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30 Days Wild 2017 - Blog 2

Posted: Thursday 15th June 2017 by Mike Pratt

© Terry Whittaker/2020VISION

I just love this time of year, everything so vibrant and wildlife often so visible and the light enhancing the whole landscape. I’ve taken up running of late and have managed, taking to heart the adage that wildlife and being in nature is good for your health.

So far I’ve managed to combine it with wildlife spotting quite well, though I have to force myself not to stop too often to see things or take in a view as a cheeky excuse for a rest! On one occasion I actually ended up running alongside a hare, for a short distance. Out of nowhere it burst out of the hedge just in front of me and for a few seconds I caught it up and I was, perhaps for the first and only time in my life, actually running as fast as a hare. It was unimpressed and accelerated off at a right angle under a gate.

Last night, I was running a quiet back lane on Druridge Bay and a little owl flew towards me and overhead. Other times this month already I have seen barn owl and many other birds while running, my loud gasping for breath and heavy footfall is not a deterrent to watching wildlife it seems. Now and again I do have to pause and look though. When a roebuck crossed a field near the track I got out my lightweight binoculars and saw it had ‘dreadlocks’, actually felt-like protective velvet being shed from its shiny white new antlers, something you don’t see every day.

The other thing I enjoy about running is how you get a real feel for how hedgerows line up the countryside, as you meander between and beside them through the landscape. It is these linear mini woodlands that sew the place together. I am surprised how any hedgerows are still intact and how open and bereft of structure areas feel, where they have been removed. I will be encouraging the Trust to think of new ways of increasing hedgerow coverage and protecting those that exist, they are such a vital part of our wildlife network.

Phew, time for a rest, what’s that over there?
 

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