by Kathy James

Two wildlife show presenters and two new birds for my year list – a good weekend i’d say!

Had a fabulous Friday night at the North Wales Wildlife Trust’s annual Lacey lecture. This time it was over to Wrexham to hear Mike Dilger give a talk on the “Trails and Tribulations of being a Wildlife Presenter”. You may have seen Mike presenting wildlife pieces on The One Show where his cheery, enthusiastic demeanor has inspired many an armchair naturalist. It was very pleasing to see that Mike is just as bubbly and on form in the flesh too (and I am reliably informed by a mutual friend that he hasn’t changed a bit since his days living in Menai Bridge). Mike shared with us many stories, right from his first bird-watching experiences as a youngster to jumping off a ten metre diving board, emulating the awe inspiring dive of the Gannet, for the tv cameras. It was really lovely to know that lots of the people I have met in my time here have also been instrumental in Mike’s development. My birding buddy Ken was one of those who got name-checked 🙂

Saturday took me to Moelfre and as I wound my way around the village I came across a hedgehog! I hadn’t seen a Hedgehog in ages! I escorted this little, and surprisingly fast, fella across the road into the safety of a garden. Now I just keep thinking the fallen Autumn leaves are more of these spikey friends.

Sunday night I arrived back in Derbyshire to visit some of my family and on Monday went for a walk with my sister, boyfriend and my baby nephew strapped onto the front of me. In a forest on the fringes of Matlock I spotted a small bird creeping up and flitting between the trees, sure enough it was a treecreeper! Admittedly, it’s quite hard to focus when you have an 11-month-old little man bobbing around in front of you. Wouldn’t change that for the world though!

Monday night involved a trip to Buxton and an evening with the wildlife royalty that is Chris Packham. Chris was mainly showing us through his stunning photographic collection which you can view at chrispackhamphotos.com. His pictures were truly astonishing and it was funny to hear Chris tearing them apart with his own criticism – the moment he referred to a Cheetah as “that idiot in the background” for ruining the composition of one of his animal portraits had me in stitches.

Most importantly, for me, Chris also voiced his opinions about Tiger conservation and it’s wider implications for conservation issues on the whole.  Without criticising any one party Chris extolled the virtues of a more cohesive conservation program with more powerful effects. I look forward to hearing if Chris has any proposals on how we go about this…

On Tuesday, during a muddy bike ride back from Buxton to Bakewell I was lucky enough to see what Packham referred to as a ‘birders bird’, the Hawfinch. Brilliant. It’s rich brown colouring, white wingbars and chunky features were unmistakable as it dashed across the track in front of me.

Conversely, on my travels home I have stopped to have a walk around a woodland at Manly Knoll in Cheshire and seen virtually nothing! That’s birding for you!

Back in Wales soon,

Kathy x x x

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2 responses

  1. Hi Kathy – Jill and Andy here – great to see you in Buxton after having met you at lovely South Stack on Angelsea back in August 🙂
    What a fabulous place that is – Gannets and Choughs a plenty. Had a fabulous time there despite the gale force winds!
    Hope you enjoyed Chris Packham – we certainly did.
    Wow Hawfinch – jealous! Andy has seen these but I haven’t – green with envy. Shall go and look for them. Were they near Cromford? That’s a good spot for them apparantly.
    Anyway hope you’re well and enjoying beautiful Wales. Is your blog available via Kindle at all?

    Jill and Andy xx

    December 2, 2011 at 10:20 am

  2. Hi you two! It was lovely to see you too and also a surprise! It made my Mum laugh because it looked like you had queued for me and that I was giving you my autograph!! It was a fantastic talk – I wanted to applaud most things he said.

    South Stack is even more windy at the moment if you can believe that?! Still it’s wonderful to see the Chough and Ravens gamboling about.

    My sister tells me that there’s a good spot near Cromford, but I was actually just outside of Buxton. We were following the Monsall trail by bike to Buxton from Bakewell, but on the way back we took a slight detour and the Hawfinch flew across in front of me along the road to King Sterndale as we headed back to the A6 – hope that helps!

    Snowdonia is looking particulary beautiful at the moment with it’s snow topped mountains!

    Does your kindle connect to the internet? I’m inclined to think that should work but I am not familiar with them I’m afraid. Let me know when you find out though!

    Hope you are both well xxx

    December 8, 2011 at 5:49 pm

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