30 Days Wild Day 9 – Red Kites and Beachcombing

Hey everyone,

We’ve been in Co Down visiting my granny and seen some stunning wildlife! Yesterday we saw Red Kites! It was amazing!

Watch my video here :-

I’ve also written about Red Kites, a very special bird to me. You can read that here :-

https://youngfermanaghnaturalist.com/2018/01/08/rapturous-red-kites/

I hope everyone has had a wonderful weekend.

Stay Wild

Dara

30 Days Wild Day 07 – Great British Bee Count!

I can’t actually believe I’ve made seven videos for 30 Days Wild! It has been challenging to make a video and write a wee blog for it too! I’m enjoying the challenge so much, especially now I’ve finished my end of year exams. I’m travelling to a special place this weekend and I can’t wait to share it with you all, as I go along!

For Day 07, I talk about the Great British Bee Count , how important it is and why we should all do our bit for citizen science!

Hope you enjoy it!

Stay Wild

Dara

30 Days Wild Day 06 – Birdwatching!

Hello everyone,

It’s Day 06 of 30 Days Wild and I have to admit that I’m finding it challenging to record and upload a video every day – but hey, I do love a challenge! I also hope that I have improved the way I communicate to a camera – even a minuscule amount. I certainly feel a little more relaxed with every video I make. The whole aim of this, is to improve my communication skills and share my passion and enthusiasm in another format.

Here’s my latest video :-

I hope you enjoy it!

Stay Wild

Dara

30 Days Wild – Day 05 – Plastic Free Challenge

Hey everyone, for Day 05 I signed up to Marine Conservation Society’s Plastic Free Challenge in July!

Here’s my video :-

I completely forgot to talk about marine issues as the video was completely unscripted (my added challenge) and I was particularly referring to my own local environment! I’ll be doing a series of videos in July to let you all know how we’re getting on!

Will you sign up too?

https://www.mcsuk.org/plastic-challenge

Stay Wild

Dara

30 Days Wild – Day 04 – Fledglings!

Hey everyone, I’m a day behind for my 30 Days Wild challenge. I’ve had end of year exams and lots of other things going on but I’m determined to film 30 videos!

The weather has been glorious, perfect conditions to endlessly watch the to-ing and fro-ings of our extended family – also known as our garden birds!

See what’s been happening in my recent video.

https://youtu.be/GCDuXeGwavg

Thanks for all the encouragement and support as always!

Stay Wild

Dara

30 Days Wild – Day 02 – Life around and in a pond!

Hey everyone, it’s day 02 of #30DaysWild ! We’ve had crazy weather and a few mishaps with samples and equipment but well, I made a video! You can check it out and let me know what you think.

I’d love to know how people do fancy editing on their videos – obviously I’m working on a tight time frame but any suggestions would really help me.

Thank you so much

Stay Wild

Dara

30 Days Wild – Day 1

Hey everyone, I’m really excited that it’s #30DaysWild time again! I found great joy and fun writing my blog every day in June last year – and I was really chuffed to win the Youth Blogger category!

This year I wanted to try something really different and conquer some intense fears I’ve had, which reared their head very scarily at a conference I recently attended. My biggest hurdle as a young autistic person is social communication. Last week in Manchester, I confidently made a speech about youth in conservation, to over 200 leading ecologists at the British Ecological Society conference. Afterward, I completely froze and could not communicate. The only exception really was Professor Sir John Lawton, Vice President of the RSPB – he asked me about Hen Harriers – yes! I can totally talk about Hen Harriers! The rest of the time though, all I heard were thunderous noises and everything was so slowed down, by the time I had processed the question, it was too late. At one point, I walked away, completely overwhelmed and another I just felt like I was going to explode with sensory overload. It was devastatingly awful. I want to change though, I want to prepare myself, I want to be able to communicate and share my ideas, my stories…my knowledge!

Myself and Sir John, away from the hustle and bustle, more relaxed and easy.

The inability to converse and share my thoughts, right now – gave rise to an idea. What if I communicated to a camera to share my love of wildlife – would this help me to be a better communicator all around? I’m not sure if that will be the end result but it won’t make it any worse! So, for 30 Days Wild, I’ll make a video every day. Every day I hope to get better and every day, mum will add other distractions, such a question – to see if I can navigate them and still concentrate and communicate. I’m really excited to try this challenge and see if it positively affects my ability to communicate with other people and generally inspire me, to become more forward in my passion and enthusiasm for nature, wildlife and conservation! I really want, in the future, to become a wildlife communicator, maybe not a brilliant one like Chris Packham, but better than I am right now!

Here’s my first video! Yikes!

https://youtu.be/Cin-zbu7OJo

Thanks for watching

Dara

Diary of a Young Naturalist – The Seals

27.05.18 Rue Point Rathlin Island. Full sun.

The overwhelming stench of decomposing Kelp and two nearby dead goats, does little to dull the glimmering expanse. I sit on the bank full of Sea Thistle watching fluttering Pipits among the rocks, scanning for more life with my binoculars. The sun so strong, I squint to view the shapes up ahead.

Sprawled languidly over the rocks like mermaids – Grey Seals. First, one balancing on the rock, then the pile come into view. Hooked nose sea pig, great blubberous forms; basking, a little scratching, hardly fidgeting at all. I feel envious, not only can they afford to lie on rocks all day, one big heave plunges them to the murky depths of seventy metres to feed. Less than a few actions from rest to full doing, no preparation.

I watch, observing and picking out each one’s actions, comparing individuals; they seem to have distinct personalities. Some lazier or perhaps younger. Some sun worshiping and some looking bothered by the heat, heads shelters by rocks. In a few months they’ll begin their breeding. Now resting while they can.

In 1914, they were the first animals given protection by legislation (The Grey Seals Protection Act), but they have caused conflict within the fishing industry and problems with soil erosion in some important sites – such as The Farne Islands. Thankfully though, public outcry in the late 70’s stopped further culls by the fishing industry. I feel sick to think of blood running on our shores in the past…whaling and butchering. I shake out the thoughts.

I keep a fair distance and find great satisfaction watching their interactions. The haul up providing a soap opera of flippers protecting space, wriggling and nudging; a fantastic silent movie for a young naturalist. I relate to their need for ‘personal’ space, their antisocial behaviour.

The wind changes and the smell feels like the Kelp has battered my olfactory system. Enough. Even this most enthusiastic naturalist has had enough. I rise and walk off towards some other sparkly thing of interest.

Thanks for reading

Dara

Diary of a Young Naturalist – The Seabird Cliffs

26.05.18 Rathlin Island Seabird Centre – Full sun but a swift breeze.

If feels so good to be back here again. A lot more people around today, the last time, we practically had the island to ourselves.

When you first encounter the cliffs at Rathlin during breeding season (May-July) everything gloriously slams your senses all at once. The sights. The landscape, dramatically changed. The not quite pungent smell, yet. The cacophony, kaleidoscope of sounds. Thousands of birds. Guillemots, Kittiwakes, Razorbills, Fulmars and Puffins. A glorious breeding ground of survival and endurance. Wheeling and diving. Patrolling and protecting. Sauntering over the shoulder of the stack. Mind blowing. Magnificent.

I feel tickled and almost hysterical with anticipation. Focusing on each species.

Fulmars, dozing and waiting. A queen on her throne. Alone. Protected by shadowy wings, constantly flying past. She is like a Buddha in a trance, conserving energy, settling on the spot.

Guillemots. A bazaar, a congregation. One heaving mass. Safety in numbers. They completely cover the stack, them and the guano. A spectacle in numbers.

The Razorbills, cajoling each other. Craning their necks, clacking their beaks together. Snuggling down. Gorgeous sleek plumage. Monochrome mutiny breaks out to fight territory and claim.

Kittiwake, Kittiwake, showing bright orange. The pair stuck together, both on cliff side and in the air. Ocean faring nomads, they spend half the year far out at sea. Young birds stay there until they are two years or more. They seem like the softest of gulls but they are hardy and tough.

And oh, the little waddlers. Puffins. Slit eyes make them look like sleepwalkers. Heftily moving their small body across the green. It all seems like such an effort, but, they are like going from Kansas to Oz, multicoloured and charismatic. Diminutive inspectors, bumbling from burrow to burrow. Amazingly in flight, they can reach 55mph, manically flapping four hundred times a minute. My grin stretched from me, outwards towards the cliffs, connecting to each and every wing and beak.

I practiced my new challenge to myself, to talk, to interact. It actually felt good. Well, I am in my natural habitat. Everything feels so much more attainable when I’m outdoors, with nature.

I skipped up the steps. The heat mixed with wind and song; it was marvellous.

Thanks for reading

Dara