On the eighth day - two barn owls feeding

Barn owl pellets by Dave Steel

What can we do for the wild? This was my thought today, my wander into the wild was about to start.

It only needed me to drain my cuppa and have a final glance out of the kitchen window at the feeders and I would be off on the Eighth Day of Wildness.

So it began, for there was a house sparrow eating heartily from a stack of suet fat-balls, it seemed that I was helping the wild quite nicely.

Down the road, into the morning’s sunshine, and there was a couple of male bullfinch taking berries from a tree that, many years ago, a farmer had planted for his natural field division.

The Lancashire Wildlife Trust Reserve on Little Woolden Moss then quite clearly emphasised that we can help the wild, for here a once-desolate peat extraction area was now being lovingly restored for wildlife. And, as if to prove it, four shoveler ducks swanned about on one of the pools.

Yes, we were helping the Wild to find a refuge, whilst actually and, very importantly for ourselves and the wildlife, we were storing carbon, instead of releasing it as we did when we first destroyed this site for peat.

A good number of steps later and a field adjacent to the River Glaze bubbled with birds, all surviving because the farmer had left his fields in stubble. As if to emphasise his care for the wild, he had left some unharvested wheat upon which the birds were flourishing, yellowhammer and reed bunting busily feeding here.

The best, to me, was yet to come for next I encountered a mixed flock of gulls and at least 100 pied wagtail all of which were enjoying their wholesome lunch at the premier dining establishment, the Glazebury sewage farm. Here, we are all helping the wild for where there is muck there is insects to feast upon.

Finally, I wandered into a farmyard, permission being gained, and here the farmer had liaised with a barn owl group and had a nest box installed in his barn. A bijou residence taken up by a pair of barn owls, which were obviously eating well judging by the contents of two of their pellets. They had been out on the farmer’s wildlife-friendly farmland - a bit untidy, a bit wild, not neat but just right for our crops and the wild’s survival.

Let’s hope 2020 produces more positives that we can create for nature and perhaps a little less emphasis on bulldozing it away.

Little Woolden Moss by Dave Steel

Little Woolden Moss by Dave Steel