local nature reserve


Saturday swimmies (at Brereton Heath Local Nature Reserve)

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A five-day-old seal became separated from its mother and stranded in a field of cows at an RSPB sanctuary on the banks of The Wash in Lincolnshire. She was saved by a birdwatcher who spotted her plight and took her to a local nature reserve where she will be released back into the wild once she has recovered from her ordeal.

Picture: SWNS Group (via Pictures of the day: 21 July 2015 - Telegraph)


August 30th - I don’t go to Shire Oak Park nearly enough. This Local Nature Reserve, which was once a sand and gravel quarry exploiting the bunter sandstone ridge on the crest of Shire Oak Hill, is a wonderful and rare place. It’s teaming with wildlife, from rabbits to amphibians, mustelids to owls. In this sandy, sheltered enclave, deciduous trees like oaks and birch (and even the odd maple) are thriving, and the outside world seems a long way away.

The reserve is maintained by Walsall Council and on this dull Saturday afternoon, it struck me how clean and litter free the place was. Like all such spots, there’s occasional nuisance from ASB and the odd idiot, but this is a lovely, little known place.

The heather in bloom is gorgeous here, but as with everywhere else, the oaks have had a bad year, with leaf miners and a lack of acorns startlingly evident. Also, I was puzzled by the white appearance of the unrecognised shrub I spotted by the main steps. Can anyone help? Is this disease, pest or normal?


December 10th - I hopped onto the cycleway at Pelsall Lane, and passing by Mill Lane Local Nature Reserve, the familiar Walsall skyline was pleasingly in a shaft of light.

I’m not really keen on this cycleway. It should be fast and direct - but it’s potholed and slow, and surprisingly hilly here; but this view is always worthwhile.

Allegedly, bad weather was rolling in. The weather sensationalists who seem to get so much attention these days were calling it a ‘weather bomb’ but all I felt was a cold, relentless wind from the south west - the direction in which I was headed.

Like moons, we don’t seem to get normal weather anymore. It has to be 'most… since records began’ the whole time, just as we once got a full moon, it now has to be a 'supermoon’.

Spare me the hyperbole. It was nippy. And windy. But it did blow me home.


The next group of Tree Change Dolls (including some in these photos) will be available in my Etsy shop on Monday 26 October at 10pm (Australian Eastern Daylight Time).

It is orchid season in Tasmania, so the dolls have gone for a walk in a local nature reserve to discover some of our unique and endangered orchid species - and even do some sketching! I remember as a child I used to love finding little green-hood orchids in the undergrowth. They can be hard to spot which always made them seem so special.

Opened in 1841 and closed for burials in 1966. Tower Hamlets is now almost all dense woodland, which I suppose is fitting since it is now considered a local nature reserve.