Morning Coffee and Birdsong

17 August 2020

I've tried my best over the past few years to spend some time practicing mindfulness. However suggestions such as meditating and breathing exercises have never worked for me, I'm not sure why but I seem to struggle to concentrate. But over the years I've realised that it's being out in nature that have given me those mindful moments. Whether it be walking through a woodland and taking a moment just to watch the branches sway in the wind, or being sat beside a lake and watching the ripples in the water, I've been able to find mindfulness when spending time in nature.
One of my favourite things to do, especially throughout the summer when it's much warmer in the mornings, is to sit outside in the garden with my morning cup of coffee and watch the birds visit the garden for their morning breakfast. On a non work day, I like to get up before everyone else and go out to sit in the garden. I enjoy just how quiet it is, all I can hear is the sound of bird song and the gentle hum of cars on the road in the distance and that there is my mindful moment. 

I've recently just purchased a bird feeding station to go at the bottom of the garden as we're running out of space on the buddleja branches. I set it up last Sunday and I was thinking it might take a while for the birds to get used to a new feeding location, however an hour or so after setting up the station, they started to swoop down and test it out! I've been watching them from the kitchen window (also known as the bird hide) and in the mornings there will be around 10 or more house sparrows swooping in towards the feeders. Not to mention the starlings too, who have absolutely demolished the coconut feeder I bought for them not long ago!

Not only do I enjoy these quiet moments in the morning, but in the evening too when the sun is setting and the swifts are soaring in the sky above the garden. I thought I had said goodbye to the swifts for this year a few weeks ago, but then as I was walking across the field back home, I saw them dancing in the sky again. They should now be off on their autumn migration, heading off towards Africa in the winter, where they will take advantage of the rise in insect populations. 

As we slowly begin to transition into autumn, my favourite season of all, I will be still making the most of summer mornings sat outside with my coffee and watching the birds on the feeders.

Butterflies and Buddleja

4 August 2020

Over the past two weeks I've been getting involved with the Big Butterfly Count, spending 15 minutes in the garden to record how many different species of butterfly visit the garden. I've always had such a big love for butterflies and moths, but I can't help but notice how over the years there has been a massive decline in these beautiful insects. They are important parts for the ecosystem but unfortunately the numbers have decreased since the 1970s due to pollution, change of weather patterns and loss of their habitats. Tracking numbers of butterflies is crucial for conserving the natural world and that's why the Butterfly Conservations needs our help to count species that visit our gardens and many other spaces around us.
I've spotted a lot more butterflies than usual in the garden this year. One a bright sunny day I'll spot red admirals, peacocks, large whites and holly blues fluttering around the buddleja tree. The other day I even spotted a comma butterfly, one which I don't think I've ever seen before in the garden. There's plenty of things you can do to attract more butterflies in your garden such as planting nectar-rich flowers, these could be lavender, red campion, primrose, bluebells etc. You could also make a butterfly feeder by placing a saucer in a sunny, warm spot with overripe fruits. Or adding a quarter cup of sugar to two cups of water and dissolve in a pan, leave it to cool for 30 minutes and soak bright cloth in the mixture and hang outside next to flowers. 

It's the last week of the Big Butterfly Count and so I will be spending some more time outside seeing what butterflies flutter my way!

More information on butterflies: