So, I’m back!
A lot has changed in my life over the last few months while I’ve had my blog closed. I’ve started studying filmmaking, and it has become my absolute obsession. Most of what I’ve been making or watching has no relevance to nature or environmental issues, and I haven’t been getting out in nature as much as I used to. However, in the last few weeks I’ve realised that I shouldn’t be using film as an excuse to not get out in nature, but rather as my reason or excuse to get out in nature.
I first started a few months ago, when I went up to the woods with a basic video camera, determined to get a better clip of the grey squirrels than I did the last time I tried to film (a fraction of a second of a squirrel disappearing into the undergrowth), which was before I really started getting involved in film. I did manage to get some clips, but they’re incredibly shaky and I haven’t yet tried to stabilise them in editing. I also tried setting up my trail camera in the same woods, but didn’t get any decent footage.
A fortnight or so ago I got an email while I was at college, saying that a fox had just been in the garden at home, and that it had buried a dead rabbit in my wildlife garden. My bus normally gets me home after dark, but I managed to get permission to leave college early and got a lift home, desperate to get my trail camera up in case the fox returned that night. I’d never seen or known about a fox in our garden before, so it was very exciting, and yes, I did manage to get that footage!
About a week ago I went to Tarn Sike nature reserve in Cumbria, which is a great place to see starling murmurations. Now I believe the starlings have been moved on from that reserve, as because there are so many of them, all that poop (yep, that’s a scientific term) can damage the trees, so after a while the birds are gently encouraged to leave.
It took one or two hours of standing around in the cold before the first displays started up. Thousands of birds performed one of the most, if not the most, spectacular and impressive natural displays I’ve ever seen. Watching murmurations is not quite the same from the car as it is from outside at dusk with birds swirling overhead. Something everyone should do at least once.
I got a few strange looks when I described it as thousands of birds forming rivers, whirlpools and tsunamis in the sky, but there’s not really many other ways to describe it. The film does no justice to how it feels, seeing a sight like this in real life.
I’m also going to start filming at Wildlife Watch from now on, because I have a documentary and a promo planned that will need some footage of the group, so fingers crossed I manage to do those films!
Also hopefully we might get an older Wildlife Watch group in addition to the one we have at the moment. A lot of people think that older children and teenagers aren’t interested in wildlife, but there aren’t a lot of opportunities for the ones there are to meet up with people of similar age and interests. A lot of secondary school children probably wouldn’t want to be in the same club as much younger children, unless it was in a leadership role. Some Wildlife Watch groups for older children and teenagers are actually surprisingly successful! (for example this group in the Scottish highlands: http://www.wildlifewatch.org.uk/moray-teens )