonged and consistent nature diaries, be they old or recent are rare. Of course there’s the classic example of Gilbert White’s Journal spanning 26 years (1768-1793). You’ve probably got it. If not, it’s well worth owning and dipping into. He remains a mentor to me as he does to a host of other naturalists and scientists.

    Here in West Sussex, since 2003, a morning dog walk fixed transect measuring the amount of bird song via random time frame sampling (it’s a very simple method lasting only 10 minutes) has produced 15 years of interesting results. Listen out for the song periods of as many common or garden birds as possible – you may well come up with regional differences that no one else has observed. For example, our Coal Tits often have a resurgence of song in mid-June when all the other Parus species have long stopped singing. Perhaps Irish Coal Tits (a different race?) do the same, perhaps they don’t.

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