Springtime wanderings

12 April 2021

Since I spend a lot of my time based around the Derbyshire, I thought I would take a trip down to Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and go for a walk around The Wolseley Centre. It's the HQ for Staffs Wildlife Trust and has 26 acres of grounds to explore. You can take a stroll along the river bank where you could see kingfishers speeding past in a flash of blue, a beautiful boardwalk surrounding tranquil pools and streams and there's even a sensory garden with pond and feeding stations for you to sit and relax and enjoy wildlife surrounding you. 

As soon as I stepped into the grounds, I was greeted by wildlife. Chiffchaffs were singing in the trees, ducks and geese were greeting people as they walked over with bags of feed and tadpoles were seen swimming about in the ponds. It's been a very long time since I last saw a tadpole, I think I was in reception and I remember seeing lots of little tadpoles in the pond in the school grounds. When wandering around the Wolseley Centre, I walked over to one of the pond dipping stations and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw these tiny tadpoles in the water. 

I wandered over to walk beside the river bank and a flash of blue sped along the water, a kingfisher landed on a branch for a while and then flew off again, speeding off through the trees. I felt at ease as I was stood beside the sandy river bank, watching mallard ducks swim past, blue tits chirping in the alder trees to the side of me and two grey wagtails chasing each other along the river bank. I took a walk along the boardwalk where I spotted marsh-marigold along the fringes of the pools and Canadian geese making perfect spots for their nests. I came across a very friendly robin, who wasn't afraid to swoop down from a tree and land beside me to take a few seeds that had been left on the boardwalk. 

I fell in love with the sensory garden, which has a section of raised flower beds with pollinating plants, mini ponds full of colour, bird feeding station for the birds and plenty more. I could have sat for hours watching the birds swoop to the feeders, coal tits, blue tits, robins and dunnocks were seen at the feeders and in the trees. I saw a song thrush hopping amongst the shrubs, flicking up the leaves and dirt with its beak so that it could look for insects to eat. I spotted a female wood duck, which I've only ever seen at WWT reserves and didn't realise that it's a duck that isn't native to the UK. 

Wherever I wandered, spring was surrounding me. Leaves growing on the trees, flowers blooming, birds singing and plenty of life in the ponds and rivers. There's nothing I love more than springtime wanderings. 

The Wolseley Centre 

Frogs at the Nature Trail

5 April 2021

I've always had a fascination with frogs. They've been visiting the garden for as long as I can remember, hopping around the borders in search of a good meal amongst the shrubs and stones. We've had small ones, large ones and each with different blends of earthy colours. I had never thought to build a pond in the garden until last year, when the first lockdown started and I decided to make a mini pond in the border. I was very surprised to see that one of the resident frogs appeared in the pond a week later after building it. I am yet to see the garden frog, but around two weeks ago I heard that there were lots of frogs down at my local nature trail and so I just couldn't resist going out for a walk with my camera to see if I could capture some frog photos. 

The first thing I could hear as I was walking towards the location of the frogs, was this loud croaking noise. I couldn't believe it, all of these male frogs competing against each other with their loud croaking chorus that reverberated around the woodland. I wandered along the path and there they were, little frog heads poking out of the water below the banks, surrounded by clumps of jelly like spawn. I crouched down to take some photos and to my surprise watched as two frogs swam towards me and stared right into the camera lens with their large eyes that sparkle like gold dust. I could have watched them for hours, there must have been around 20 of them scattered around that part of the woodland, swimming about in the shallow body of water that collects at the bottom of the woodland banks.

Unfortunately, due to hardly any rainfall over the past few weeks and the frogs choosing not much of a great place for their spawn, they have ventured elsewhere and the water levels have decreased massively. I hope that they have wandered back to the main pond at the beginning of the trail, which is a much more perfect spot for them to breed!

Have you seen any frogs lately?

A Visitor at the Pond 

Common Frog - Wildlife Trust

How to create a mini pond - Wildlife Trust