Hi everyone, it’s Dara here today! Welcome to Day 3 of 30 Days Wild. I’m so proud of my siblings Bláthnaid and Lorcan – stiff competition for me today. I was thinking today would be spent viewing our wonderful magnificent meadows, but the weather was atrocious with hail, torrential rain and lightning! Pretty wild but not the sort of wild we were hoping for. As late evening approached a window of sun appeared and we decided a woodland walk would be best – we could walk in the relative shelter of the wonderful trees there.
Woodlands are amazing, they contain such an incredible variety of smaller habitats and a rich tapestry of species. The woodland we visited, Castle Archdale Country Park is bordered by Lough Erne, so it’s even more magical and special. One thing about our walk today was the light, it sparkled on dew drops and glowed through the leaves. We were alone on our walk, so it felt like we had the woods to ourselves to explore. Woodlands are just one giant classroom playground, so much to see, hear and learn.
Herb Robert, illuminated by the glowing embers of the sun.
The Lough had a pair of Red Breasted Mergansers, diving in and out of the shimmering waters and blinding momentary light- it was almost impossible to get a picture of them, but we had a go.
The treetops was alive with birdsong, Blackbird, Robin, Jackdaw and this lovely male Blackcap. The female has an auburn cap. This warbler has a melodious, fluting and chittering song. A joy to see.
As our woodland walk ended, we watched in dazed amazement at the tireless swooping of Swifts, Swallows and House Martins. These feisty migrants are marvels of nature. There are Swift boxes erected in the courtyard of the main country park building and we surveyed action in 5 separate boxes. We also watched as Swallows dive bombed into the eaves and the arches to their nests. It was impossible to get a picture with swirling shapes all around me, tricking my eyes this way and that. Sometimes, it’s just best to enjoy the moment, leave the camera alone and just watch and listen. I love Swifts, their welcome squealing screams the start of summer and when the sound fills the sky, it fills me a with tingly happiness.
The view from the courtyard steps, a swallow nest and a special Swift nest box. I’m looking forward to surveying the nest boxes further.
Woodlands are sacred spaces, they hold such an enormous amount of life, so we were really disappointed to find litter. We filled a bag of discarded ice cream tubs and drink bottles. Past enjoyment, chucked away, blotting the beauty.
Boo! Bláthnaid was not happy, but hey, luckily the guardians of the woodland were here to clear up!
It was a beautiful walk though and the combination of the light and the rain was spellbinding. Don’t ever let a little rain out you off, dance in it and watch the birds in it, they love it! Lorcan will be taking over again tomorrow hopefully!
Thanks as always for reading