Week one of 30 Day Wild - Barefoot beach strolls, ogling at gooseberry jellies, nightjar churring and mindfulness on the marshes

It’s been a jam-packed week of 30 Days Wild “random acts of wildness” with lots of activity across the county from Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s staff team. Lucy, our Wild Learning Officer, is looking back at what we’ve been getting up to this week.

Just like that, we’re into the first week of 30 Days Wild, the Wildlife Trust’s biggest mass participation campaign that challenges people to do a random act of wildness every day for the month of June. Now in its seventh year, 30 Days Wild is growing year on year with thousands of people taking up the challenge to do something wild, making wildlife part of their everyday lives and last year, an amazing 2,496 Suffolk residents took part!

The beauty of 30 Days Wild is that your random acts of wildness don't need to be time consuming or require going on a wild goose chase looking for rare species, it can be simply taking the time to walk barefoot through grass, take your book outside to read under a tree or discovering a new species and spending time to look it up and investigate it further. Of course, your acts of wildness might just be a little more adventurous and you may well do a stake out to catch a glimpse of an elusive species or create a habitat for wildlife the great thing is, it’s open to all and the variety wildness is always so great to see.

If you haven’t signed up just yet, don’t worry, there’s still time and you can sign up and download your free online pack here. Here’s what we’ve been getting up to across the week;

 

Day 1 – Big Wild Breakfast by morning and bats whizzing over head by night

To kick start 30 Days Wild, we took part in The Big Wild Breakfast that challenges people to take their breakfast outside and to eat al fresco with wildlife. I couldn’t think of a better way to start a day and so packed up my breakfast and headed to Holywells Park, one of my favourite parks in Ipswich to eat with almost deafening birdsong all around me. Green woodpeckers were yaffling away and a wren was furiously defending its territory. Whilst it felt like I was only just waking up, the wildlife it seemed was fully awake and full of beans already.  Whilst I sat there eating in the beautiful sunshine, some of the first that we had after a long rainy May, I saw a muntjac deer skit past and a huge bounty of butterflies took to the wing, relishing the warmth. Brimstones and breakfast, what’s better than that!

That evening, I then hosted an urban night safari, welcoming families to join me in search of wildlife around Holywells park. I was so pleased to be able to have a group of excited participants join me as last year due to lockdown, I had to go in search of wildlife solo. We started off in the orchard looking at muntjac tracks and droppings hoping to catch a glimpse of the muntjac itself before heading back up the park to start our loop as the sun fell, armed with bat detectors and oodles of enthusiasm.

We were thrilled to have picked up pipistrelles and noctules on our bat detectors as watched them whiz over our heads in an impressive aerial display. We listened out for the sound of the bats “blowing raspberries” which indicates that they’ve been successful in catching their prey. As we headed back, it seemed that the muntjacs did want to take part after all and wandered past and shortly after just before the evening drew to a close, a tawny owl gave us a hoot and a fly by as well.

Day 2 – Barefoot beach strolls and ogling at jellies

For day two of 30 Days Wild, our Events Manager, Bev, took over and went for a barefoot beach stroll with her family and spent some time writing in the sand trying to time it perfectly for the waves to artistically wash away…. They say tenth time’s a charm don’t they?!

As they had fun writing in the sand and enjoying the cool lapping of the waves on their feet, they were delighted to see a gooseberry jellyfish. Gooseberry jellyfish are just as they sound, looking like translucent floating gooseberries, but with a disco light function, as they are able to delicately bioluminesce.

It was only when looking up from inspecting the nearest gooseberry jellyfish, did they notice that there were hundreds all floating a little further out.

Day 3 – Hobbies hunting and nightjars churring – Harry Read takes over our socials

We were delighted that Harry Read, a Suffolk naturalist and wildlife photographer joined us for a social media takeover. Taking us with him on his adventures, Harry shared with us his finding from his moth trap which included a muslin moth, buff tip and poplar hawker and also a cockchafer who didn’t get the “moths only” memo.

After inspecting his moth trap finds, Harry then took us with him through the Suffolk countryside watching hobby and marsh harriers interact with each other and hobbies hunting their dragonfly prey. As night fell, Harry went in search of nightjar and not only heard them churring away but also managed to find one in flight. If you would like to see more from Harry and the Suffolk species he captures, you can follow him on Instagram at @harryreadphoto.

Day 4 – Wild and wavy sea kayaking

Taking to the waves and our beautiful Suffolk Coastline, Jane, our Digital Communications Officer, went sea kayaking to explore our coastline.

Jane tells us “Prior to setting out, we were excited to find several mermaid’s purses along the tide line. My friend was shocked when I told her these are the egg cases of sharks or rays, and not seaweed as she had thought.

“The sea was a bit wild and wavy for my 30 Day Wild challenge, and it was quite tricky getting out past the waves (I’m glad I bought spare change of clothes!) but once we did it felt liberating and exciting to be paddling out to sea.“

Jane Eade - Sea Kayaking for 30 Day Wild

Jane Eade - Sea Kayaking for 30 Day Wild 

Day 5 – Searching for hares

On day 5 of 30 Days Wild, I went in search of hares following their white tails and ears through fields and down country lanes.

I have always absolutely loved hares and enjoy seeing them racing across the fields in Suffolk, but it occurred to me that I haven’t spend any dedicated time watching them so that become my activity for day five. Finding the perfect spot to stand and observe them, I was fortunate enough to have some really close encounters with a young hare coming really close to me. As I stood scanning the field I had kites circling above and yellow hammers in the hedges and I was also so excited to find a slime mould that I have been wanting to see for ages, and I was stood almost directly on top of it. Taking a break from watching all things fluffy, I got up close and personal with the slimy and enjoyed looking a wolf’s milk slime mould. Orange blobs of goo really can be quite exciting!

I then explored further afield and spend the afternoon watching hares bound down country lanes with their white cottontails guiding me as they went.

Day 6 – Moth trap delights

 

Setting a moth trap up over night at our stunning Carlton Marshes reserve, Vicky, our Visitor Engagement Officer was up bright and early the next day to open the trap and to see who had visited overnight.  

Visitors to the moth trap included a poplar hawk moth, elephant hawk moth and a white ermine moth. Vicky managed to get this beautiful slow-motion footage of a hawk moth just before they took flight.

Vicky Bolton 

Day 7 – Mindfulness on the Marshes

Vicky, our Visitor Engagement Officer was back with us for day seven and after all of the excitement of the first week of 30 Days Wild, Vicky’s random act of wildness came at a great time as she guided us through some calming and mindfulness techniques.

Taking us on her mindfulness journey with her, Vicky did a sit spot in one of many beautiful locations at Carlton Marshes, and took time to just observe her surroundings and to let nature soak in. After doing her sit spot, Vicky reflected on what she had seen and experienced and then encouraged us all to have a cup of tea to round off a mindfulness session.

See our website here for some of Vicky’s Mindfulness on the Marshes sessions coming up soon this month. 

Mindfulness on the Marsh - Vicky Bolton

Mindfulness on the Marsh - Vicky Bolton 

With three more weeks of 30 Days Wild, we can’t wait to do more random acts of wildness across the county and share them with you. We love seeing what you’re getting to too so if you would like to share these with us, then tag us in on social media. Find us at @suffolkwildlife on Instagram and Twitter and @Suffolk Wildlife Trust on Facebook.