Day Five of Megan & Matt Go Wild!

Welcome to our joint-blogging series for the Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days Wild Challenge – you can read more about the campaign and ourselves in our introduction page.

(Megan, travelling from Dorset to Malvern)

I had originally planned to spend the morning on Portland, looking to see if the Lulworth Skipper butterflies were about there yet (having seen them on Sunday at NT’s Corfe Castle). However, it seemed that my adventures had caught up with me and my body needed more sleep than I had planned. When I awoke, it was a quick dash around the house packing as I needed to head off to Worcestershire!

It was a long and boring journey – no good music on the radio (when there actually was signal!), and no wildlife seen except a dead hedgehog at J14 of the M5 (naturally, I shall submit this record to Project Splatter)! I was perplexed and a tiny bit annoyed – how would I do my 30 Days Wild challenge?

Upon arriving in Malvern and unloading my bag from the car, my eye was caught by something just above head height, flying by the edge of the house. A bumblebee! Better yet, a couple of them going in and out of the roof section – there must be a nest there! How fantastic! I ignored the unpacking and watched them buzzing about for a while instead. I do believe that bumblebees are one of my favourite groups of insects – not as good as moths obviously, but wonderful creatures indeed. I am particularly amazed by cuckoo bumblebees, but that’s for another time.

A very blurry photo, but you can just see one of the bumblebees

(Matt, travelling from Germany to Malvern)

I set off early this morning with a 14 hour train journey, made up of seven different trains, ahead of me. From Bonn to Malvern was a long way to go in one day, but it’ll be worth it for the next two days of wildlife.

In the meantime, far away in Dorset, Megan was soon(er or later) to set off on her own journey to Malvern.

But, as I’ve written in the past, trains are one of my favourite places to watch wildlife from. My previous sightings have included merlin, common crane and short-eared owl.

Lugging a heavy suitcase meant I was tired and spent a lot of time dozing, but I didn’t miss out on spotting some awesome wildlife.

A kestrel hovered over some farmland in Germany and swifts swirled over the French countryside. A flock of woodpigeons were feeding in a field in Brussels.

And as my sixth train passed Didcot power station in Oxfordshire a huge flock of red kites circled over the landfill site. Red kites are still fairly locally confined but they are spreading back across England and Wales, having been persecuted essentially to extinction here.

And for anyone who has been following conservation news recently, in passing I’m going to say that high numbers of predators are a good sign of a healthy ecosystem and even play an important role in it. Bring on more top carnivores recovering their UK numbers!

Even trapped in a train carriage for the whole day, I managed to Go Wild, determined to fit in some wildlife and have something to share with my lovely girlfriend, who was travelling from Dorset to Malvern herself, when we finally achieved our rendez-vous this evening.

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