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.


About Olivia N Masi

From art college drop-out, to office space-planner, to back-packer, to air stewardess, to brolly babe, to model agent, to wildlife conservationist. How? I've always believed in jumping at every opportunity that comes my way. This has taken me along some bizarre career paths. None of which I regret. I have been to amazing places and met fascinating people. And having worked in the motor sport industry I've sadly experienced too many beloved friends take one adrenalin step too many. I think of them always. I've hung out with pop-stars, sports personalities, and millionaires. I reached a point when nothing but VIP would do. And then something happened. My pops passed away and I felt the need to reconnect with my Italian side. Whilst in Italy, I learnt to be resourceful, to recycle everything, to listen to the valley, to grow my own veg, to catch and tame feral cats, and to follow my heart. My heart led me to a desire to save this beautiful Earth, and all the wonderful life upon it. And so I read, and then I studied with the Open University. I suddenly found myself accepted on a BSc in Wildlife Conservation, having left school with pitiful qualifications. So here I am. A qualified Wildlife Conservationist. A scientist I suppose. I love nothing more than to listen to birdsong, and watch, learn and photograph wildlife. So here is to me getting the perfect job where I can contribute to saving one of Earth's beautiful species. Do I miss the glamour of the old life? The VIP lifestyle? The petrol-head adrenalin? The buzz of being a successful business owner? Only occasionally. Though it seems more like the distant dreams of a previous life.
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