You can see where mama/papa Dunnock has been keeping eggs warm. That fluffed up hollow area on her/his tum.


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two steps

“In environmental law, the polluter pays principle is enacted to make the party responsible for producing pollution responsible for paying for the damage done to the natural environment.”

This principle is used in the UK for air, water or land pollution.  If a byproduct at a factory is potentially dangerous, the business has the responsibility to ensure that it is ‘contained’.  If the pollution in a river’s source is found, that source has to pay to clean up the mess.

What about all the plastic littering our countryside and oceans?  Why don’t we make the manufacturers of those accountable?  Some of them spend fortunes on marketing their brands – targeting particular demographies.  So they are actually in the perfect position to change the behaviours of their target customers.

So I have decided, from now on I am going to to target those polluters.  Step 1, take a photo of the plastic rubbish item. Step 2, tweet the polluter with #PolluterPays and the image. Step 3, start a trend…

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7 days, 1 night


Night 19 – a moth hanging out with a ladybird and bee in the kitchen.

Day 21 – A two hour evening skype chat, discussing plans for the September/October Mission500 adventure.  Plans, actions, ideas.  Excitement.  One original Fiat 500, Five enthusiastic saviours, 500 birds to be saved… wonderful sketch below by Annette Kelly.

Day 22 – An afternoon at Dibbinsdale & Brotherton LNR.  Training up a small team of volunteers to carry out breeding bird surveys, forever. In the woodland it was hard to see the birds, but we could hear the usual suspects – Robin, Blackbird, Wood pigeon, Wren, Blackcap.  Particularly funny was listening to a pair of Robin squabbling somewhere nearby.

Day 24 – I found a dessicated frog, stretched out stiff, on my lawn. A mystery. Later, I met a talking hedgerow.  It chirped, I promise.

Day 25 – I spent the day at the Arley Hall Garden Festival, helping (wo)man a stand for our local badger group. A lovely event, which I’ll willingly go to again.  I got to talk about badgers lots.  And I bought some absolute bargain plants – bee friendly of course.  I confess I stood there a long while watching and waiting to see which the bees and hoverflies preferred. Back at home, I planted up my bargains, and prettied up the garden a tad. I hope the bees are happy.

Day 26 – They are back for round two of squab rearing.  Well, one died and one fledged last time.  My comedy silent Wallace & Grommit pigeon pair, nesting by my bedroom window.

Day 28 – I wrote the Mission 500 poem.

Day 29 – today!  A visit to wonderful Woolston Eyes, where I gained a life tick.  An exquisite Black-necked grebe honoured me with his presence.  What a glorious bird, orange and black, with bright red eyes.  For a while I could see Great-crested, Little and Black-necked grebes all at once.

Mute swan, tons of Canada geese, Gadwall, Teal, Tufties with chicks, Pochard, Moorhen with fuzzy black dots, Coot, one Mama Lapwing and her only lapling, Black-headed gull with chicks of every size and plumage stage, Swallow, House martin, Common whitethroat feeding it’s chick,  Blue tit, Papa & Mamma & fledgling Greenfinch bedraggled in a bush, Reed bunting.  AND the smallest froglet I ever did see.

And now, the song thrush is shouting his head off on my roof top.  He’s added gull calls to his repertoire!  I overcooked a pizza earlier, so I’m looking forward to his smoke alarm impersonation soon.  Not.

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Mission 500, in rhyme

Five bright birds, of the humanoid kind                                                                                   A regular holiday, they’ve declined

One Fiat 500, a classic car                                                                                               With ambition, to travel far

Millions of birds, the kind that fly                                                                                         On migration, they may well die

Hunters or poachers, the trapping sort                                                                                 Barbaric methods, to them is sport                                                                                       Robins, thrushes, waders too                                                                                             Trapped dead or alive, as they fly through

To save 500 lives, our mission                                                                                               To beat the trappers, by attrition                                                                                          To catch them in their filthy acts                                                                                             These torturous murderous maniacs

Our little car, will lead the way                                                                                               She’ll make each one, a happy day                                                                                 Lucca to Calais, in pursuit                                                                                                       Of those who choose, to persecute

Through thick and thin, you may all follow                                                                         Our highs and lows, what you can swallow                                                                         Our blogs and vlogs, you must all share                                                                               To get our message, right out there

more details of this mission to follow soon.  –  follow us @Mission5hundred  –  help us

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Red start to finish

#30DaysWild.  Day 17.

A pleasant sunny walk.  Orchids galore.  A female Common redstart.  Twitch twitch.  (Great to see – however she was hanging out in an area that is about to be trashed by developers).  Strawberry eating, I mean picking! And a sun-burnt back of neck.  Oops.


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screams and squeaks

#30DaysWild.  Day 16.  More Grassland surveys in the the Bowland Fells.

Swift, House martin and Swallow followed me the whole day again.  With their glorious manoeuvres, screams and squeaks.  I found it hard to look down, there was so much joy above me.  They real are quite easy to distinguish.  Give them a go.  Swift have broad straight wings.  Swallows have that buff front and funky forked tail feathers.  Martin have the bright white rump.  Once you get hooked you’ll see how differently they move, and the way each species chases its prey.  A wonderful addition were Sand martins, the House martin’s less flashy cousin.  

The last Grassland that we visited was much wetter and had quite different plant species to the previous sites.  Additions to yesterday were Bilberry, Bog asphodel, Cranberry, Louse wort, Milkwort, and Sphagnum mosses.  Spiders skittered through the mosses.  A Common golden-ringed dragonfly said hello (google image them – what a fabulous creature).  And where ever we went, a Curlew was calling nearby.


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#30DaysWild.  Day 15.  Bowland Fells – Grassland surveys.

Some grasslands were semi-improved and not very diverse or exciting, some were more so. Other grasslands were wonderful hay meadow floral delights. Some were showy and obvious, packed with colour. Others, more subtle, where we had to rummage about for hidden gems.

Autumn hawkbit, bedstraws, Birdsfoot trefoils, Cinquefoil, Devil’s bit scabious, Eyebright, Great burnet, Knapweeds, Lady’s mantle, Marsh valarian, Meadowsweet, Meadow vetchling, Orchids, Oxeye daisy, Pignut, Ragged robin, Sneezwort, Tormentil, Water avens, Wild angelica, Yellow rattle… Rushes, sedges, and obviously grasses.


I watched a pair of Oystercatcher perform a seriously intense mobbing of a Raven. The Raven was a giant dwarfing what ordinarily seem large birds. The Oystercatcher were clearly not having it anywhere near their chick(s). The Raven performed some spectacular aerodynamics in several attempts to escape the beating.  Eventually finding safety in a small woodland.

All the while, a pair of Common (curly-billed) curlew were circling and moaning about everyone’s proximity (presumably) to their chick(s).

Wherever we went there were House martin, Swallow and Swift swooping, looping and diving.  Walking through Slaidburn village, a Swift missed my head by millimetres and then disappeared into a hole in the Hostel wall. I hope they never re-point that wall – as that little entrance leads to a Swift nest in the wall cavity.  Actually, I hope they never re-point an walls in Slaidburn.  It’s swift city.

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