Saturday, 25 January 2014

The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch.

This weekend (25th-26th) is the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, which is the biggest garden wildlife survey in the world. To get involved all you have to do is watch the birds in your garden or a local patch for one hour. Whilst watching them you have to note down the highest number of each bird species, at any one time. Once the hour is over you have to submit your results to the RSPB website where the results will be used for a number of different things. You can submit your results by clicking here and you can also print off a chart to help you record the birds which are visiting your garden.
Good Luck!


Here's a photo of a goldfinch which I photographed in my garden, a bird you
may expect to see on your feeders whilst taking part in the count.
 Here's a photograph of a great tit which I took. Another bird which you
could except to see on your feeders.
Here's one of a robin. Another species which you could
expect to see.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Rats at The Wolseley Centre.

Today I went to one of my local nature reserves which was the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust headquarters, The Wolseley Centre. I visit this reserve quite a lot but today when I was observing the feeding station I noticed something which I'd never seen there before. These were two massive brown rats, one of them was almost the size of a rabbit! Brown rats can be found almost everywhere in the UK and they are a very adaptable mammal. Here are some photos and a video I took.



The feeding station.


Saturday, 18 January 2014

Watching the wildlife watcher!

A few months ago I was contacted by the leader of the Wildlife Trust,Wildlife Watch group at the National Memorial Arboretum asking if I would come and do a talk this year about my wildlife experiences and local observations. Over the past few weeks I put a PowerPoint and some of my best footage together to show. Throughout the talk I spoke about the wildlife at some local places, the wildlife in my garden, different things which I've managed to record on my trail camera and much more. My audience were particularly interested in some of my badger footage! The group which I did the talk for were a great bunch and have been going for about 10 years! You can find more about them here - http://www.thenma.org.uk/visit/families/wildlife-watch-group/

I really enjoyed doing the talk; even though at first I was a bit nervous but I'm looking forward to doing more!

Here are some photos which were taken of me whilst doing the talk.







Thursday, 16 January 2014

Stop Press!

Today when I got home from school I had a look through one of my local newspapers and realized a photo I sent in had featured in the 'WildLichfield' section. This is my sixth photo to appear in this local paper along with the story about my Autumnwatch experience.
Here is a photo of it in the Lichfield Mercury.


Monday, 13 January 2014

Footpaths, sheep and fungi.

On Saturday I went on my first walk of 2014 with my camera. Before we went I was expecting to get lots of fungi photos however I didn't get as many as I thought I would. The weather stayed quite mild and I managed to get some photos of sheep, a few different fungi species and the landscape. Last year I managed to get out walking with my camera quite a lot and hopefully I will just as much this year and more! 











Wednesday, 8 January 2014

How to help your garden wildlife through the winter.

Now the cold weather has kicked in, and snow is forecast over the next few weeks, it is even more important that you give your garden wildlife a helping hand. The main ways you can do this is by providing a wide variety of nutritional food for all the species which visit your garden, un-frozen water which is available day and night, and plenty of safe, warm shelter.
Here's how you can help the different species which visit your garden.

Garden birds

As the migrant birds start to arrive on British soil, and it becomes difficult for birds to find natural food sources, it is even more vital that a mixture of different foods are available in your garden.When you feed the garden birds in the winter It also increases their breeding success for the following year.
One way you can start preparing now is by removing any old, broken nest boxes, cleaning and fixing them then returning them as some birds will conserve heat by roosting in them communally over night. This is especially common with smaller bird species like wrens.
Also, avoid cutting hedges until the end of winter as these provide valuable shelter for birds and give them more time to eat the berries left over from the summer.
As the weather gets colder and colder the birds which visit your garden will become dependent on the food you leave out so remember to feed them consistently.
Make sure the feeders and tables are clean and hygienic, you can do this by soaking them in sterilizing fluid and get into the routine of washing them regularly as they will be using feeders more frequently and if the feeders and tables are left and become very unhygienic they can cause the birds to get different diseases and make them become ill. Water is also very important for the birds as there isn't as much available especially when it freezes. A way you can make the water you put out in your garden frost free is by pouring some warm water into a dish, standing the dish on at least three bricks and creating room underneath to put lit candles so the heat from the candles stops it freezing over.
 There is a wide range of different food you can offer to your birds but some good ones which offer a meal to all different species are black sunflower seeds, nyjer seeds, peanuts, fat balls, live foods, cheese and coconut. Some which you should NOT offer are porridge oats, salted or dry roasted peanuts, cooking fats, polyunsaturated fats, milk, dessicated coconut and moldy and stale food. There are lots of online recipes were you can make your own food for the garden birds too.




Hedgehogs

You can help the hedgehogs which visit your garden by providing three main things which are food, water and shelter.
You can provide shelter for hedgehogs by having an untouched area in your garden which is cosy and sheltered. If you haven't got an area like this, you can leave a small corner in your garden to overgrow or if you wanted to really help our hedgehogs out you could look at building or buying a hedgehog house. Shelter is also important for when they go into hibernation for the winter.
There are lots of different foods which you can supply to our spikey friends which visit our gardens but there are lots of foods you shouldn't give to them. For example, you should never give them any dairy products as they are lactose intolerant. Food and liquids which you should NOT give to the hedgehogs are milk, bread, tinned cat or dog food with jelly or gravy, fish flavored cat food, avocados, grapes, raisins, nuts, seeds and chocolate. Foods which are safe for them to have though are dog or cat food, sultanas, small pieces of fruit, cooked potato, cooked chicken, raw mince and what I find with the hedgehogs which visit my garden is that their favorite is dried meal worms. Or if you prefer food which is specially designed for hedgehogs you could try SpikesWorld food. Also, remember to provide water for hedgehogs and on cold nights you can use the same method as when giving the birds water.
At this time of year though we expect the hedgehogs which visit our garden to be in hibernation and if you do spot one which looks underweight or out this time of year you should contact a local wildlife center or charity. 
video
Some footage I captured on my trail camera in my garden.

Small Rodents

Small rodents which visit your garden are mostly likely going to be different species of mice, rats, voles and shrew. These rodents will visit your garden day and night. You can look after them the same ways you would for hedgehogs. This includes un-frozen water, shelter and small heaps of mixed seeds. However unlike the hedgehogs we expect to see these in our garden at this time of the year. 


Thursday, 2 January 2014

2013 Year in Review!

Now 2014 has begun I looked back and realized how much of a good year 2013 was. So I thought I would do a blog post going through each month and tell the best highlights of what I saw, photographed, filmed, featured in and much more!

January

Well the year mainly started with going on walks with my camera and getting some good photos. On these walks I managed to get lots of good fungi photos and one even featured in my local newspaper. I also took a few trips to one of my local parks where I photographed and hand fed the very friendly grey squirrels! January didn't stop there though as lots of snow fell in my area and I took the chance of getting some of my first snow photos with my new camera which I got for Christmas. Here are some photos I took. 

 The friendly squirrels at one of my local parks.
 I took this photo whilst out walking and it featured in my local news paper. 
 Some photos from when snow fell in the Lichfield area. 


February

As the Snowdrops were just coming into flower I went to my local church yard with my camera as I was pretty sure there would be lots about to photograph. I also managed to get a few photos of crocuses and daffodils which were just coming into flower. This was one of the first times I had properly had a look around here and it wasn't the last either as I found it was teeming with a lots of wildlife. 
I also went on a shorter more local walk later in the month to see what I could photograph with my bigger camera. On this day there was a few lambs around too and I managed to get some lovely photos of some local wildlife. Here are some of the photos I took. 






March

At the start of this month I took a visit to Derby city centre to see the Peregrine Falcons that live in the Cathedral. When I first arrived there was no sign but after walking around for a bit and checking the live cameras on their website on my phone, one was at the cathedral. When we went back we spotted it and then another one turned up. This was the first time I had properly seen a Peregrine Falcon so it was a massive highlight from last year as they are my favorite bird. 
I also met Chris Packham for the second time as he did a local talk in Lichfield and afterwards I got a red squirrel photo taken by him which he signed and I had my photo taken with him. 





April 

This month I created something new to show people all the photography and filming I do and what I do. This was a Facebook page, on my new page I showed a different audience the stuff I do. I am almost up to 200 likes now and you can see my page here - https://www.facebook.com/GeorgiaLocockPhotography
This was the month I finally managed to get some daffodil photos too as they were in flower and Spring was almost underway. Here are some of the photos I took. 




May

At the start of the month I visited a popular Derbyshire dale, Dovedale. Here I managed to take some photos of the river Dove, these were the first of this type of photo that I had ever taken. 
As Spring was underway bluebells were everywhere and this was a good reason to visit my local bluebell woods for the first time. The woods are owned by the National Trust and located in Yoxall. It was a very enjoyable trip and I managed to get lots of photos. Here are some photos which I took this month.






June

June was a great month to get out with my camera as the weather was lovely and the sun was shining. It started off with a trip to The Wolseley Centre where I photographed some buttercups and a pair of Canadian Geese with 24 goslings! I then managed to film a great-spotted woodpecker and nuthatch nest at a location on Cannock Chase which was the first time I had ever filmed properly with my camera. 
Then on the 9th of June I invested in my very first trail camera which was one of the best things I had ever brought! As soon as I brought it I set it up at a local badgers sett and I managed to record a badger! Unfortunately the settings weren't set right but I set my camera up at the same location the week after and I got some more footage, however again the settings were wrong but I managed to get some good photos! I did return again that month though and finally got the footage I wanted and the settings were right! With my new trail camera I also managed to film Hedgehogs in my own garden and a wood mouse in my Nans garden which was all very exciting! 
At the end of the action packed month I visited a local Marina, Barton Marina as I had heard about a rare goose being there. In the end I found out it had escaped from captivity but I did manage to get some good photos! 

 This photo also featured in my local paper.


 Here's another photo which featured in my local paper. 








July

July was also a very good month and not just with what I had spotted and recorded. I was contacted by a radio station asking if I would talk on the radio about how people can look after garden wildlife in the hot conditions as I had done a blog post about it. 
In July I focused a lot on the wildlife in my area for example a stretch of canal which isn't far from my house and a local pool in the Lichfield town centre.

You can hear me talking on the radio by following this link - http://georgiaswildlifewatch.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/talking-on-radio.html





August 

August was quite a quiet month, I visited some of my local patches and went on holiday too. One thing which I was quite pleased with was a photo of a comma butterfly which I took at The Wolseley Centre. Here are some of the photos that I took. 





September

This was quite a busy month as I got out and about lots. It started by putting my photography skills to the test and doing some sunset photos for the first time, these were of Lichfield Cathedral. I also got involved in some protesting against HS2. This was a protest walk against HS2, it was 10 miles long and it followed the route where it would go in that area. I managed to get some nice photos of the area and a reporter from BBC Midlands today also turned up to see what it was all about. 








October

At the start of the month I decided to get out with my trail camera again and get some more badger action. This time I had all my settings right and I got some extremely interesting and funny behavior. Altogether I got about an hours worth of footage; looking through it was fun. When I put it onto my blog and shared it with other like minded people they also found it extremely interesting and funny. Due to this different clips and stills have featured on BBC Autumnwatch, in my local newspaper and many different things to do with the Wildlife Trust and their Junior group which was brilliant!
This month I was also invited out with the East Staffordshire bat group as they did some surveying. This was the first time I had done anything like this and it was extremely interesting. I managed to get some good photos, learn some new facts and have a superb time! Here are some of the photos I took and some of my footage.




A photo from when I went out walking in Derbyshire.
The footage which appeared on BBC Autumnwatch.


November

This month started very well as my footage appeared on BBC Autumnwatch Unsprung. A few hours before it was shown on the Wednesday night I had an e-mail from Autumnwatch saying that Nick Baker thought my footage was brilliant! On the same day I also had one of my photos appear on BBC Autumnwatch Extra and I won a spotting scope from The Wildoutside worth £500! 
A few days after all the excitement I was asked by Kate MacRae if I could go along to her patch to get some photos for the local newspaper as we'd both appeared on Autumnwatch. In the newspaper I featured on the front page and we had a massive article about us. We were also on the Mecury website as one of the main stories which was fantastic! 
Later on in that month on the 18th of November it was exactly one year since I had started my wildlife blog and I had reached over 10,000 views which I was very pleased with. 

 Here's a photograph of me with my spotting scope which I won.




December

December was a month full of photographing fungi! I managed to get lots of photos at my local church yard and out walking. Here are some of my best photos.








Thank you to all my viewers, followers and much more!